2. Why do they light at nuptials five torches,
neither more nor less, which they call waxen tapers?
Whether it be (as Varro saith) that the
Praetors use three, but more are permitted to the Aediles,
and married persons do light the fire at the Aediles'
torches? Or is it that, having use of many numbers, the
odd number was reckoned better and perfecter upon other
accounts, and therefore more adapted to matrimony? For
the even number admits of division, and the equal parts
of opposition and repugnancy, whenas the odd cannot be
divided, but being divided into parts leaves always an
inequality. The number five is most matrimonial of
odd numbers, for three is the first odd and two is the first
even, of which five is compounded, as of male and
Or rather, because light is a sign of generation, and it
is natural to a woman, for the most part, to bring forth so
far as five successively, and therefore they use five torches?
Or is it because they suppose that married persons have
occasion for five Gods, Nuptial Jupiter, Nuptial Juno,
Venus, Suada, and above all the rest Diana, whom women
invocate in their travail and child-bed sickness?