The confarreatio was the ancient patrician form of marriage among the Romans, especially necessary at the nuptials of those whose children were intended to be vestal virgins or flamens of Jupiter. The name originated in the bride and bridegroom sharing a cake of spelt (far or panis farreus). It was limited to patricians whose parents were also married with confarreatio. The wedding was an elaborate ceremony with the Flamen Dialis and Pontifex Maximus presiding, as well as ten witnesses present. The woman passed directly from the manus of her paterfamilias to that of her new husband.

Divorce for confarreatio marriages, diffarreatio, was a difficult process and therefore rare. Not much is known about how diffarreatio was carried out except that there was a special type of sacrifice that caused the dissolution of the relationship between the man and woman. She would then pass back into the manus of her paterfamilias.

Originally, the confarreatio was indissoluble, and this remained true of the marriage of the Flamen Dialis, who was required to marry by confarreatio. The other two major priests - the Flamen Martialis and the Flamen Quirinalis -- were also required to marry by confarreatio. All three major priests were required to marry virgins; however, if the Flamen Dialis's wife died, he was immediately required to resign. It is not clear if this was true of the other priests.

See also

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