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Concubinage

marriage, concubine and woman

CONCUBINAGE is the cohabitation of a man with a woman, to whom he is not united by marriage. Augustus, with the view of preventing celibacy and en couraging marriage, A.D. 9, caused the law called Lex Julia and Papia Popptea to be passed, which may be considered as much an ordinance of moral police as a measure in favour of population. This law contained several conditions advan tageous for those who had the greatest number of children. It also gave to concubinage (concubinatus) a legal cha racter. The union of concubinage seems to have been commonly formed between a man and his liberated female slave. It appears that a man might have either another person's freedwoman or his own freedwoman as a concubine, or even a woman who was born free (ingenua); but they were chiefly taken from the class of persons of mean birth, or those who had been prostitutes. A man could not have a woman of honest life and conversation, a free-born woman, as a concubine, with out some formal declaration of his inten tion. To cohabit with a free woman otherwise than in a matrimonial con nection or that of concubinage, was a legal offence (stuprum). It appears that free-born women must have been some times had as concubines; for the Emperor Aurelian forbade such unions. By a con

stitution of Constantine a man could not keep a concubine while he was married. In Roman inscriptions we find instances of a woman raising a monument to her de ceased companion, and calling herself his concubine. No female could be had as a concubine if she was under twelve years of age. Several instances are recorded of Roman emperors who, after the death of their wives, took a concubine instead of contracting a legal marriage ; Vespasian, Antoninus Pius, and the philosopher Marcus Aurelius. The object of this union was, that the father might not beget children who would have the same rights as his children by his wife ; for as coucu binatus was not marriage, the children of such a union were not lawful children.

In Germany, among the reigning fami lies, a left-handed marriage (Trauung an die linke hand or morganatische ehe) still sometimes occurs. This kind of marriage resembles the Roman concubinage, as well in its conditions as its consequences. (Dig. 25, tit. 5.)