This is a new and thought-provoking study of marriage and the law in late antiquity, dealing particularly with the legislation on marriage enacted by the Roman emperor Constantine (AD 307-337). As the first emperor to accept Christianity, Constantine is often credited with having introduced Christian ideals and practices into Roman law, but in this book the author argues that the extent of Christian influence on Constantine's marriage legislation was limited.
Rather, in many cases, it merely granted legal recognition to practices that had long been followed by many people in the Roman Empire. Whilst Constantine did not always endorse such practices, and in some cases even tried to repress them, a careful examination of his laws against the dual background of
classical Roman law and early Christian attitudes towards marriage reveals much about contemporary behaviour and belief in late antiquity.
`The author places Constantine's legal decisions in their legal, social, and religious contexts, and displays both subtlety and impressive learning in the process ... Evans Grubbs is an alert and judicious guide ... in pursuing her questions about Constantine the author has produced an important analysis of some of the key questions raised by the rise of Christianity and its relationship to Roman society.'
William Turpin, Law and History Review, Fall 1999