Tales From Herodotus XIII. The Babylonian Wife-Market

Seriously. WTF?!

Translated from Tales From Herodotus.

The beautiful women are sold to the highest bidder; the plain or deformed are given to those who will accept the lowest compensation for such a poor match.

Each and every village once each year does the following. When the maidens became ripe for marriage, they would bring all these girls together, leading them in as a group to one spot. And all around them stood a crowd of men, and a herald stood each girl up, one after the other, and he sold the most good-looking of all of them first; and then, when she found herself sold for much gold, he called up another who was good-looking after that girl. And she too was sold for wedlock. And whosoever was prosperous among the Babylonians and was marriageable, those men outbid each other to buy the most beautiful girls; but whosoever was marriageable of the common people, of the sort not lacking gold, they took home wealth and the more disgraceful maidens. For indeed when the herald had gone through selling the best-looking of the maidens, he would stand up the most-deformed or some crippled girl, and auction her. And whoever was willing to take the smallest amount of gold to wed her, the maiden was given as wife to him. And in this way the well-formed and the deformed both as well as the crippled were married off.

But it was not permitted for each man to offer up his own daughter to whom he might wish.

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