Sunday, November 14, 2021


Mixed Marriages

Codex Theodosianus 3.14.1 (tr. Clyde Pharr, with his note):
Emperors Valentinian and Valens Augustuses to Theodosius, Master of the Horse. No provincial, of whatever rank or class he may be, shall marry a barbarian wife, nor shall a provincial woman be united with any foreigner. But if there should be any alliances between provincials and foreigners through such marriages and if anything should be disclosed as suspect or criminal among them, it shall be expiated by capital punishment.

Given on the fifth day before the kalends of January in the year of the consulship of Valentinian and Valens Augustuses.—December 28, 370 or 373; May 28, 368.3

INTERPRETATION: No Roman shall presume to have a barbarian wife of any nation whatever, nor shall any Roman woman be united in marriage with a barbarian. But if they should do this, they shall know that they are subject to capital punishment.

3 Since Theodosius became Master of the Horse in 369, M[ommsen] assigns this constitution to 370; Ammianus Marcellinus 28, 3. 9.

IMPP. VALENT(INIANVS) ET VAL(ENS) AA. AD THEODOSIVM MAG(ISTRVM) EQVITVM. Nulli provincialium, cuiuscumque ordinis aut loci fuerit, cum barbara sit uxore coniugium, nec ulli gentilium provincialis femina copuletur. Quod si quae inter provinciales atque gentiles affinitates ex huiusmodi nuptiis exstiterint, quod in iis suspectum vel noxium detegitur, capitaliter expietur. DAT. V KAL. IVN. VALENT(INIANO) ET VALENTE AA. CONSS.

INTERPRETATIO. Nullus Romanorum barbaram cuiuslibet gentis uxorem habere praesumat, neque barbarorum coniugiis mulieres Romanae in matrimonio coniungantur. Quod si fecerint, noverint se capitali sententiae subiacere.
Text and apparatus from Mommsen's edition:
See Ralph Mathisen, "Provinciales, Gentiles, and Marriages between Romans and Barbarians in the Late Roman Empire," Journal of Roman Studies 99 (2009) 140–155.

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