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    • The best available evidence suggests that it’s about 4,350 years old. For thousands of years before that, most anthropologists believe, families consisted of loosely organized groups of as many as 30 people, with several male leaders, multiple women shared by them, and children. As hunter-gatherers settled down into agrarian civilizations, society had a need for more stable arrangements. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia.
    • The largest number of laws in the Code of Hammurabi were dedicated to marriage and  family. Parents arranged marriages for their children. After marriage, the party signed a  marriage contract. Without this contract, no one was considered legally married. While the  husband provided a bridal payment, the woman's parents were responsible for a dowry to the  husband. Dowries were carefully monitored and governed by regulations.
    • marriage
    • Mesopotamian society was a patriarchal society, and so women possessed far fewer  privileges and rights in their marriage. A woman's place was at home and failure to fulfill  her duties was grounds for divorce. If she was not able to bear children, her husband  could divorce her but he had to repay the dowry. If his wife tried to leave the home in  order to engage in business, her husband could divorce her and did not have to repay the  dowry. Furthermore, if his wife was a "gadabout, . . . neglecting her house [and]  humiliating her husband," she could be drowned.

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    • Laqipum has married Hatala
    • If within  two years she (i.e., Hatala) does not provide him with  offspring, (10) she herself will purchase a slavewoman,  and later on, after she[2] will have  produced a child by him, (15) he may then dispose of her  by sale wheresoever he pleases. [3]  Should Laqipum choose to divorce her (text: "him"), he  must pay (her) five minas of silver- (20) and should  Hatala choose to divorce him, she must pay (him) five  minas of silver.
    • VIII. Marriage
    • Contract for Marriage, Reign of Shamshu-ilu-na, c. 2200 B.C.
    • Contract for Marriage, Thirteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar II, 591 B.C.

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    • The Mesopotamian woman's role was strictly defined. She was the daughter   of her father or the wife of her husband. Women rarely acted as individuals   outside the context of their families.
    • Most girls were trained from childhood for the traditional roles of wife,   mother, and housekeeper.
    • Soon after puberty, a young girl was considered ready for marriage. Marriages   were arranged by the families of the future bride and groom.

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