Footnotes: On Marriage for Love

1"Marriage was to the ancients a union of families rather than of bodies and souls".

Durant, Will. 1944. The Story of Civilization, Vol 3: Caesar and Christ. Chapter XII.

2"Though marriage was viewed first as a social and economic union, these early societies passed on to European culture the expectation that the wife and husband would find affection and pleasure together."

Anderson, Bonnie S and Judith P Zinsser. 1988. A History of Their Own, Vol I. Chapter 3.

3"[…] Roger Ascham, [early 16th century] tutor to England's royal family […] bitterly regretted that 'our time is so far gone from the old discipline and obedience as now not only young gentlemen but even very young girls dare…marry themselves in spite of father, mother, God, good order, and all.'"

Manchester, William. 1992. A World Lit Only By Fire. Part II.

4Hamilton, Edith. 1942. Mythology. Part Two.
5Some might say that I am interpreting this story with modern eyes, that readers of Ovid's time would see it as a cautionary tale directed at disobedient children. Near the beginning of the story Ovid writes:

They came to know each other; as time passed
Love flourished, and if their parents had
Not come between them, then they would have shared
A happy wedding bed. And yet no parent
Can check the heat of love, therefore, the lovers
Burned with mutual flames.

Later, he gives as Thisbe's last words:

O twice unhappy parents, his as mine,
Come, take our prayers, nor think worse of us
Whom true love and death's hour have made one
And we shall sleep in the same bed, our tomb.

If there is any other way to interpret this than as the tragic death of blameless lovers, I'd be pleased to hear it.

Verses are from: Gregory, Horace (tr). 1958. The Metamorphoses of Ovid. Book IV.

6"My basic message […] is as old as the hills, drawn from Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Dante, and the rest, and standard in Western civilization down through the eighteenth century […] that true art is moral: it seeks to improve life, not debase it."

Gardner, John. 1978. On Moral Fiction. Part I.

7"The relationship of husband and wife [in ancient Egypt] appears to us at all times to have been faithful and affectionate. When they are represented together, we frequently see the wife with her arm tenderly around her husband's neck, the children standing by the side of their parents, or the youngest daughter crouching under her mother's chair."

Erman, Adolf. 1894. Life in Ancient Egypt. Chapter VIII.

Tim Eagen
June, 2001