The Marriage of Roman Soldiers (13 BC-AD 235): Law and Family in the Imperial Army

By Sara Elise Phang | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 6
POLYGAMOUS RELATIONSHIPS

Dumtaxat singuli singulas has sometimes been interpreted as intended to suppress polygamy among the non-Roman auxiliaries and fleet soldiers (Allason-Jones (1989), 63). Polygamy is known in Near Eastern societies, e.g. P. Yadin 25–26. Whether polygamy also existed in “barbarian” Western societies is less certain. Ancient ethnography ascribed polygamy or promiscuity to “barbarians” such as the Britons (Caesar BG 5.14) or the Libyans, but Pembroke (1967) finds such topoi to be factually worthless constructions of un-Greek or un-Roman ways. Roman marriage was strictly monogamous: e.g. Gaius 1.63, neque eadem duobus nupta esse potest neque idem duas uxores habere, “the same woman cannot be married to two men, nor the same man have two wives.”

Sometimes soldiers are attested with households with more than one woman, usually slave women. It is possible that more than one of these women were the soldier’s sexual partners. This is probably not true polygamy in the anthropological sense.

CIL II 491: L. Maelonius Aper vet. bf. cos. leg. VI Victr. = Maeloniae Caesiola et Maelia libertae

VIII 6309: T. Claudius Cilius eq. alae Panon. = Claudiae Primigenia et Fortunata libertae

X 3628: C. Silius Fortis vet. (Mis.) = Siliae Macaria et Onesime libertae

XI 42: [NN mil. Rav.] = Cale et Saturnina libertae

XI 47: [Caetronius] Macer n[auf]ylax IIII Fortuna = Caetronia Afrodisia et Fortunata libertae

XI 88: Phallaeus Dioclis f. guber. (Rav.) = Pieris et Nice l(ibertae) Papyri: BGU 326: C. Longinus Castor = Marcella and Fortunata (slave women freed in testament)

P. Lugd. Bat. XIII 14 C. Iulius Diogenes = Iulia Primilla liberta; frees slave woman Apollonarion and another whose name is lost

-412-

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