In the waning light of a warm evening, two voices arguing could be heard carried through the sill air, the deep rumbling growl of an angry man and the high-pitched screams of a pleading woman. Across the courtyard of the villa, a two-summers-old child sat on the stone floor of the nursery while her scandalized nurse pressed her ear up against the shutters of the window, listening with baited breath to the argument between the master and his wife. Four children, I have given you four children, I am your wife and I can give you more ... The woman's voice was desperate and pleading, but the man's voice, her husband's voice, was resentful and remorseless. No. You have given me four daughters, four worthless and expensive daughters. I need sons, and you, woman, have t given me sons, what good wife would give her husband daughters when he only wanted sons to inherit his name and his business? I will give you sons, we just have to be patient and pray to the gods that they bless us soon. No. You cant carry any more children. The last three pregnancies didn't even go full term. You can longer give birth to live children, and what good is a dead son to me? The man was incensed with rage; a wife's duty was to provide a male heir, the more the better. Daughters were a costly addition to any family. An intelligent man may be able to marry his daughter up into a wealthier or political family, which would give him an advantage to advance himself and his sons, but to do that, the man had to hope that his daughter would grow up to be pretty, because a plain or ugly daughter would be expensive to endower to ensure ather family took the responsibility of care out of his hands and his coffers. As the prying nurse listened, she could hear the sobs wracking her mistress's body and imagined the tears that would be running down her grimacing face, making her look older and more ugly than what was good for her. All the servants knew that the master's eye had been wandering over other younger, prettier women who had come to visit the villa over the past few months. His desire for a male heir had him driven to consider the costly venture of putting aside his current wife and marrying a younger woman who could give him what he wanted.