The Single Life in the Roman and Later Roman World

Front Cover
Sabine R. Huebner, Christian Laes
Cambridge University Press, Feb 14, 2019 - Family & Relationships - 425 pages
Using a variety of historical sources and methodological approaches, this book presents the first large-scale study of single men and women in the Roman world, from the Roman Republic to Late Antiquity and covering virtually all periods of the ancient Mediterranean. It asks how singleness was defined and for what reasons people might find themselves unmarried. While marriage was generally favoured by philosophers and legislators, with the arguments against largely confined to genres like satire and comedy, the advent of Christianity brought about a more complex range of thinking regarding its desirability. Demographic, archaeological and socio-economic perspectives are considered, and in particular the relationship of singleness to the Roman household and family structures. The volume concludes by introducing a number of comparative perspectives, drawn from the early Islamic world and from other parts of Europe down to and including the nineteenth century, in order to highlight possibilities for the Roman world.


DEmoGRAphic ARchAEoloGicAl
The Case
Looking for Singles in the Archaeological Record
Between Coercion and Compulsion? The Impact
Singles Sex and Status in the Augustan Marriage Legislation
Singleness in Cicero and Catullus
Virgils Aeneid
The Depiction of Procuresses in Augustan
Being Single in the Fourth
Single Life in Late Antiquity? Virgins between the Earthly
Desire and Social Norms
Single People in Early Byzantine Literature
Support Networks
Celibacy and Sexual Abstinence in Early Islam
To Marry or Not to Marry in Fifteenth and Sixteenthcentury

Why Was Jesus Single?
James Nazirite Vows
Singles and Singleness in the Christian Epigraphic

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2019)

Sabine R. Huebner is Professor of Ancient History at the Universitšt Basel, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the everyday lives of the common people in antiquity. Among many other titles, she has published The Family in Roman Egypt (Cambridge, 2013) and Papyri and the Social World of the New Testament (Cambridge, forthcoming). She is currently leading two large-scale projects on Roman Egypt funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Universitšt Basel. Christian Laes is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester and Professor of Ancient History and Latin at Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium. He studies the social and cultural history of Roman and Late Antiquity, paying particular attention to the human life-course: childhood, youth, family, sexuality, and disabilities. His books include Children in the Roman Empire: Outsiders Within (Cambridge, 2011), Youth in the Roman Empire: The Young and the Restless Years? (with Johan Strubbe, Cambridge, 2014) and Disabilities and the Disabled in the Roman World: A Social and Cultural History (Cambridge, 2018).