Introduction.Marriage is a socially recognisedunion between individuals and spouses that made and developed obligations andrights between people.
The purpose of this research paper is to define marriagethat can vary between the countries all over the world, the types of marriagesbetween different different cultures, the beginning of the marriage contract, thedowry and the evolution of this tradition and how it began and its very firststeps beginning with the stone age, the hominin hierarchy, late cave era marriagesand the social roles of married couples.How and when did marriage begin?’Pair bonding’ began in the StoneAge as a way of controlling sexual conducts, activities and providing a stablestructure for child rearing and the tasks of the daily life. The AncientHebrews, for example, engaged in polygamy; in which people married from bothgenders without having any control on their sexual activity. Hebrews believed thata man or a woman who slept and practiced sexual intercourse with them, he or shebecomes the husband and wife. In other words, if you are a male and slept with aman, he becomes your husband and if you slept with a woman, she becomes yourwife and viceversa. According to the Bible, King Solomon had 700 wives and had 300husbands.
Men have taken numerous wives incultures throughout the world, including China, Africa and among Mormons in the19th century. Marriage during those ancient times didn’t have any evidence or amarriage contract; because logically speaking, it was impossible to recordevery single person one have ever slept with and people didn’t really have the highknowledge in recording marriages between each other. They would simply practiceintercourse and sleep with whoever they feel like it. The first humans, those who livedbetween and 1.8 million years ago, had very little use for marriage. Using thebehavior of bonobos as the basis for how early humans would have behaved, it ispresumed that early males and females had sex with many partners. Food sharingwas in exchange for sexual favours between same gender pairs. Because females couldcollect food while still carrying and protecting their babies, males were notneeded as protectors or providers.
This meant that in this period neitherpartner gained from being a committed pair. As the climate warmed and the forestsreceded, humans began to move out into the savannah where the diet consisted ofgathered vegetation, scavenged meat left behind by predators and meat killed byhunters using tools. A more meat based diet meant that babies were born earlierrequiring more care from their mothers. In this period between 1.8 millionand 23,000 years ago, males and females whose offspring were the most likely tosurvive were those that formed the very first marriages. About 23,000 yearsago, humans started to grow their own food, revolutionizing human relations.The invention of the plough over 4,000 years ago meant that the most productivehousehold arrangements were ones in which men and women divided their owntasks. Men were stronger and less physically tied to the children and so theywent out and worked on the land.
Women stayed closer to the home and cared forthe children and engaged in a myriad of other chores. This is the era in which marriagebecame the union between two people that was recognized by their community.Agriculture tied people to their land, meaning that the end of the four – yearperiod neither men nor women had any inclination to wander off to find a newfamily. And so they stayed together and worked as a unit to feed and care forthe children they produced. Our earliest ancestors most likelylived in a primal horde. In the primal horde there was no long term pairbonding: males and females copulated with many partners. All geneticcompetition took place at the sperm level and males made no specific investmentin either their offspring or the females in the group.
Food was shared forexchanged sexual activities. As these early hominoids were quadpedal andinfants were more developed at birth than in the later periods, infant care didnot impede a mother’s ability to gather the fruits, nuts and insects thatlargely constituted her diet. Living in among the trees made it is easyprotecting the young who were often raised in group nurseries. Males wereneither providers nor the ones who make the forming of the pair rebundant. Overtime, our ancestors transformed from scavengers to be hunters and began toacquire tools, skills and language.
The development of tools and the ability tohunt big game increased the amount of meat in the hominid or the homo erectusdiet. Bipedalism meant that mothers could no longer carry their children ontheir backs or hands clinging to their chests. The ability of mothers tocollect food was diminished, at least for the period that they were nursingtheir babies in or about 4 years.
In this period there is evidence of pairbonding as well as the additional drive to temporarily love addictively, whichwould have increased survivability as males becme both providers andprotectors. Relationships began with conception and ended when the child becameindependent of its parents. Resources would have been spread relatively amongthe males which suggest that the most relationships were monogamous, at leastover a short period of time. As resources become scarcer, due tothe greater climate fluctuations, higher population pressures, or other similarshifts, humans sought more energy intensive food sources. The gathering ofcereal grains and other plant foods eventually evolved into early agriculturalcultivation and eventually to the domestication of animals. The invention ofthe plow over 4,000 years ago led to a greater division of labor by gender thanhad been seen in previous periods. Now production required the impact of bothmale and female labor. Agriculture also led to a means to accumulate wealth;both resources and power became more widely dispersed.
Despite thisredistribution, the evidence does not support a greater movement towardspolygamy; in fact the opposite is true, it supports a movement toward long termstable pair bonding. Scientific methods has shownromantic love to be associated with increasing dopamine level, and perhapsdecreased the level of serotonin and all of which are responsible to activatethe centres of the brain. Evidence suggested that this human brain chemistryevolved during the Pleistocene Era to promote monogamous pain bonding, anevolutionary change that became biological drive.
Strong pair bonds were neededto raise an infant in a hunter – gatherer society, where mortality risks werehigh and specialization of tasks began to promote limited economic dependency. Fromthe Neolithic era forward the established behavior norms determining familystructure became institutionalized. The union of a man and a woman,recognised by authority or ceremony, is as old as civilisation itself andmarriage of some kind is found in virually every society. But throughout thecenturies marriage has taken many different forms.
Early marriage was borne ofancient societies’ need to secure a safe enviroment in which to breed, handlethe granting of property rights and protect bloodliness. Ancient Hebrew lawrequired a man to become a husband of a deceased brother’s widow. But even inthese early times, marriage was much about love and desire as it was social andeconomic stability. In this roundness, the engagement ring, a custom datingback to the Ancient Rome, is believed to represent eternity and everlastingunion.
It was once believed a vein or nerve ran directly from the ring fingerto the left hand to the heart. Many other modern day marriage traditions havetheir origins in these ancient times. Newly weds are said to have aidedfertility by drinking a brew made of honey during a certain lunar phases and itis this tradition from which we derive the origins of the word ‘honeymoon.
‘Understanding of marriage contrasted greatly from culture to culture. Somecultures viewed the institution as endogamous where men required to marrywithin their own social group, family, clan or tribe and exogamous where mencan marry outside the geographical region or social group and finally,polygamous in which men can take more than one bride. Polygamy was formallybanned towards the end of the Roman Empire with laws against adultery,fornication and other relationships outside a monogamous lifelong covenant. Theseeds of modern marriage were showed here and they extended into the modernWestern world. In European nations, marriage wastraditionally considered a cicil institution. Around 5AD great Christiantheologians such as Augustine wrote about marriage and the Christian Churchstarted taking an interest in the ceremony.
It was at this point thatChristians began to have their marriages conducted by ministers in Christiangatherings, but it was in the 12th century that the Roman Catholic Churchformally defined marriage as a sacrament, sanctioned by God. In Catholicism, itis still believed that the Sacrament of Matrimony is between God, the man andthe woman, while the Reformation of the 16th century re-valued marriage as amerely life long and monogamous convenant between a man and a woman. In many parts of the 16th and 17thcentury Europe and America; the concept of bundling was widely used. This allowedcourting couples to share a bed, fully clothed with a bundling board to seperatethem. This allowed a pair to talk and get to know eachother in the safeconfines of the girl’s house. In some parts of the 18th century,Europe had a biscuit or a small loaf of bread was broken over the head of thebride as she came out from the church.
Unmarried guests scrambled for thepieces and they would place them under the pillows to aid their own fortunes inmarriage. It is believed that the tradition of having a wedding cake stems fromthis strange custom.Evidence from anthropology andevolutionary biology suggest that there was a period of evolutionary historyprior to the Neolithic revolution where serial monogamy, a likely function ofthese neurostransmitters evolved to improve genetic longevity. Thesepotentially symbolic actions and gestures, made at the individual and communitylevel, result in the contractual arrangements that define family and a kinshipstructure for a society. Marriage is preferred by men to no institutionalarrangement as the chances that the children they are helping rear carry theirgenes improves if the women are wives in society’s eyes. The beginnings of marriage contract.
The first recorded evidence of marriagecontracts and ceremonies dates back 4,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia. In the ancientworld, marriage served as means of preserving power with kings and other membersof the ruling family who would marry off their daughters to force alliance, acquireland and serve the king or the ruler. Women never decided who’d they marry becausethe purpose of marriage was for sexual desires, women breeding children for theking, produce more men for war and more women for motherhood.
When a marriage isperformed and carried out by a government institution in accordance with the marriagelaws of the jurisdiction, without religious content which was considered a civilmarriage.Historically, in most cultures, marriedwomen had very few rights of their own, being considered, along with the family’schildren, the property of the husband could not be owned or inherited. By about 250 years ago, the notion oflove matches gained traction, meaning marriage was based on love and possibly sexualdesire. But mutual attraction in marriage wasn’t important until a century ago.Marriage wasn’t about equality until 50 years ago.
Women and men had unique rightsand responsibilities within the marriage. The creation of marriage as a legalcontract between men and women came into being over time as communities settledon what was a normal way for them to organize a family and the codified that normalcyinto law. The origin of marriage was not tocreate a legal contract that made it possible for men to acquire female slaves.It can’t be criticised that men and women were never treated that way inmarriage contracts, but the real origin of marriage came from the biologicaldesire of both men and women to see their children survive, it was theevolutionary dominate strategy. For example, if it was the normwithin the group that men and women are responsible for feeding and caring fortheir own children.
Then laws were created that gave men some assurance thatthe children they were raising were their own and women can assurance thattheir husband would not leave them all destitute. During the Victorian era, romanticlove became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and the rituals ofcourting became even more formal. An interested gentleman could not simply walkup to a young lady and begin a conversation. He had to be formally introducedand only after some time was considered appropriate for a man to speak to alady or for a couple to be seen together. Almost all courting took place in thegirl’s home, always under the eye of watchful parents. If the courtingprogressed on, the couple might advance to the front porch. It was also rarefor couples to see each other without the presence of a chaperone and marriageproposals were frequently written.
On the other hand, divorce has existedfor about as long as marriage so although we’ve had a lot of practice at monogamy,we’re still not very good at it. The Ancient Greeks liberally allowed divorce,but even then the person requesting divorce had to submit the request to amagistrate, who would determine whether or not the reasons given weresufficient. In contrast divorce was rare in early Roman culture. However, asthe empire grew in power and authority, civil law embraced the idea that eitherhusband or wife could renounce the marriage at will. Throughout the lastthousands of years, divorce was generally frowned upon and from the earliestyears of the Christian age, the only proper way to dissolve marriage was by annulment- a status that was granted only by the church.
Marriage in the ancient times.Ancient Egypt.Although marriages in ancient Egyptwere arranged for communal stability and personal advancement, there is someevidence that romantic love was as important to the people as it is to thepresent day. Women in Ancient Egypt were accorded almost equal status with menin keeping with an ancient tale that, after the dawn of creation of Osiris andIsis resigned over the world, Isis made the sexes equal in power. Still, maleswere considered the dominant sex and male scribes wrote literature that influencedhow women were viewed. Sexuality in Ancient Egypt was considered just anotheraspect of life on earth. There was no taboos concerning sex and no stigmaattached to any aspect of it except for infidelity, and, among the lowerclasses, incest.
In both of these cases, stigma was far more serious for awoman than a man because the bloodline was passed through the woman. Abortions were also available andthere was no stigma attached to them than to premarital sex. There is no wordfor ‘virgin’ in ancient Egypt; suggesting that one’s degree of sexual experiencewas not thought a matter of consequence.
Ancient Rome.Marriage in Ancient Rome was astrictly monogamous institution in which a Roman citizen by law could have onlyone spouse at a time. The practice of monogamy distinguished the Greeks andRomans from other ancient civilizations. Marriage had mythical precedents, startingwith the abduction of the women, that may reflect the custom of bride abduction.In order for the union of a man and woman to be legitimate, there needed to be consentmorally and legally. Both parties had to be willing and intend to marry, and bothneeded their fathers’ consent.
If all other legal conditions were met, a marriagewas made.Unlike society in ancient Egypt,Rome did not regard women as equal to men before the law. Unless she hadmarried in her husband’s control, which conferred the brode and all herproperty onto the groom and his family; a woman could, inherit and dispose ofproperty. In reality, the degree of freedom a woman enjoyed depended largely onher wealth and social status. A few women ran their own business, one woman waslampmaker or had careers as midwives, hairdressers pr doctors but these were rare.On the other hand, female slaves were common and filled a huge variety of roles,from ladies’ maids to farm workers and even gladiators. Wealthy widows, subjectto no man’s authority, were independent.
Other wealthy women chose to becomepriestesses, of which the most important were the Vestal Virgins.