“Consent and Consensuality in Ancient Greco-Roman Marriage” (Judy Hallett, University of Maryland)

Judith Hallett will reflect upon the relationship between ancient Greco-Roman marriage and two English nouns of Latin derivation: “consent”, which dictionaries customarily define as agreement on a course of action by two or more individuals, and “consensuality”, which I would define as the act of freely and mutually awarding consent, especially in the realm of sexual activity. The first term, “consent”, has long figured in discussions about marriage in the Anglophone world, most notably in the phrase “age of consent”, used to specify the legally defined age at which a person is no longer required to obtain parental consent to get married. The second has only recently come into usage… I will argue that both terms, and the concepts that they represent, have limited applicability in any discussion of how marriage operated in ancient Greeks and Roman society.