全文點選https://www.hopenglish.com/the-history-of-marriage

There have been many different things written and said about marriage from the sweetly inspirational to the hilariously cynical. But what many of them have in common is that they sound like they express a universal and timeless truth when, in fact, nearly everything about marriage, from its main purpose to the kinds of relationships it covers, to the rights and responsibilities involved, has varied greatly between different eras, cultures, and social classes.
有許多有關婚姻記載或口述下來的不同事物,從甜蜜鼓舞人心的、到幽默挖苦的都有。但它們其中許多共通的事,是它們聽起來都像它們傳達了一個眾所周知且不朽的真理,當實際上,幾乎關於婚姻的一切,從它的主要目的到它涵蓋的各種婚姻關係、到其中牽涉的權力和責任,都已在不同世代、文化、及社會階級之間產生了巨大的變化。

So, let's take a quick look at the evolution of marriage.
所以來迅速看一下婚姻的演進。

Pair bonding and raising children is as old as humanity itself. With the rise of sedentary agricultural societies about 10,000 years ago, marriage was also a way of securing rights to land and property by designating children born under certain circumstances as rightful heirs.
配對結合和養育孩子就如同人類本身一樣古老。隨著大約一萬年前定棲農業社會的崛起,婚姻同樣也是一種透過指定在特定情況下出生的孩子作為合法繼承人,來保障土地和財產權的方式。

As these societies became larger and more complex, marriage became not just a matter between individuals and families, but also an official institution governed by religious and civil authorities. And it was already well-established by 2100 B.C. when the earliest surviving written laws in the Mesopotamian Code of Ur-Nammu provided many specifics governing marriage from punishments for adultery to the legal status of children born to slaves.
當這些社會變得更大且更複雜時,婚姻變得不只是個人和家庭間的事務,也是由宗教和民政當局所管理的一種法定制度。其在西元前兩千一百年就已經確立,當時在美索不達米亞的烏爾納姆法典中留存最早的書面法律條文提供了許多管理婚姻的細節,從通姦的懲罰、到生為奴隸的孩子其法律定位。

Many ancient civilizations allowed some form of multiple simultaneous marriage. And even today, less than a quarter of the world's hundreds of different cultures prohibit it. But just because something was allowed doesn't mean it was always possible.
許多古老文明允許某種形式的多重同時婚姻。甚至到今日,世界上數百個不同的文化中有不到四分之一禁止此形式。但僅僅因為某件事被允許,不代表它總是可行的。

Demographic realities as well as the link between marriage and wealth meant that even though rulers and elites in Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel had multiple concubines or wives, most commoners could only afford one or two, tending towards monogamy in practice. In other places, the tables were turned, and a woman could have multiple husbands as in the Himalayan Mountains, where all brothers in a family marrying the same woman kept the small amount of fertile land from being constantly divided into new households.
人口統計的現實以及婚姻和財富之間的連結,代表了即使古美索不達米亞、埃及、和以色列的統治者和菁英們有多位妻妾,大部分平民還是只能負擔一或兩位,實際上趨向一夫一妻制。在其他地方,情況扭轉了,像在喜瑪拉雅山脈的女人可以擁有多位丈夫,在那兒家中所有兄弟娶同一位女子,避免少量的肥沃土地被持續分給新的家戶。

Marriages could vary not only in the number of people they involved but the types of people as well. Although the names and laws for such arrangements may have differed, publicly recognized same-sex unions have popped up in various civilizations throughout history. Mesopotamian prayers included blessings for such couples, while Native American Two-Spirit individuals had relationships with both sexes.
婚姻不只能隨著其中牽涉的人數變化,還能隨著人們的身分類型變化。雖然這種安排的名稱和法律可能會有所不同,但縱觀歷史,公開受到認同的同性聯盟在各種不同文明中已經出現。美索不達米亞的祈禱文包括了為這些情侶的祝福,而美國原住民「雙靈人」可以和兩種性別交往。

The first instances of such arrangements actually being called "Marriage" come from Rome, where the Emperors Nero and Elagabalus both married men in public ceremonies with the practice being explicitly banned in 342 A.D. But similar traditions survived well into the Christian era, such as Adelphopoiesis, or "brother-making" in Orthodox churches, and even an actual marriage between two men recorded in 1061 at a small chapel in Spain.
這樣的安排確實被稱作「婚姻」的第一個例子來自於羅馬,在那兒尼祿和埃拉伽巴路斯皇帝兩個都在公開的典禮上,以在西元342年時被明確禁止的習俗迎娶男性。但相似的傳統進入公元也存活得很好,像是Adelphopoiesis(希臘文)、或是東正教中的「拜結兄弟」、甚至還有在1061年於西班牙一間小教堂記載的兩位男性的真實婚姻。

Nor was marriage even necessarily between two living people. Ghost marriages, where either the bride or groom were deceased, were conducted in China to continue family lineages or appease restless spirits. And some tribes in Sudan maintain similar practices.
婚姻甚至也不一定要在兩個活人間進行。冥婚,也就是新娘或新郎其中一人過世的情況,在中國進行,以能延續家族香火或安撫不安寧的魂魄。蘇丹的某些部落也維持類似的習俗。

Despite all these differences, a lot of marriages throughout history did have one thing in common. With crucial matters like property and reproduction at stake, they were way too important to depend on young love. Especially among the upper classes, matches were often made by families or rulers. But even for commoners, who had some degree of choice, the main concern was practicality.
不論所有這些不同之處,縱觀歷史許多婚姻的確有一件共通的事。有像是財產還有傳宗接代危機的重要問題,婚姻太過重要了,以致於無法只倚賴不成熟的愛情。特別是在上流階層中,婚姻通常是由家族或統治者配對的。但即使對平民來說--他們擁有某種程度的選擇--主要的擔憂還是現實。

The modern idea of marriage as being mainly about love and companionship only emerged in the last couple of centuries. With industrialization, urbanization, and the growth of the middle class, more people became independent from large extended families and were able to support a new household on their own. Encouraged by new ideas from the Enlightenment, people began to focus on individual happiness and pursuits, rather than familial duty or wealth and status, at least some of the time.
對於婚姻主要關乎於愛情和陪伴的現代概念,僅僅在過去幾個世紀中浮現。隨著工業化、都市化、還有中產階級的發展,越來越多人從大家庭中獨立,並能夠自行供養一個新的家庭。受到啟蒙時代全新思想的鼓勵,人們開始著重在個人的幸福和追求,而不是家庭責任或是財富和地位,至少在某些時候是這樣。

And this focus on individual happiness soon led to other transformations, such as easing restrictions on divorce and more people marrying at a later age. So, as we continue to debate the role and definition of marriage in the modern world, it might help to keep in mind that marriage has always been shaped by society, and as a society's structure, values and goals change over time, its ideas of marriage will continue to change along with them.
而這種對於個人幸福的重視很快的導致其他轉變,像是放寬離婚的限制,還有越來越多人晚婚。所以,當我們持續在現代世界爭論婚姻的角色和定義,記住婚姻一直以來都是由社會所形塑的可能會有所幫助,而當社會的結構、價值觀、和目標隨著時間改變,婚姻的概念也將會持續跟著它們改變。

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