What Was the Age of Consent in Ancient Times?

In modern times, the age of consent is a legal concept that determines when an individual is considered capable of consenting to sexual activity. However, this wasn’t always the case.

The concept of age of consent has evolved over time, and in ancient times, it was vastly different from what it is now. Let’s take a closer look.

Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, there was no specific age of consent for sexual activity. Sexual relationships between adult men and boys were accepted and even encouraged as a means of education and mentorship. This practice was known as pederasty.

Ancient Rome

The age of consent in ancient Rome varied depending on social class and gender. Girls from wealthy families were usually married off at the age of 12 or 13, while boys from noble families would engage in sexual activity with male slaves or prostitutes from a young age.

Medieval Europe

During the medieval period in Europe, the age of consent ranged from 10 to 12 years old. However, this varied depending on social status and location. In some areas, girls could be married off as young as seven years old.

Islamic World

The Islamic world had a more structured approach to the age of consent. According to Islamic law, sexual activity could only take place after puberty when an individual is considered capable of giving informed consent. Puberty was determined by physical signs such as menstruation for girls and pubic hair growth for boys.


It’s clear that the concept of age of consent has come a long way since ancient times. Today, most countries have laws that set an age limit for sexual activity to protect minors from exploitation and abuse. While there are still some cultural differences around the world when it comes to the topic, it’s important to recognize that everyone deserves the right to give informed consent.