The fascinating origins of marriage
Prehistory family group: Before marriage as we know it became a legally and socially sanctioned union.
How old is the institution of marriage: The earliest recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman.
Marriage ritual: In time, the act of marriage became a respected ritual.
Marriage in antiquity: Marriage during the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks had less of a basis in personal relationships.
Marriage BCE: Prior to the first millennium CE, a union between a man and a woman was seen as a good way of ensuring your family's safety.
Marriage as a strategy: The Anglo-Saxons, for example, employed marriage as a strategic tool to establish diplomatic and trade ties.
Marriage and fertility: The association between marriage and fertility was strong.
The wedding ring: The tradition of exchanging rings dates back 3,000 years, and it was the Egyptian pharaohs who first used rings to represent eternity.
Purpose of marriage: Initially, marriage often involved multiple partners, usually female.
Arranged marriages: Between the 6th and 11th centuries, marriages were invariably arranged.
Decretum Gratiani: While marriage during this period was all about securing a political or economic advantage, one man, the Benedictine monk