|• Main||• Contacts|
them, by the multitudes of their sons and of their daughters."
After the virgins had sung a marriage song, the company partook of a
repast, the most magnificent the parties could afford; after which they
began a dance, the men round the bridegroom, the women round the bride.
They pretended that this dance was of divine institution and an
essential part of the ceremony. The bride was then carried to the
nuptial bed, and the bridegroom left with her. The company again
returned to their feasting and rejoicing; and the Rabbies inform us,
that this feasting, when the bride, was a widow, lasted only three days,
but seven if she was a virgin.
At the birth of a son, the father planted a cedar; and at that of a
daughter, he planted a pine. Of these trees the nuptial bed was
constructed, when the parties, at whose birth they were planted, entered
into the married state.
The Assyrians had a court, or tribunal whose only business was to
dispose of young women in marriage, and see the laws of that union
properly executed. What these laws were, or how the execution of them
was enforced, are circumstances that have not been handed down to us.
But the erecting a court solely for the purpose of taking cognizance of
them, suggests an idea that they were many and various.
Among the Greeks, the multiplicity of male and female deities who were
concerned in the affairs of love, made the invocations and sacrifices on
a matrimonial occasion a very tedious affair. Fortunate omens gave great
joy, and the most fortunate of all others was a pair of turtles seen in
the air, as those birds were reckoned the truest emblems of conjugal
love and fidelity. If, however, one of them was seen alone it infallibly
denoted separation, and all the ills attending an unhappy marriage.
On the wedding day, the bride and bridegroom were richly dressed, and
adorned with garlands of herbs and flowers. The bride was conducted in
the evening to the house of her husband in a chariot, seated between her
husband and one of his relations. When she alighted from the chariot the
axle-tree of it was burnt to show that there was no method for her to
return back. As soon as the young couple entered the house, figs and
other fruits were thrown upon their heads to denote plenty; and a
sumptuous entertainment was ready for them to partake of, to which all
the relations on both sides were invited.
The bride was lighted to bed by a number of torches, according to her
quality; and the company returned in the morning to salute the new
Page 3 from 4: Back 1 2  4 Forward