A Final Demolition of the Spurious Theories of Saller, Shaw and Scheidel

From William A. Percy
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I’ve re-written The Age of Marriage in Ancient Rome (Lelis, Percy, Verstraete, Edwin Mellen Press, 2003). In this fully revised work, I introduced irrefutable statistics from my colleague at UMass Boston, Geza Shay. His textbook about statistics in its fourth edition used some of my data.

Thus, I have completely refuted the extensive work of Richard P. Saller and Brent D. Shaw supported by their even more famous admirer at Stanford Walter Scheidel, who has kept trying to defend it on the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics website.

Saller and his junior colleague Shaw misinterpreted Latin epitaphs, which are very numerous, to claim that Roman males married at 28 (about as late as Greek males did), and females at 19, because, at those ages, their spouses replaced their parents as their chief commemorators. In fact, the traditional belief that Roman males married about 19 and females about 14 is correct, not only for the upper classes (as Scheidel has admitted in two papers that he published on Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics website) but for the middle and lower classes as well. I have added a lot of citations of recent literature for the irrefutable arguments that I had deduced.

Incidentally, my work contradicts Craig Williams, who is often considered the main authority on Roman homosexuality. Beert Verstraete is his rival. Following the consensus, Williams assumes that Scheidel and Saller were correct about Roman marriage ages. Williams, as a social constructionist, admires incorrect theories of Kenneth Dover about Greek homosexuality, thus compounds his own errors. Mary Beard, fortunately, has never accepted the late date for female marriage.

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