Attitudes about marriage in the fourth century eastern empire were changing and pluralistic. The emperor Constantine I enacted several reforms to marital laws, and early Christians and pagans lived side-by-side with their mixing pot of traditions. Within this cultural milieu, marriage was an important and ubiquitous subject of school composition exercises. The gnomologies and rhetorical handbooks used in late antique education show that students confronted this topic in their primary school study of maxims, in their secondary school progymnasmata, and finally in their advanced level declamations. These sources show a consistently pejorative view of marriage, warning students against the dangers of choosing the wrong wife. The school condemnations of marriage, despite its fundamental importance to the social structure, were extensive and systematic.


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pp. 286-299
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