What Was the Purpose of Marriage in Ancient Times?

Marriage is an ancient institution that has been around for centuries. Its purpose has evolved over time, but in ancient times, it served a variety of functions. In this article, we will explore the purpose of marriage in ancient times.

What was the Purpose of Marriage?

In ancient times, marriage served several different purposes. One of the primary purposes was to ensure that there was a continuation of the family line. This was especially important for families with significant wealth or social status, as they needed to ensure that their legacy would continue for generations to come.

Another purpose of marriage in ancient times was to establish political alliances between families or tribes. Marrying off a daughter to another powerful family or tribe could help cement alliances and prevent conflict.

Marriage also helped to regulate sexual behavior. In many societies, sex outside of marriage was strictly forbidden and punishable by law. By getting married, individuals were able to have sexual relationships without fear of punishment.

The Role of Women in Ancient Marriages

In many ancient societies, women had limited rights and freedoms compared to men. Marriage often served as a way for women to gain some measure of security and protection.

Women were often married off at a young age, sometimes as young as 13 or 14 years old. The purpose of these early marriages was to ensure that the woman would be able to bear children while she was still young and healthy.

Once married, women were expected to fulfill certain roles within their households. These roles included cooking, cleaning, and raising children. Women also had little say in who they married or what happened within their marriages.

The Role of Men in Ancient Marriages

Men held much more power and authority within ancient marriages than women did. They were typically responsible for providing for their families financially and ensuring that their households ran smoothly.

Men also had more freedom when it came to sexual behavior. In many societies, men were allowed to take mistresses or have affairs outside of their marriages without fear of punishment.


In conclusion, the purpose of marriage in ancient times was multifaceted. It served to ensure the continuation of family lines, establish political alliances, and regulate sexual behavior.

For women, marriage provided some measure of security and protection, while men held more power and authority within their households. Understanding the role that marriage played in ancient societies can help us better appreciate the institutions and traditions that have shaped our world today.