MARRIAGE: AND THE ROMAN LADY In order to appreciate the position of women of various types in the society we are examining, it is necessary to make it clear what Roman marriage originally and ideally meant. In any society, it will be found that the position and influence of woman can be fairly well discerned from the nature of the marriage ceremony and the conditions under which it is carried out. At Rome, in all periods of her history, a _iustum matrimonium_, i.e. a marriage sanctioned by law and religion, and therefore entirely legal in all its results, was a matter of great moment, not to be achieved without many forms and ceremonies. The reason for this elaboration is obvious, at any rate to any one who has some acquaintance with ancient life in Greece or Italy. As we shall see later on, the house was a residence for the divine members of the family, as well as the human; the entrance, therefore, of a bride into the household,--of one, that is, who had no part nor lot in that family life--meant some straining of the relation between the divine and human members. The human part of the family brings in a new member, but it has to be assured that the divine part is willing to accept her before the step taken can be regarded as complete. She has to enter the family in such a way as to be able to share in its sacra, i.e. in the worship of the household spirits, the ancestors in their tombs, or in any special cult attached to the family. In order to secure this eligibility, she was in the earliest times subjected to a ceremony which was clearly of a sacramental character, and which had as its effect the transference of the bride from the hand (manus) of her father, i.e. from absolute subjection to him as the head of her own family, to the hand of her husband, i.e. to absolute subjection to him as the head of her new family. This sacramental ceremony was called _confarreatio_, because a sacred cake, made of the old Italian grain called _far_, and offered to Jupiter Farreus, was partaken of by bride and bridegroom, in the presence of the Pontifex Maximus, the Flamen Dialis, and ten other witnesses. At such a ceremony the auspices had of course been taken, and apparently a victim was also slain, and offered probably to Ceres, the skin of which was stretched over two seats (sellae), on which the bride and bridegroom had to sit. These details of the early form of patrician marriage are only mentioned here to make the religious character of the Roman idea of the rite quite plain; in other words, to prove that the entrance of a bride into a family from outside was a matter of very great difficulty and seriousness, not to be achieved without special aid and the intervention of the gods. We may even go so far as to say that the new materfamilias was in some sort a priestess of the household, and that she must undergo a solemn initiation before assuming that position. And we may still further illustrate the mystical religious nature of the whole rite, if we remember that throughout Roman history no one could hold the priesthood of Jupiter (flaminium diale), or that of Mars or Quirinus, or of the Rex sacrorum, who had not been born of parents wedded by confarreatio, and that in each case the priest himself must be married by the same ceremony. This last mentioned fact may also serve to remind us that it was not only the family and its sacra, its life and its maintenance, that called for the ceremonies making up a iustum matrimonium, but also the State and its sacra, its life and its maintenance. As confarreatio had as its immediate object the providing of a materfamilias fully qualified in all her various functions, and as its further object the providing of persons legally qualified to perform the most important sacra of the state; so marriage, in whatever form, had as its object at once the maintenance of the family and its sacra and the production of men able to serve the State in peace and war. To be a Roman citizen you must be the product of a iustum matrimonium. From this initial fact flow all the _iura_ or rights which together make up citizenship; whether the private rights, which enable you to hold and transfer and to inherit property under the shelter of the Roman law, or the public rights, which protect your person against violence and murder, and enable you to give your vote in the public assembly and to seek election to magistracies. Marriage then was a matter of the utmost importance in Roman life, and in all the forms of it we find this importance marked by due solemnity of ritual. In two other forms, besides confarreatio, the bride could be brought under the hand of her husband, viz., _coemptio_ and _usus_, with which we are not here specially concerned; for long before the last century of the Republic all three methods had become practically obsolete, or were only occasionally used for particular purposes. In the course of time it had been found more convenient for a woman to remain after her marriage in the hand of her father, or if he were dead, in the "tutela" of a guardian (tutor), than to pass into that of her husband; for in the latter case her property became absolutely his. The natural tendency to escape from the restrictions of marital _manus_ may be illustrated by a case such as the following: a woman under the _tutela_ of a guardian wishes to marry; if she does so, and passes under the _manus_ of her husband, her _tutor_ loses all control over her property, which may probably be of great importance for the family she is leaving; he therefore naturally objects to such a marriage, and urges that she should be married without _manus_. In fact the interests of her own family would often clash with those of the one she was about to enter, and a compromise could be effected by the abandonment of marriage _cum manu_. Now this, the abandonment of marriage _cum manu_, means simply that certain legal consequences of the marriage ceremony were dropped, and with them just those parts of the ceremony which produced these consequences. Otherwise the marriage was absolutely as valid for all purposes private and public as it could be made even by confarreatio itself. The sacramental part was absent, and the survival of the features of marriage by purchase, which we may see in the form of coemptio, was also absent; but in all other respects the marriage ceremony was the same as in marriage _cum manu_. It retained all essential religious features, losing only a part of its legal character. It will be as well briefly to describe a Roman wedding of the type common in the last two centuries of the Republic. To begin with, the boy and girl--for such they were, as we should look on them, even at the time of marriage--have been betrothed, in all probability, long before. Cicero tells us that he betrothed his daughter Tullia to Calpurnius Piso Frugi early in 66 B.C.; the marriage took place in 63. Tullia seems to have been born in 76, so that she was ten years old at the time of betrothal and thirteen at that of marriage. This is probably typical of what usually happened; and it shows that the matter was really entirely in the hands of the parents. It was a family arrangement, a _mariage de convenance_, as has been and is the practice among many peoples, ancient and modern. The betrothal was indeed a promise rather than a definite contract, and might be broken off without illegality; and thus if there were a strong dislike on the part of either girl or boy a way of escape could be found. However this may be, we may be sure that the idea of the marriage was not that of a union for love, though it was distinguished from concubinage by an "affectio maritalis" as well as by legal forms, and though a true attachment might, and often did, as in modern times in like circumstances, arise out of it. It was the idea of the service of the family and the State that lay at the root of the union. This is well illustrated, like so many other Roman ideas, in the _Aeneid_ of Virgil. Those who persist in looking on Aeneas with modern eyes, and convict him of perfidy towards Dido, forget that his passion for Dido was a sudden one, not sanctioned by the gods or by favourable auspices, and that the ultimate union with Lavinia, for whom he forms no such attachment, was one which would recommend itself to every Roman as justified by the advantage to the State. The poet, it is true, betrays his own intense humanity in his treatment of the fate of Dido, but he does so in spite of his theme,--the duty of every Roman to his family and the State. A Roman would no doubt fall in love, like a youth of any other nation, but his passion had nothing to do with his life of duty as a Roman. This idea of marriage had serious consequences, to which we shall return later on. When the day for the wedding arrives, our bride assumes her bridal dress, laying aside the toga praetexta of her childhood and dedicating her dolls to the Lar of her family; and wearing the reddish veil (_flammeum_) and the woollen girdle fastened with a knot called the knot of Hercules, she awaits the arrival of the bridegroom in her father's house. Meanwhile the auspices are being taken; in earlier times this was done by observing the flight of birds, but now by examination of the entrails of a victim, apparently a sheep. If this is satisfactory the youthful pair declare their consent to the union and join their right hands as directed by a pronuba, i.e. a married woman, who acts as a kind of priestess. Then after another sacrifice and a wedding feast, the bride is conducted from her old home to that of her husband, accompanied by three boys, sons of living parents, one carrying a torch while the other two lead her by either hand; flute-players go before, and nuts are thrown to the boys. This _deductio_, charmingly described in the beautiful sixty-fifth poem of Catullus, is full of interesting detail which must be omitted here. When the bridegroom's house is reached, the bride smears the doorposts with fat and oil and ties a woollen fillet round each: she is then lifted over the threshold, is taken by her husband into the partnership of fire and water--the essentials of domestic life--and passes into the atrium. The morrow will find her a materfamilias, sitting among her maids in that atrium, or in the more private apartments behind it: Claudite ostia, virgines Lusimus satis. At boni Coniuges, bene vivite, et Munere assiduo valentem Exercete iuventam. Even the dissipated Catullus could not but treat the subject of marriage with dignity and tenderness, and in this last stanza of his poem he alludes to the duties of a married pair in language which would have satisfied the strictest Roman. He has also touched another chord which would echo in the heart of every good citizen, in the delicious lines which just precede those quoted, and anticipate the child--a son of course--that is to be born, and that will lie in his mother's arms holding out his little hands, and smiling on his father. Nothing can better illustrate the contrast in the mind of the Roman between passionate love and serious marriage than a comparison of this lovely poem with those which tell the sordid tale of the poet's intrigues with Lesbia (Clodia). The beauty and _gravitas_ of married life as it used to be are still felt and still found, but the depths of human feeling are not stirred by them. Love lies beyond, is a fact outside the pale of the ordered life of the family or the State. No one who studies this ceremonial of Roman marriage, in the light of the ideas which it indicates and reflects, can avoid the conclusion that the position of the married woman must have been one of substantial dignity, calling for and calling out a corresponding type of character. Beyond doubt the position of the Roman materfamilias was a much more dignified one than that of the Greek wife. She was far indeed from being a mere drudge or squaw; she shared with her husband in all the duties of the household, including those of religion, and within the house itself she was practically supreme. She lived in the atrium, and was not shut away in a women's chamber; she nursed her own children and brought them up; she had entire control of the female slaves who were her maids; she took her meals with her husband, but sitting, not reclining, and abstaining from wine; in all practical matters she was consulted, and only on questions political or intellectual was she expected to be silent. When she went out arrayed in the graceful _stola matronalis_, she was treated with respect, and the passers-by made way for her; but it is characteristic of her position that she did not as a rule leave the house without the knowledge of her husband, or without an escort. In keeping with this dignified position was the ideal character of the materfamilias. Ideal we must call it, for it does not in all respects coincide with the tradition of Roman women even in early times; but we must remember that at all periods of Roman history the woman whose memory survives is apt to be the woman who is not the ideal matron, but one who forces herself into notice by violating the traditions of womanhood. The typical matron would assuredly never dream of playing a part in history; her influence was behind the scenes, and therefore proportionally powerful. The legendary mother of Coriolanus (the Volumnia of Shakespeare), Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi, Aurelia, Caesar's mother, and Julia his daughter, did indirectly play a far greater part in public life than the loud and vicious ladies who have left behind them names famous or infamous; but they never claimed the recognition of their power. This peculiar character of the Roman matron, a combination of dignity, industry, and practical wisdom, was exactly suited to attract the attention of a gentle philosopher like Plutarch, who loved, with genuine moral fervour, all that was noble and honest in human nature. Not only does he constantly refer to the Roman ladies and their character in his _Lives_ and his _Morals_, but in his series of more than a hundred "Roman questions" the first nine, as well as many others, are concerned with marriage and the household life; and in his treatise called _Coniugalia praecepta_ he reflects many of the features of the Roman matron. From him, in Sir Thomas North's translation, Shakespeare drew the inspiration which enabled him to produce on the Elizabethan stage at least one such typical matron. In Coriolanus he has followed Plutarch so closely that the reader may almost be referred to him as an authority; and in the contrast between the austere and dignified Volumnia and the passionate and voluptuous Cleopatra of the later play, the poet's imagination seems to have been guided by a true historical instinct. We need not doubt that the austere matron of the old type survived into the age we are specially concerned with; but we hardly come across her in the literature of the time, just because she was living her own useful life, and did not seek publicity. Chance has indeed preserved for us on stone the story of a wonderful lady, whose early years of married life were spent in the trying time of the civil wars of 49-43 B.C., and who, if a devoted husband's praises are to be trusted, as indeed they may be, was a woman of the finest Roman cast, and endowed with such a combination of practical virtues as we should hardly have expected even in a Roman matron. But we shall return to this inscription later on. The ladies whom we meet with in Cicero's letters and in the other literature of the last age of the Republic are not of this type. Since the second Punic war the Roman lady has changed, like everything else Roman. It is not possible here to trace the history of the change in detail, but we may note that it seems to have begun within the household, in matters of dress and expense, and later on affected the life and bearing of women in society and politics. Marriages cum manu became unusual: the wife remained in the potestas of her father, who in most cases, doubtless, ceased to trouble himself about her, and as her property did not pass to her husband, she could not but obtain a new position of independence. Women began to be rich, and in the year 169 B.C. a law was passed (lex Voconia) forbidding women of the highest census (who alone would probably be concerned) to inherit legacies. Even before the end of the great war, and when private luxury would seem out of place, it had been proposed to abolish the Oppian law, which placed restrictions on the ornaments and apparel of women; and in spite of the vehement opposition of Cato, then a young man, the proposal was successful. At the same time divorce, which had probably never been impossible though it must have been rare, began to be a common practice. We find to our surprise that the virtuous Aemilius Paullus, in other respects a model paterfamilias, put away his wife, and when asked why he did so, replied that a woman might be excellent in the eyes of her neighbours, but that only a husband could tell where the shoe pinched. And in estimating the changed position of women within the family we must not forget the fact that in the course of the long and unceasing wars of the second century B.C., husbands were away from home for years together, and in innumerable cases must have perished by the sword or pestilence, or fallen into the hands of an enemy and been enslaved. It was inevitable that as the male population diminished, as it undoubtedly did in that century, the importance of woman should proportionately have increased. Unfortunately too, even when the husbands were at home, their wives sometimes seem to have wished to be rid of them. In 180 B.C. the consul Piso was believed to have been murdered by his wife, and whether the story be true or not, the suspicion is at least significant. In 154 two noble ladies, wives of consulares, were accused of poisoning their husbands and put to death by a council of their own relations. Though the evidence in these cases is not by any means satisfactory, yet we can hardly doubt that there was a tendency among women of the highest rank to give way to passion and excitement; the evidence for the Bacchanalian conspiracy of 186 B.C., in which women played a very prominent part, is explicit, and shows that there was a "new woman" even then, who had ceased to be satisfied with the austere life of the family and with the mental comfort supplied by the old religion, and was ready to break out into recklessness even in matters which were the concern of the State. That they had already begun to exercise an undue influence over their husbands in public affairs seems suggested by old Cato's famous dictum that "all men rule over women, we Romans rule over all men, and our wives rule over us." But it would be a great mistake to suppose that the men themselves were not equally to blame. Wives do not poison their husbands without some reason for hating them, and the reason is not difficult to guess. It is a fact beyond doubt that in spite of the charm of family life as it has been described above, neither law nor custom exacted conjugal faithfulness from a husband. Old Cato represents fairly well the old idea of Roman virtue, yet it is clear enough, both from Plutarch's _Life_ of him (e.g. ch. xxiv.) and from fragments of his own writings, that his view of the conjugal relation was a coarse one,--that he looked on the wife rather as a necessary agent for providing the State with children than as a helpmeet to be tended and revered. And this being so, we are not surprised to find that men are already beginning to dislike and avoid marriage; a most dangerous symptom, with which a century later Augustus found it impossible to cope. In the year 131, just after Tiberius Gracchus had been trying to revive the population of Italy by his agrarian law, Metellus Macedonicus the censor did what he could to induce men to marry "liberorum creandorum causa"; and a fragment of a speech of his on this subject became famous afterwards, as quoted by Augustus with the same object. It is equally characteristic of Roman humour and Roman hardness. "If we could do without wives," he said to the people, "we should be rid of that nuisance: but since nature has decreed that we can neither live comfortably with them nor live at all without them, we must e'en look rather to our permanent interests than to a passing pleasure." Now if we take into account these tendencies, on the part both of men and women in the married state, and further consider the stormy and revolutionary character of the half century that succeeded the Gracchi,--the Social and Civil Wars, the proscriptions of Marius and Sulla,--we shall be prepared to find the ladies of Cicero's time by no means simply feminine in charm or homely in disposition. Most of them are indeed mere names to us, and we have to be careful in weighing what is said of them by later writers. But of two or three of them we do in fact know a good deal. The one of whom we really know most is the wife of Cicero, Terentia: an ordinary lady, of no particular ability or interest, who may stand as representative of the quieter type of married woman. She lived with her husband about thirty years, and until towards the end of that period, a long one for the age, we find nothing substantial against her. If we had nothing but Cicero's letters to her, more than twenty in number, and his allusions to her in other letters, we should conclude that she was a faithful and on the whole a sensible wife. But more than once he writes of her delicate health, and as the poor lady had at various times a great deal of trouble to go through, it is quite possible that as she grew older she became short in her temper, or trying in other ways to a husband so excitable and vacillating. We find stories of her in Plutarch and elsewhere which represent her as shrewish, too careful of her own money, and so on; but facts are of more account than the gossip of the day, and there is not a sign in the letters that Cicero disliked or mistrusted her until the year 47. Had there really been cause for mistrust it would have slipped out in some letter to Atticus. Then, after his absence during the war, he seems to have believed that she had neglected himself and his interests: his letters to her grow colder and colder, and the last is one which, as has been truly said, a gentleman would not write to his housekeeper. The pity of it is that Cicero, after divorcing her, married a young and rich wife, and does not seem to have behaved very well to her. In a letter to Atticus (xii. 32) he writes that Publilia wanted to come to him with her mother, when he was at Astura devoting himself to grief for his daughter, and that he had answered that he wished to be let alone. The letter shows Cicero at his worst, for once heartless and discourteous; and if he could be so to a young lady who wished to do her duty by him, what may he not have been to Terentia? I suspect that Terentia was quite as much sinned against as sinning; and may we not believe that of the innumerable married women who were divorced at this time some at least were the victims of their husbands' callousness rather than of their own shortcomings? The wife of Cicero's brother Quintus does, however, seem to have been a difficult person to get on with. She was a sister of Atticus, but she did not share her brother's tact and universal good-will. Marcus Cicero has recorded (_ad Att._ v. I) a scene in which her ill-temper was so ludicrous that the divorce which took place afterwards needs no explanation. The two brothers were travelling together, and Pomponia was with them; something had irritated her. When they stopped to lunch at a place belonging to Quintus at Arcanum, he asked his wife to invite the ladies of the party in. "Nothing, as I thought, could be more courteous, and that too not only in the actual words, but in his intention and the expression of his face. But she, in the hearing of us all, exclaimed, 'I am only a stranger here!'" Apparently she had not been asked by her husband to see after the luncheon; this had been done by a freedman, and she was annoyed. "There," said Quintus, "that is what I have to put up with every day!" When he sent her dishes from the triclinium, where the gentlemen were having their meal, she would not taste them. This little domestic contretemps is too good to be neglected, but we must turn to women of greater note and character. Terentia and Pomponia and their kind seem to have had nothing in the way of "higher education," nor do their husbands seem to have expected from them any desire to share in their own intellectual interests. Not once does Cicero allude to any pleasant social intercourse in which his wife took part; and, to say the truth, he would probably have avoided marriage with a woman of taste and knowledge. There were such women, as we shall see, probably many of them; ever since the incoming of wealth and of Greek education, of theatres and amusements and all the pleasant out-of-door life of the city, what was now coming to be called _cultus_ had occupied the minds and affected the habits of Roman ladies as well as men. Unfortunately it was seldom that it was found compatible with the old Roman ideal of the materfamilias and her duties. The invasion of new manners was too sudden, as was the corresponding invasion of wealth; such a lady as Cornelia, the famous mother of the Gracchi, "who knew what education really meant, who had learned men about her and could write well herself, and yet could combine with these qualities the careful discharge of the duties of wife and mother,"--such ladies must have been rare, and in Cicero's time hardly to be found. More and more the notion gained ground that a clever woman who wished to make a figure in society, to be the centre of her own _monde_, could not well realise her ambition simply as a married woman. She would probably marry, play fast and loose with the married state, neglect her children if she had any, and after one or two divorces, die or disappear. So powerfully did this idea of the incompatibility of culture and wifehood gain possession of the Roman mind in the last century B.C., that Augustus found his struggle with it the most difficult task he had to face; in vain he exiled Ovid for publishing a work in which married women are most frankly and explicitly left out of account, while all that is attractive in the other sex to a man of taste and education is assumed to be found only among those who have, so far at least, eschewed the duties and burdens of married life. The culta puella and the cultus puer of Ovid's fascinating yet repulsive poem are the products of a society which looks on pleasure, not reason or duty, as the main end of life,--not indeed pleasure simply of the grosser type, but the gratification of one's own wish for enjoyment and excitement, without a thought of the misery all around, or any sense of the self-respect that comes of active well-doing. The most notable example of a woman of _cultus_ in Cicero's day was the famous Clodia, the Lesbia (as we may now almost assume) who fascinated Catullus and then threw him over. She had been married to a man of family and high station, Metellus Celer, who had died, strange to say, without divorcing her. She must have been a woman of great beauty and charm, for she seems to have attracted round her a little côterie of clever young men and poets, to whom she could lend money or accord praise as suited the moment. Whether Cicero himself had once come within reach of her attractions, and perhaps suffered by them, is an open question, and depends chiefly on statements of Plutarch which may (as has been said above) have no better foundation than the gossip of society. But we know how two typical young men of the time, Caelius and Catullus, flew into the candle and were singed; we know how fiercely she turned on Caelius, exposing herself and him without a moment's hesitation in a public court; and we know how cruelly she treated the poet, who hated her for it even while he still loved her: Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris; Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior. CATULL. 85. She was, as M. Boissier has well said, the exact counterpart of her still more famous brother: "Elle apportait dans sa conduite privée, dans ses engagements d'affection, les mêmes emportements et les mêmes ardeurs que son frère dans la vie publique. Prompte à tous les excès et ne rougissant pas de les avouer, aimant et haïssant avec fureur, incapable de se gouverner et détestant toute contrainte, elle ne démentait pas cette grande et fière famille dont elle descendait." All this is true; we need not go beyond it and believe the worst that has been said of her. We have just a glimpse of another lady of _cultus_, but only a glimpse. This was Sempronia, the wife of an honest man and the mother of another; but according to Sallust, who introduces her to us as a principal in the conspiracy of Catiline, she was one of those who found steady married life incompatible with literary and artistic tastes. "She could play and dance more elegantly than an honest woman should ... she played fast and loose with her money, and equally so with her good fame." She had no scruples, he says, in denying a debt, or in helping in a murder: yet she had plenty of _esprit_, could write verses and talk brilliantly, and she knew too how to assume an air of modesty on occasion. Sallust loved to colour his portraits highly, and in painting this woman he saw no doubt a chance of literary effect; but that she was really in the conspiracy we cannot doubt, and that she had private ends to gain by it is also probable. She seems to be the first of a series of ladies who during the next century and later were to be a power in politics, and most of whom were at least capable of crime, public and private. There is indeed one instance a few years earlier of a woman exercising an almost supreme influence in the State, and a woman too of the worst kind. Plutarch tells us in the most explicit way that when Lucullus in 75 B.C. was trying to secure for himself the command against Mithridates, he found himself compelled to apply to a woman named Praecia, whose social gifts and good nature gave her immense influence, which she used with the pertinacity peculiar to such ladies. Her reputation, however, was very bad, and among other lovers she had enslaved Cethegus (afterwards the conspirator), whose power at the time was immense at Rome. Thus, says Plutarch, the whole power of the State fell into the hands of Praecia, for no public measure was passed if Cethegus was not for it, in other words, if Praecia did not recommend it to him. If the story be true, as it seems to be, Lucullus gained her over by gifts and flattery, and thus Cethegus took up his cause and got him the command. Even if we put aside as untrustworthy a great deal of what is told us of the relations of men and women in this period, it must be confessed that there is quite sufficient evidence to show that they were loose in the extreme, and show an altogether unhealthy condition of family and social life. The famous tigress of the story of Cluentius, Sassia, as she appears in Cicero's defence of him, was beyond doubt a criminal of the worst kind, however much we may discount the orator's rhetoric; and her case proves that the evil did not exist only at Rome, but was to be found even in a provincial town of no great importance. Divorce was so common as to be almost inevitable. Husbands divorced their wives on the smallest pretexts, and wives divorced their husbands. Even the virtuous Cato seems to have divorced his wife Marcia in order that Hortensius should marry her, and after some years to have married her again as the widow of Hortensius, with a large fortune. Cicero himself writes sometimes in the lightest-hearted way of conjugal relations which we should think most serious; and we find him telling Atticus how he had met at dinner the actress Cytheris, a woman of notoriously bad character. "I did not know she was going to be there," he says, "but even the Socratic Aristippus himself did not blush when he was taunted about Lais." Caesar's reputation in such matters was at all times bad, and though many of the stories about him are manifestly false, his conquest by Cleopatra was a fact, and we learn with regret that the Egyptian queen was living in a villa of his in gardens beyond the Tiber during the year 46, when he was himself in Rome. It will be a relief to the reader, after spending so much time in this unwholesome atmosphere, to turn for a moment in the last place to a record, unique and entirely credible, of a truly good and wholesome woman, and of a long period of uninterrupted conjugal devotion. About the year 8 B.C., not long before Ovid wrote those poems in which married life was assumed to be hardly worth living, a husband in high life at Rome lost the wife who had for forty-one years been his faithful companion in prosperity, his wise and courageous counsellor in adversity. He recorded her praises and the story of her devotion to him in a long inscription, placed, as we may suppose, on the wall of the tomb in which he laid her to rest, and a most fortunate chance has preserved for us a great part of the marble on which this inscription was engraved. It is in the form of a laudatio, or funeral encomium; yet we cannot feel sure that he actually delivered it as a speech, for throughout it he addresses, not an audience, but the lost wife herself, in a manner unique among such documents of the kind as have come down to us. He speaks to her as though she were still living, though passed from his sight; and it is just this that makes it more real and more touching than any memorial of the dead that has come down to us from either Italy or Greece. In such a record names are of no great importance; it is no great misfortune that we do not know quite for certain who this man and his wife were. But there is a very strong probability that her name was Turia, and that he was a certain Q. Lucretius Vespillo, who served under Pompeius in Epirus in 48 B.C., whose romantic adventures in the proscriptions of 43 are recorded by Appian, and who eventually became consul under Augustus in 19 B.C. We may venture to use these names in telling the remarkable story. For telling it here no apology is needed, for it has never been told in English as a whole, so far as I am aware. It begins when the pair were about to be married, probably in 49 B.C., and with a horrible family calamity, not unnatural at the moment of the outbreak of a dangerous civil war. Both Turia's parents were murdered suddenly and together at their country residence--perhaps, as Mommsen suggested, by their own slaves. Immediately afterwards Lucretius had to leave with Pompeius' army for Epirus, and Turia was left alone, bereft of both her parents, to do what she could to secure the punishment of the murderers. Alone as she was, or aided only by a married sister, she at once showed the courage and energy which are obvious in all we hear of her. She seems to have succeeded in tracking the assassins and bringing them to justice: "even if I had been there myself," says her husband, "I could have done no more." But this was by no means the only dangerous task she had to undertake in those years of civil war and insecurity. When Lucretius left her they seem to have been staying at the villa where her parents had been murdered; she had given him all her gold and pearls, and kept him supplied in his absence with money, provisions, and even slaves, which she contrived to smuggle over sea to Epirus. And during the march of Caesar's army through Italy she seems to have been threatened, either in that villa or another, by some detachment of his troops, and to have escaped only through her own courage and the clemency of one whose name is not mentioned, but who can hardly be other than the great Julius himself, a true gentleman, whose instinct and policy alike it was throughout this civil war to be merciful to opponents. A year later, while Lucretius was still away, yet another peril came upon her. While Caesar was operating round Dyrrhachium, there was a dangerous rising in Campania and Southern Italy, for which our giddy friend Caelius Rufus was chiefly responsible; gladiators and ruffianly shepherd slaves were enlisted, and by some of these the villa where she was staying was attacked, and successfully defended by her--so much at least it seems possible to infer from the fragment recently discovered. One might think that Turia had already had her full share of trouble and danger, but there is much more to come. About this time she had to defend herself against another attack, not indeed on her person, but on her rights as an heiress. An attempt was made by her relations to upset her father's will, under which she and Lucretius were appointed equal inheritors of his property. The result of this would have been to make her the sole heiress, leaving out her husband and her married sister; but she would have been under the legal _tutela_ or guardianship of persons whose motive in attacking the will was to obtain administration of the property. No doubt they meant to administer it for their own advantage; and it was absolutely necessary that she should resist them. How she did it her husband does not tell us, but he says that the enemy retreated from his position, yielding to her firmness and perseverance (constantia). The patrimonium came, as her father had intended, to herself and her husband; and he dwells on the care with which they dealt with it, he exercising a _tutela_ over her share, while she exercised a _custodia_ over his. Very touchingly he adds, "but of this I leave much unsaid, lest I should seem to be claiming a share in the praise that is due to you alone." When Lucretius returned to Italy, apparently pardoned by Caesar for the part he had taken against him, the marriage must have been consummated. Then came the murder of the Dictator, which plunged Italy once more into civil war, until in 43 Antony Octavian and Lepidus made their famous compact, and at once proceeded to that abominable work of proscription which made a reign of terror at Rome, and spilt much of the best Roman blood. The happiness of the pair was suddenly destroyed, for Lucretius found himself named in the fatal lists. He seems to have been in the country, not far from Rome, when he received a message from his wife, telling him of impending peril that he might have to face at any moment, and warning him strongly against a certain rash course--perhaps an attempt to escape to Sextus Pompeius in Sicily, a course which cost the lives of many deluded victims. She implored him to return to their own house in Rome, where she had devised a secure hiding-place for him. She meant no doubt to die with him there if he were discovered. He obeyed his good genius and made for Rome, by night it would seem, with only two faithful slaves. One of these fell lame and had to be left behind; and Lucretius, leaning on the arm of the other, approached the city gate. Suddenly they became aware of a troop of soldiers issuing from it, and Lucretius took refuge in one of the many tombs that lined the great roads outside the walls. They had not been long in this dismal hiding when they were surprised by a party of tomb-wreckers--ghouls who haunted these roads by night and lived by robbing tombs or travellers. Luckily they wanted rather to rob than to murder, and the slave gave himself up to them to be stripped, while his master, who was no doubt disguised, perhaps as a slave, contrived to slip out of their hands and reached the city gate safely. Here he waited, as we might expect him to do, for his brave companion, and then succeeded in making his way into the city and to his house, where his wife concealed him between the roof and the ceiling of one of their bedrooms, until the storm should blow over. But neither life nor property was safe until some pardon and restitution were obtained from one at least of the triumvirs. When at last these were conceded by Octavian, he was himself absent in the campaign that ended with Philippi, and Lepidus was consul in charge of Rome. To Lepidus Turia had to go, to beg the confirmation of Octavian's grace, and this brutal man received her with insult and injury. She fell at his feet, as her husband describes with bitter indignation, but instead of being raised and congratulated, she was hustled, beaten like a slave, and driven from his presence. But her perseverance had its ultimate reward. The clemency of Octavian prevailed on his return to Italy, and this treatment of a lad; was among the many crimes that called for the eventual degradation of Lepidus. This was the last of their perilous escapes. A long period of happy married life awaited them, more particularly after the battle of Actium, when "peace and the republic were restored." One thing only was wanting to complete their perfect felicity--they had no children. It was this that caused Turia to make a proposal to her husband which, coming from a truly unselfish woman, and seen in the light of Roman ideas of married life, is far from unnatural; but to us it must seem astonishing, and it filled Lucretius with horror. She urged that he should divorce her, and take another wife in the hope of a son and heir. If there is nothing very surprising in this from a Roman point of view, it is indeed to us both surprising and touching that she should have supported her request by a promise that she would be as much a mother to the expected children as their own mother, and would still be to Lucretius a sister, having nothing apart from him, nothing secret, and taking away with her no part of their inheritance. To us, reading this proposal in cold blood just nineteen hundred years after it was made, it may seem foolishly impracticable; to her, whose whole life was spent in unselfish devotion to her husband's interests, whose warm love for him was always mingled with discretion, it was simply an act of pietas--of wifely duty. Yet he could not for a moment think so himself: his indignation at the bare idea of it lives for ever on the marble in glowing words. "I must confess," he says, "that the anger so burnt within me that my senses almost deserted me: that you should ever have thought it possible that we could be separated but by death, was most horrible to me. What was the need of children compared with my loyalty to you: why should I exchange certain happiness for an uncertain future? But I say no more of this: you remained with me, for I could not yield without disgrace to myself and unhappiness to both of us. The one sorrow that was in store for me was that I was destined to survive you." These two, we may feel sure, were wholly worthy of each other. What she would have said of him, if he had been the first to go, we can only guess; but he has left a portrait of her, as she lived and worked in his household, which, mutilated though it is, may be inadequately paraphrased as follows: "You were a faithful wife to me," he says, "and an obedient one: you were kind and gracious, sociable and friendly: you were assiduous at your spinning (lanificia): you followed the religious rites of your family and your state, and admitted no foreign cults or degraded magic (superstitio): you did not dress conspicuously, nor seek to make a display in your household arrangements. Your duty to our whole household was exemplary: you tended my mother as carefully as if she had been your own. You had innumerable other excellences, in common with all other worthy matrons, but these I have mentioned were peculiarly yours." No one can study this inscription without becoming convinced that it tells an unvarnished tale of truth--that here was really a rare and precious woman; a Roman matron of the very best type, practical, judicious, courageous, simple in her habits and courteous to all her guests. And we feel that there is one human being, and one only, of whom she is always thinking, to whom she has given her whole heart--the husband whose words and deeds show that he was wholly worthy of her.