Suetonia's Wedding

A sudden surprise

II of Maius

In the morning today, my father suddenly told me that I was going to meet the man whom I would marry in a few days or so. He said he had to find someone for me because I was already thirteen years of age. I immediately objected but I had no say in the matter.

The families meet

II Nones of Maius

It's been a few days since I was told I was going to be married. Around noon, a few slave-girls helped me get ready for the arrival of Spurius. Most of the negotiations occurred between my father and the groom’s father along with maybe the Spurius himself. My father and his father discussed the negotiation and the marriage contract. They officially put down our names for the groom and bride to be married (called ducenda). We also decided on our wedding date to take place on the V Ides of Iunius at the Nona Hora.

My first impression

He looked like a stern man who would kill you if you got in his way. And sure enough, through the way he talked to my family, Spurius was a cruel and harsh man. Obviously after the meeting, I attempted to persuade my parents but they wouldn’t budge. They claimed that it was important because they wanted it to be really religious but I’m pretty sure my father wanted it for his upcoming election.

Our engagement party and gifts

Today we had our engagement celebration. Both of our fathers insisted on having one to let as many people know of our marriage. At the actual ceremony, Spurius made his promises to me. I suppose it was nice to have Spurius do that even though he had no feelings with it, because it still gave me a feeling of safety for me.  After the promise, it was time to exchange our gifts to each other. Jennius gave me a ring called the anulus pronubis. Afterwords, I presented my gift to my future husband. Finally, after all of the formal motions, we celebrated with a lavish feast and party! There were tables of delicious food, lots of laughter, and a feeling of goodness. Overall, the engagement party was a success. It was good for me to get a last grasp of happiness before I was shipped off to Spurius. But, the guests had a wonderful time or at least it seemed so. And I did receive a beautiful ring!

My Anulus Pronubis from Spurius

Type of marriage

Our families decided on having a formal wedding for Spurius and me in order to make sure it’s super official. Our marriage is considered sine manu since I’m still legally controlled by Suetonius, my father. This allowed the political alliance to be successful and led to the nomination of Suetonius for office. My father rejected coemptio and usus since coemptio shipped me off completely and wouldn’t help him win the election. He also didn’t like the idea of me getting “bought” yet apparently he’s fine with this but whatever. Usus was way too informal for him and he didn’t want to lose control of me. Plus, I would never marry Spurius for love ever.

Preparations

VI Calends of Quintilis

There were quite a lot of preparations for me before to get ready for the big event. On the evening before the wedding day though, according to custom, I took of my bulla (guardian locket). I gave my locket as well as my childhood toys to the lares, or household gods. I also tried on my tunica recta or bridal gown for good luck.

Roman Bride

Day of Wedding

Today, I officially got dressed with the help of slave-girls and pronubae, maids of honor. In addition to my bridal gown, I wore a belt with the “knot of Hercules”, as Hercules was the guardian of of wedded life. It was symbolic as only the husband could untie the knot. I also had to prepare my hair in a special way using a tutulus, or spear point. My hair was divided into six locks and coiled and braided around my head. On top of that, I wore my flammeum or bridal veil usually a reddish color. The actual wedding ceremony would take place in the house of the bride, so my family decorated the room with flowers, wreathes, bands of wool, and tapestries to go all out.

The Actual Wedding
V Calends of Quintilis

During the actual ceremony, I was pretty disappointed. The setting of the entire confarreatio was lavishly decorated but the it was so formal and official. I wanted a wedding where I not only liked the groom but also one that was a fun experience. I had been looking forward to my wedding for the past several years but this was a let down. The cake was delicious though. It was a poor time before I would be shipped off to live with my awful husband. The whole time, he sat there in his respective chair glaring at others with judging eyes. I couldn’t believe he was the man I was going to marry. Like him, the confarreatio was pretty boring.

Flammeum - red veil; Tunica Recta - white gown down till feet; Tutulus - spear point to part hair (tried to but failed with my hair)

After wedding and traditions

At the wedding ceremony, Spurius and I had our hands joined together by a pronuba who had only been married once. Also present at the wedding was the Pontifex Maximus, Flamen Dialis, and ten witnesses. After the wedding ceremony, we lavishly ate at the cena nuptialis. There, a spelt cake called farreum,was eaten by everyone. After the dinner, there was a procession that led me and Spurius to his residence. while a marriage hymn was be played as well as noisy rude songs to tease Spurius. Also, I carried three golden coins called aurei. The first was used as an offering to the gods, the second acted as the dowry or dos, and the third was given to the lares of the house. After the procession, we arrived at his house where I was raised into the home to provide good luck and symbolize my new start. Once in the home, I was given a torch which I threw into a crowd of guests for one to catch. After today, there were still several parties and celebration of our marriage.

Here is a picture of us joining hands to establish our commitment and promise to one another... this was done by one of my maids of honor
Here is a picture of our spelt cake called farreum (hence confarreatio)

Bibliography

"Marriage." Marriage. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://www.roman-empire.net/society/soc-marriage.html>.

"Roman Weddings." Roman Weddings. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <http://www.unrv.com/culture/roman-weddings.php>.
"Nuptiae: Roman Marriages." Nuptiae: Roman Marriages. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://www.societasviaromana.net/Collegium_Religionis/nuptiae.php>.
Gill, N.S. "Matrimonium: Types of Roman Marriage." N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/marriage/a/RomanMarriage.htm>.

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