Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 8. Christian life in Contrast with Pagan Corruption.” Sections 88-103, Loc. 16158-17158.
§ 98. The Heathen Family.
Schaff asserts that in Greek and Roman paganism the only regulaly recognized virtues were political in nature. Aristotle and Plato both considered the state as sovereign even over the family. Schaff considers this a very negative situation. “This political absolutism destroys the proper dignity and rights of the individual and the family, and materially hinders the development of the domestic and private virtues” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16749). Women were kept under guard at home and considered as property rather than receiving respect in their own right. Schaff finds the ritual temple prostitutes accorded more respect than the average wife (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16768). For a while Romans treated their wives better than the Greeks. Yet their status remained low and the state of marriage was less important than civic relations within the government (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16778). Arrangements of concubinage were common, though adultery was frowned upon (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16797). All in all, Schaff describes a culture in which the sexual ethic would generally be considered obscene (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16801). Husbands bore the right to a divorce, as well as the right to inflict capital punishment on slaves or children. This was generally overcome during the rise of Christianity (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16811).