By Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges, Willard Small
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Extra resources for The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome
Let us descend to the succeeding ages. The tribes have reached Greece and Italy, and have built cities. The dwellings are brought nearer together: they are not, however, contiguous. The sacred enclosure still exists, but is of smaller proportions; oftenest it is reduced to a low wall, a ditch, a furrow, or to a mere open space, a few feet wide. But in no case could two houses be joined to each other; a party wall was supposed to be an impossible thing. The same wall could not be common to two houses; for then the sacred enclosure of the gods would have disappeared.
This space was sacred; the Roman law declared it indefeasible;133 it belonged to the religion. 134 By this ceremony he believed he had awakened the benevolence of his gods towards his field and his house; above all, he had marked his right of property by proceeding round his field with his domestic worship. The path which the victims and prayers had followed was the inviolable limit of the domain. On this line, at certain points, the men placed large stones or trunks of trees, which they called Termini.
The young girl is carried to the house of the husband. Sometimes the husband himself conducts her. In certain cities the duty of bringing her belongs to one of those men who, among the Greeks, were clothed with a sacerdotal character, and who were called heralds. The bride was usually placed upon a car; her face was covered with a veil, and on her head was a crown. The crown, as we shall often have occasion to see, was used in all the ceremonies of this worship. She was dressed in white. White was the color of the vestments in all the religious acts.