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Notes
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Germania by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Chapter 19: Marriage and children
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They therefore live in a state of chastity well secured; corrupted by no seducing shows and public diversions, by no irritations from banqueting. Of learning and of any secret intercourse by letters, they are all equally ignorant, men and women. Amongst a people so numerous, adultery is exceeding rare; a crime instantly punished, and the punishment left to be inflicted by the husband. He, having cut off her hair, expells her from his house naked, in presence of her kindred, and pursues her with stripes throughout the village. For, to a woman who has prostituted her person, no pardon is ever granted. However beautiful she be, however young, however abounding in wealth, a husband she can never find. In truth, nobody turns vices into mirth there, nor is the practice of corrupting and of yielding to corruption, called the custom of the Age. Better still do those communities, in which none but virgins marry, and where to a single marriage all their views and inclinations are at once confined. Thus, as they have but one body and one life, they take but one husband, that beyond him they may have no thought, no further wishes, nor love him only as their husband but as their marriage. [Note 6] To restrain generation and the increase of children, is esteemed an abominable sin, as also to kill infants newly born. And more powerful with them are good manners, than with other people are good laws.
(6): "Sed tamquam matrimonium ament."
Ergo saepta pudicitia agunt, nullis spectaculorum inlecebris, nullis conviviorum inritationibus corruptae. Litterarum secreta viri pariter ac feminae ignorant. Paucissima in tam numerosa gente adulteria, quorum poena praesens et maritis permissa: abscisis crinibus nudatam coram propinquis expellit domo maritus ac per omnem vicum verbere agit; publicatae enim pudicitiae nulla venia: non forma, non aetate, non opibus maritum invenerit. Nemo enim illic vitia ridet, nec corrumpere et corrumpi saeculum vocatur. Melius quidem adhuc eae civitates, in quibus tantum virgines nubunt et eum spe votoque uxoris semel transigitur. Sic unum accipiunt maritum quo modo unum corpus unamque vitam, ne ulla cogitatio ultra, ne longior cupiditas, ne tamquam maritum, sed tamquam matrimonium ament. Numerum liberorum finire aut quemquam ex adgnatis necare flagitium habetur, plusque ibi boni mores valent quam alibi bonae leges.