Ancient concept of "pre-marital sex"

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ndansmith
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Ancient concept of "pre-marital sex"

Post by ndansmith » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:47 am

I want to tap the vast literary knowledge and experience of Textkit to see if we can find a clear example of the situation of consensual sex before marriage (πο?νεια and other technical terms will not cut it). We were talking over at http://godgab.org about the issue of pre-marital sex and Christianity and noted that the Bible does not seem to address the issue directly. So I am wondering if that is simply circumstatial, or if it could be that the ancients did not really think about pre-marital sex per se (whether in a positive, neutral, or negative sense). Any feedback (with references if possible) would be appreciated. :-)

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GlottalGreekGeek
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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:24 am

I seem to recall seeing somewhere something about ancient Hindu laws concerning what kind of sexual experiences people (both male and female) could have before marriage, and the associated penalties. The only specific example I remember is that if unmarried girls had a lesbian relationship, they would both have to increase the size of their dowries when they married. But I'm not the person to ask about ancient views of pre-marital sex.

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ethopoeia
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Post by ethopoeia » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:38 pm

Well, Nathan, first of all we should discern among the so-called "Ancients" two different Mediterranean civilizations, i.e. the Greeks and the Romans. Despite the fact that they were contemporary to other peoples of Antiquity, such as the Egyptians, the Celts, the Jews, the Persian, the Incas, the Mayas, the Aztecs, the Chinese among a long list of peoples, when we say the "Ancients" we are specifically referring to the Greek and the Roman civilizations.

Now, relating to your question, marriage was indeed an important figure in Roman Law. The Latin term for marriage, matrimonium, is closely related to the term for wealth, patrimonium. This is due to the fact that, under Roman Law, matrimony was the legal figure through which patrimony was transferred to the offspring. Therefore the importance of marital faithfulness after matrimony in order to avoid bequeathing the patrimony to illegitimate children. The Defense of Euphiletos by the Athenian logographer Lysias is very clear in this respect, i.e. that adultery was an offence punishable with death in ancient Athens.

However, since before marriage there isn't yet a contractual relationship between both parts, casual sex is not only allowed, but encouraged. A clear example is Ovid's Ars Amandi (III, 611-616), where it is stressed that married women must abide by the laws of matrimony, whereas young girls are free from parental surveillance in their love affairs due to their condition of singles.

Nevertheless, if you like Roman theatre, you'll find that Latin comedies are full of hilarious examples showing how married women had their fun as well! :)
Last edited by ethopoeia on Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ndansmith
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Post by ndansmith » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:57 pm

ethopoeia wrote:Well, Nathan, first of all we should discern among the so-called "Ancients" two different Mediterranean civilizations, i.e. the Greeks and the Romans. Despite the fact that they were contemporary to other peoples of Antiquity, such as the Egyptians, the Celts, the Jews, the Persian, the Incas, the Mayas, the Aztecs, the Chinese among a long list of peoples, when we say the "Ancients" we are specifically referring to the Greek and the Roman civilizations.
Check.

Thanks for info.

On another front, someone tracked down Deuteronomy 22:13-21, which implicitly deals with sex before marriage. "She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house."

That seems pretty clear.

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Post by quendidil » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:15 pm

ndansmith wrote:
ethopoeia wrote:Well, Nathan, first of all we should discern among the so-called "Ancients" two different Mediterranean civilizations, i.e. the Greeks and the Romans. Despite the fact that they were contemporary to other peoples of Antiquity, such as the Egyptians, the Celts, the Jews, the Persian, the Incas, the Mayas, the Aztecs, the Chinese among a long list of peoples, when we say the "Ancients" we are specifically referring to the Greek and the Roman civilizations.
Check.

Thanks for info.

On another front, someone tracked down Deuteronomy 22:13-21, which implicitly deals with sex before marriage. "She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house."

That seems pretty clear.
ndansmith wrote:
ethopoeia wrote:Well, Nathan, first of all we should discern among the so-called "Ancients" two different Mediterranean civilizations, i.e. the Greeks and the Romans. Despite the fact that they were contemporary to other peoples of Antiquity, such as the Egyptians, the Celts, the Jews, the Persian, the Incas, the Mayas, the Aztecs, the Chinese among a long list of peoples, when we say the "Ancients" we are specifically referring to the Greek and the Roman civilizations.


You indirectly answered your own question. :) The ancient hebrews are not covered under this strict definition of "Ancients".

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ndansmith
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Post by ndansmith » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:18 pm

Well I do apologize for stumbling onto the technical term "The Ancients (R)."

Perhaps I should have phrased my question this way: "Does anyone have any references in literature contemporary to the writing of either testament of the Bible concerning the concept of 'pre-marital sex'?" :D

Anyhow, right now we are considering if cultural assumptions about marriage among the Hebrews contributed to the lack of references to premarital sex. In other words, was marriage assumed for all people? Also, did most people get married shortly after sexual maturity? The 'word on the street' is that both of those assumptions are true, but I am lacking real evidence for them.

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ethopoeia
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Post by ethopoeia » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:49 pm

I'm sorry Nathan, it's very difficult if not impossible to date the Hebrew book of Deuteronomy or Devarim (דברי?), so I can't provide contemporary Greek, let alone Latin sources. Perhaps the closest work would be the epic of the Iliad, written between 800 and 600, but I doubt that there's any reference to your topic.

It's such a pity that everyone in the USA is wasting their time reading the Bible, when you guys have the greatest literature, music and cinema in the 20th century :P

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ndansmith
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Post by ndansmith » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:21 pm



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Matrix
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Post by Matrix » Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:44 pm

i say why bother with the thing of the past. I believe we should concern ourselves more with the status quo of pre marital sex and it decreasing age awareness..
phpbb

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ethopoeia
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Post by ethopoeia » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:11 am

Nice pecs and abs, but I'm sorry the avatar above is far too big :)

BTW it's nothing personal against Angelina Jolie but could anybody (Emma?) delete the porn ads posted in the Academy?

Thanks

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