A Cultural History of Marriage in the Medieval Age Volume 2 9781350179738, 9781350001824

Marriage in Europe became a central pillar of society during the medieval period. Theologians, lawyers, and secular and

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FIGURES

INTRODUCTION I.1 I.2 I.3 I.4 I.5

Medieval marriage ceremony, Burgos Cathedral, Spain. © Rowanwindwhistler via Wikimedia Commons.

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Table of Consanguinity (from Decretales Gregorii IX), c. 1170. © Getty Center Via Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons.

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The Marriage of Hedwig and Heinrich, 1353. © Getty Center via Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons.

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An Amorous Encounter (from Decretales Gregorii IX), c. 1340. © British Library, Royal MS 10 E IV, f. 139 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Holy Family, Rodsted Church, Sønderup Parish. © Photograph by Lennart Larsen, The National Museum of Denmark.

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COURTSHIP AND RITUAL 1.1 Byzantine marriage ring, sixth century, Greece. © Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons.

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1.2 Casket with scenes of romances, fourteenth century, Paris. © Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons.

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1.3 Giovannino de’ Grassi, Coitus Liber Tacuina Sanitatis, fourteenth century. © The Picture Art Collection / Alamy Stock Photo.

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1.4 Table of Affinity, c. 1170. © Getty Open Content Program via Wikimedia Commons.

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1.5 Marriage, Haggadah, Vienna. © Alamy Stock Photo.

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RELIGION 2.1 Christ as bridegroom and the church as bride, Song of Songs. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images 142084032.

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2.2 Giotto, Marriage of the Virgin, c. 1305. © The Picture Art Collection / Alamy Stock Photo.

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2.3 A couple being married by a clergyman, thirteenth century. © c. Chapter Archive of Tarazona. Spain PRISMA ARCHIVO / Alamy Stock Photo.

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2.4 Manuscript leaf with marriage scene (from Decretales Gregorii IX), c. 1300. Gift of Harry G. Friedman, 1955, Metropolitan Museum of Art 55.18.3 via Wikimedia Commons.

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FIGURES

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2.5 Giovanni di Paolo, Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena, 1460s. © FineArt / Alamy Stock Photo.

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STATE AND LAW 3.1 Agios Nikolaos Orphanos, The Wedding at Cana, fourteenth century. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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3.2 Francesco del Cossa, The Hall of the Month, fifteenth century. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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3.3 Laurentius a Voltolina, Liber ethicorum des Henricus de Alemannia, fifteenth century. Public Domain. The Yorck Project (2002) via Wikimedia Commons.

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3.4 Limbourg brothers, Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, 1412–1416. Photo by R.M.N. / R.-G. Ojéda. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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3.5 Giotto, The Wedding of Cana, 1305. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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3.6 Wedding chest painted with birds and hares, fifteenth century, Italy. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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THE TIES THAT BIND 4.1 Queen Eleanor Cross. © Photo by R. Neil Marshman. Brookie via English Language Wikipedia.

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4.2 The tomb of Lady Margaret Holland. © De Agostini/ S. Vannini via Getty Images.

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4.3 Guillaume de Tyr, Kiss of Peace between Richard Lionheart of England and Philip Augustus II of France. © The Picture Art Collection, Alamy Stock Photo.

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4.4 Ketubah, Contracting Marriage, fourteenth century. © ART Collection/Alamy Stock Photo.

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THE FAMILY ECONOMY 5.1 Limbourg brothers, Très riches heures de le duc de Berry, 1412–1416. Photo R.M.N. / R.-G. Ojéda courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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5.2 Master of the City of Ladies, 1400–1415, Bibliothèque nationale de France, The Yorck Project (2002) Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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5.3 Daily Life, Eve Spins Wool and Adam Ploughs, c. 1475–1550. © Photo: Kirsten Trampedach, 2010. National Museum of Denmark, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

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5.4 Eve spins wool. © Photo: Kirsten Trampedach, 2010, National Museum of Denmark, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

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5.5 The Devil interferes in a woman’s work of churning butter. © Photo: Kirsten Trampedach, 2006, National Museum of Denmark, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

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FIGURES

LOVE, SEX, AND SEXUALITY 6.1 Melusine and Her New Husband in Their Marriage Bed, on the Night of their Honeymoon, c. 1476. © Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images.

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6.2 The Christian story of Adam and Eve as depicted in a medieval wall painting in Easby Church. © Peter J. Hatcher, Alamy Stock Photo.

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6.3 Bernger Von Horheim (late twelfth century), German poet of the court of Henry IV. © Photo by Prisma/UIG/Getty Images.

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BREAKING VOWS 7.1 Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Henry VIII, c. 1537, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Google Art Project via Wikimedia Commons. 131 7.2 Matthew Paris, The Fourth Lateran Council. © The Picture Art Collection, Alamy Stock Photo.

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7.3 Jewish couples dancing at a wedding, c. 1460–1480. Seriform via Wikimedia Commons.

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REPRESENTATION 8.1 Marriage of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, c. 370–400. Photo: Musée Crozatier © Luc Olivier.

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8.2 Danish King Valdemar I and Sofia of Minsk, late twelfth century. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

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8.3 Nativity of Christ, c. 1200. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

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8.4 Nativity of Christ, c. 1200. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

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8.5 Adam and Eve’s marriage by Christ, c. 1225–1249. © Photo: Alamy Stock Photo.

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8.6 Adam and Eve’s marriage by Christ, c. 1325. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

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8.7 Marriage of Ermangardis and Gausfred, twelfth century. © Photo: Scala / Art Resource, NY.

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CONTRIBUTORS

Edith J. Benkov is Professor Emerita of French and European Studies at San Diego State University. She also co-directs the LGBTQ Research Consortium. Her research specialties include gender, sexuality, and religious conflict in medieval and early modern Europe. She has published over seventy articles and essays, including “Gender and the Prosecution of Heresy in the French Courts,” in Representing Heresy in Renaissance France; “Memorable Stories: Sexuality and Gender in Vitry-le-François,” in Montaigne after Theory/Theory after Montaigne; and “The Erased Lesbian: Sodomy and the Legal Tradition in Early Modern Europe” in Same Sex Love and Desire among Women in the Middle Ages. Sara M. Butler is the King George III Professor in British History at the Ohio State University. She has published three books: The Language of Abuse: Marital Violence in Later Medieval England (2007), Divorce in Medieval England: From One to Two Persons in Law (2013), and Forensic Medicine and Death Investigation in Medieval England (2015). She is currently at work on a book manuscript on the subject of standing mute and peine forte et dure. Line Cecilie Engh is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, and History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. She was awarded her PhD in medieval intellectual history in 2011. Her research interests and publications focus on female metaphors in papal and monastic writing, hermeneutics, rhetoric, liturgy, gender perspectives, and cognitive theory. Engh is the author of Gendered Identities in Bernard of Clairvaux’s “Sermons on the Song of Songs”: Performing the Bride (2014) and editor of the forthcoming book The Symbolism of Marriage in Early Christianity and the Latin Middle Ages: Images, Impact, Cognition.​ Joanne M. Ferraro is the Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at San Diego State University. Her publications include Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice (2001), Nefarious Crimes, Contested Justice: Illicit Sex and Infanticide in the Republic of Venice, 1557–1789 (2008), Venice: History of the Floating City (2012), and “Making a Living: The Sex Trade in Early Modern Venice,” The American Historical Review 123, no. 1 (2018): 30–59. She is the General Series Editor for Bloomsbury’s A Cultural History of Marriage from Antiquity to the Present and the editor of volume three of that series. Frederik Pedersen is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is the president emeritus of the European Academy of Religion and a member of the advisory board for ICMAC, the International Medieval Legal History Society. He holds a magisterkonferens (PhD) in English (Copenhagen, 1982) and a PhD from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto. He is the author of Medieval Marriage Disputes (2000) and co-author of Viking Empires (2005). He has published widely on Scandinavian history and medieval canon law in both popular and academic contexts.

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CONTRIBUTORS

April Harper is Associate Professor of Medieval History at SUNY Oneonta. She earned her PhD from the University of St Andrews (2004) on the subject of Adultery in AngloNorman Literature and Law. She is the co-author of Medieval Sexuality: A Casebook (2007), and has most recently published articles on the image of medieval women’s power of speech in “Silencing Queens” in Pre-modern Rulers and (Post)modern Viewers (2017) and on the correlation between rates of domestic violence and changes in rape law in “Punishing Adultery: Private Violence, Public Honor, Literature, and the Law,” in Haskins Society Journal (2017). Ruth Mazo Karras is the Lecky Professor of History at Trinity College, Dublin. She is the author of Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing unto Others (3rd edition, 2017); Unmarriages: Men, Women, and Sexual Unions in Medieval Europe (2012); From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Medieval Europe (2003); Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England (1996); and Slavery and Society in Medieval Scandinavia (1988), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe (2013). Thomas Kuehn is Professor of History, Clemson University. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, he has published Law, Family, and Women: Toward a Legal Anthropology of Renaissance Italy (1991); Illegitimacy in Renaissance Florence (2002); Heirs, Kin, and Creditors in Renaissance Florence (2008); and Family and Gender in Renaissance Italy 1300–1600 (2017), and is currently working on a book on legal aspects of patrimonial management in Renaissance Italy. Sally Dixon-Smith is Collections Curator at the Tower of London for Historic Royal Palaces. A medieval historian and architectural historian by training, she taught previously at the University of St. Andrews. She has written on royal charity, marriage in Chaucer, and the Jewish history of the Tower. She curated the re-presentation of the Crown Jewels for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and “The Tower Remembers” in 2014, including the ceramic poppies which filled the moat to commemorate the First World War. She is currently working on prisoner graffiti, the experience of torture, and its presentation, at the Tower. Harriet M. Sonne de Torrens is a medievalist and academic librarian at the University of Toronto Mississauga and co-director of Baptisteria Sacra Index: An Iconographical Index of Baptismal Fonts from the early Christian period to the seventeenth century. Her research is focused on medieval art history and iconography in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with a special interest in baptismal fonts, Scandinavian and Spanish art. Currently, she is completing a book on the Golden Age of medieval baptismal fonts and the impact of crusader theology in the Baltic region. For other publications see: https://utoronto.academia.edu/HarrietSonnedeTorrens.

GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE JOANNE M. FERRARO

The six-volume Bloomsbury Academic Cultural History of Marriage series is designed for both students and scholars of history, gender and cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, and related disciplines. Its chronological boundaries and periodization are in accordance with the various other Bloomsbury Academic history series. While the volumes are implicitly Western and European in chronological perspective, the contributors have made strenuous efforts to make world comparisons where appropriate; to be mindful of religious differences where possible; and to reach across the disciplines. Together they offer a set of peer-reviewed original works of synthesis and interpretation that engage recent scholarship and use representative primary sources. With a uniform set of themes in mind, each of the six volumes contains the same chapter titles so that readers can explore a particular topic across the entire series. Each chapter offers an overview of a theme as well as a wide range of case material derived from original research. There are eight common areas of investigation. The volumes open with a chapter on the preludes to marriage in the way of courtship and rites. Two chapters follow, covering the evolution of law and practice in both the religious and secular spheres, respectively; examining how authorities made marital consent binding; and exploring the ways in which clerics and secular officials attempted to regulate the behavior of wives and husbands. The fourth chapter, “The Ties that Bind” encompasses a broad spectrum of behavior, situating marital unions within the context of kinship groups and social networks as well as amidst alliances of property and power. Marriage as an economic contract and unit of production and reproduction is the general theme of the fifth chapter, “The Family Economy” and includes the subjects of dowry and estate management as well as the role of wives and husbands in income-producing activities and child rearing. While marriage legitimized sexual relations, whether or not it included love in times past continues to be the subject of vigorous debate, particularly for the period preceding the eighteenth century. In the sixth chapter, “Love, Sex, and Sexuality” historians tread cautiously, examining the quality of marriage and sexual relations on a case by case basis as well as reviewing expected, albeit ideal, norms in contrast to practice. Extramarital sex is also treated under this rubric and connects well with the theme of the seventh chapter, “Breaking Vows” through separation and divorce. Finally, the eighth chapter explores the myriad of ways in which marriage was represented in art, material culture, theater, and literature. The contributors have availed themselves of a wide array of both prescriptive and descriptive sources. Among the former are biblical, classical, and religious texts; legal treatises and legislation; and an assortment of mythological, literary, and artistic works. These documents and visual materials often represent the ideal templates of an age, such as the cloistered maiden, the faithful wife, or the successful husband. Among the descriptive sources are letters and diaries as well as court testimonies from archival repositories; ledgers and account books; ecclesiastical records of marriage and marital litigation; and for the Modern age, film as well as digital media. Their descriptions often transcend the

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ideal templates offered in prescriptive writings and afford insights into the realities of social experience. They shed light on human behavior and the ways in which women and men negotiated and contested the enforcement of formal laws and parental authority. It is important to note, however, that there are fewer such sources for the classical period, wherein scholars often must rely more heavily on artifacts, while the number of available textual sources steadily increases over time. In tracing the evolution of marriage over the long term, the series highlights no less than sweeping changes in its significance to religious and secular institutions, to family status and estate management, and to the affective desires of women and men. Marriage was not available to everyone; opportunities were heavily dependent on financial means. Further, gender and social class were important determinants of marital experience and thus are important categories of analysis throughout the series. In principle men enjoyed more freedom within the conjugal bond than women, and free people had more flexibility than slaves or serfs. Yet it remains important to nuance such generalities by devoting close attention to regional differences as well as to the social and political status of individuals. Contributors in Volume 1, covering Antiquity, for example, have found that in contrast to Greece or Rome slaves in Ptolemaic Egypt could marry. These scholars have also determined that consent to marry was important in the Greco-Roman world, but nonetheless elite men as well as elite women were obliged to respect the priorities of their families and given little choice in the selection of spouses. Their marriages were arranged without a period of courtship, an experience that might possibly evolve within the union over time. It was not a sacrament but, rather, a legal transaction that provided for the transfer of property and the reproduction of the male line. Beyond family interests, marriage was of central importance to both community and state; the primary means of creating new households and citizens. It was fundamentally a patriarchal institution. However, scholars in Volume 1 suggest that the happiest marriages were in feminine hands. The period between 500 and 1450, termed broadly the Medieval Age in Volume 2, witnessed a dramatic change in perceptions of the institution of marriage in Christian communities. The transformation was in large part a product of the growth of the Christian church both as an institution and as a primary organizing principle for European society. Between roughly the sixth and eleventh centuries prelates gradually converted the pagan tribes of the West to Christianity. Irish monks, with reinforcement from the Franks, fostered and defended the spread of the new creed in the face of non-Christian invaders, making it the majority religion. Religious men preserved classical scholarship and oversaw the administration of secular government. Importantly, they were the dominant sponsors of cultural advancement in art, philosophy, and political ideology, all infused with Christian themes. In the social sphere they slowly but persistently regulated marital life, insisting on free will, even for serfs, and that a valid marriage require the mutual consent of the couple. The philosophical, theological, and legal developments that unfolded between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries solidified the church’s position as a dominant force in social life, influencing sexual norms, family economy, relations between the state and the individual and transforming both liturgy and iconography. Insofar as marriage was concerned several developments stand out: the establishment of incest restrictions that set the kinship boundaries for marriage; the insistence on free will; and the declaration that marriage was a sacrament, where the consent of the couple rendered it legally and spiritually binding before God. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries in particular witnessed changes in theologians’ understanding of canon law and

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with them the conjugal union became central to discussions about salvation. Marriage was both a spiritual and physical state of mind. Spiritually it was to reflect Christ’s loving relationship with the church, something that both the various members of the clergy and the laity could experience. However, while the clergy were bound by vows of celibacy, the laity were taught that monogamous marriage was the only place for sexual activity, and its sole purpose was for procreation. In the West a further proviso was established that veered away from the Gospels and the teachings of St. Paul: marriage could not be dissolved. This remained in stark contrast to both Greek Orthodox, Judaic, and Muslim traditions. The economic, intellectual, and religious reorganization of western European society that took place between 1450 and 1650, described generally in Volume 3 as the Renaissance and Early Modern Age, brought the parameters of marriage instituted by the medieval church under scrutiny. The period witnessed a commercial revolution that gave rise to a more literate and secular-minded professional class in Europe’s urban centers; the expansion of Europe to the Americas, Africa, and Asia; and a new approach to education termed humanism that, together with the scientific revolution, challenged medieval scholastic epistemology. With the rise of secularism both materially and intellectually, theologians and jurists debated over whether marriage was a sacrament or a contract. For many families it was a means of guarding or improving their social and political positions as well as their financial status. Thus parental control over the choice of their children’s spouses was tantamount, making notarial contracts essential. This more secular model of marriage challenged the church’s jurisdictional claims of primacy and conflicted with the religious mandate that only the verbal consent of bride and groom was required in order to make the union valid. For young couples, privileging the contract over the sacrament exacerbated the conflict over free choice and parental control. These tensions were particularly high among the classes of economic substance, such as the nobility or the commercial and juridical elites. The Protestant Reformation introduced a second challenge to the medieval parameters of marriage: the possibility of divorce. The practice was largely limited during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but nonetheless a dramatic conceptual break with the medieval past. Divorce in Protestant areas of Europe recognized the possibility of failed marriage. It was not necessarily under the sole jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts. In some places secular consistories also heard petitions to dissolve marital unions. In Catholic areas, on the other hand, ecclesiastical tribunals sometimes granted a separation of bed and board, but the institution of marriage remained permanent in the eyes of God. Ecclesiastical courts also judged whether marital unions were legally valid and binding. Betrothals, promises to marry, and the marriage rite itself had unfolded throughout the Middle Ages in a variety of ways, reflecting both regional and confessional differences but also the urgency in some cases to have sexual relations prior to wedlock. When one partner, generally the man, reneged on the promise the litigation reached the ecclesiastical court. The flood of breech of promise suits and general confusion over whether couples were in a binding relationship led Catholic theologians to regularize the form of marriage at the Council of Trent in 1563. Prelates laid down some basic requirements: publication of the banns three times in the parish where the marriage would take place; the presence of a prelate and witnesses at the service; and the couple’s verbal expression of mutual consent. The marriage also had to be consummated and registered. Ironically, the regularization of marriage rites also led to a proliferation of petitions to annul unions, ostensibly because couples had not followed the prescribed form.

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The conflict between religious and secular models of marriage and between free will and parental control remained unresolved throughout the Renaissance and Early Modern Age and continued into the Age of Enlightenment, 1650–1800. The main issue, treated in detail in Volume 4, became whether marriage could be an affective bond and the fruit of love rather than an arranged match. Historians of that period are still debating whether marriage was a cold, business affair or filled with love and affection. Obviously no one model applies. However, the contributors in Volume 4 find that by the late eighteenth century there was greater emphasis on marrying for love, a trend that intertwined with historic economic developments and new Enlightenment ideals. Europe was expanding both economically and territorially, and there was a growing trend to allow free choice away from paternal authority. This did not break the religious stranglehold on marriage but it did attenuate it in some areas of the European continent. The Age of Empires, 1800–1900, also witnessed several changes in the domain of marriage. Generally, government and secular law took on greater influence in the regulation of conjugal unions than in the past. The introduction of civil marriage made registration by the state compulsory, a development that encouraged the practice of civil ceremonies. In some areas, however, common-law marriage prevailed over unions concluded under government supervision, while in others the influence of religion and religious rites remained substantial. The idea of romantic love, introduced in earlier times, featured prominently during this “Age of Romanticism,” particularly in literature and theater. Novel plots where lovers played a leading role more often than not ended happily. Nonetheless, in some parts of the world marriage was still arranged by the parents of the couple, keeping in mind the exchange and extension of wealth and labor power as well as the future of the family lines. The opportunities for premarital sex varied from place to place. Where individuals married young there was no room for romance or sexuality prior to the wedding. Southeast Asia, Japan, Polynesia, and parts of Africa, North American, and Europe afforded some ritualized opportunities for sexual experience before marriage in the form of “night courting.” Peers of the unmarried couple would supervise the activities in hopes of preventing unwanted pregnancies. In Western societies experiencing greater rural-to-urban migration and urbanization, the incidence of out-ofwedlock fertility rose, reaching its peak in the latter half of the nineteenth century with the introduction of birth control. The stigma of such pregnancies, however, prevailed and contributed to the spread of sexually repressive codes both in Europe and its colonies. The later nineteenth century also witnessed an increase in divorce, signaling a weakening of marriage as an institution and presaging what was to come in the twentieth century. Perhaps the most sweeping change in the institution of marriage during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, featured in the scholarship of Volume 6, The Modern Age, is that it was no longer the central organizing principle of social life. With the increasing autonomy of individuals, many people have chosen not to marry, living life as singles or simply cohabiting with a partner. It is not uncommon for individuals to have multiple sexual relationships over their life cycles or for childbearing to take place outside of marriage. A variety of factors have undermined both marriage and close connections with kin. Among them, globalization, improved means of long-distance transportation, and shifting labor opportunities, developments that have resulted in people leaving their natal villages, towns, and cities to settle in other far-off places, where family bonds are less accessible and there is less social pressure to conform to tradition. In this context kinship groups have become less cohesive, and the extended family has given way to nuclear units or individual autonomy. Increasing opportunities for women in the labor force, especially

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during the twenty-first century, have also contributed to changes in the nature or necessity of marriage. Women are less dependent on having husbands and are more reluctant to subscribe to the rigid gender roles of times past. The second-wave feminist movement of the late twentieth century has been critical in challenging patriarchal authority and in defining new roles for women in family and society. More women are obtaining advanced degrees and participating in the labor force. Finally, the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries have also witnessed no less than a revolution in the recognition of the complexities of human sexuality. The LGBTQ movements have liberated individuals to have sexual relationships and bear children with preferred partners, and in many countries same-sex marriage has become legal. These dramatic changes have not come without turmoil, and religious leaders, politicians, civic authorities, the media, communities, and individuals continue to question the origins and meaning of marriage and to attempt to define its parameters and purpose. Thus Bloomsbury Academic’s Cultural History of Marriage constitutes a timely and important body of scholarship addressing the ongoing debates of a broad segment of society today.

Introduction FREDERIK PEDERSEN

European society underwent fundamental changes during the millennium from 500 to 1500 CE. Ideas and practices of marriage differed in fundamental ways between the start and the end of the period. The Roman Empire and its successor states exhibited a multitude of kinship relations and household organizations, some based around a slave economy, others around polygamous marriages. Some allowed marriage partners to dissolve their marriages and others prohibited it. However, by 1500, throughout Europe, the basic family unit could be expected to be organized around a voluntary, monogamous, and lifelong conjugal unit, not only in Christian society but also among Europe’s Jews. This cultural unity stretched from the farthest north to the Mediterranean and beyond, and it was the result of a multitude of factors. Some developments were caused by changes in relations of production, some were stimulated by theological discussions, and still others came about because of political considerations as kings, nobility, and prelates discussed, challenged, and refined the institution of marriage and its consequences. The interpretation of marriage in medieval Christian theology (which provided the ideological underpinnings of marriage legislation across Europe) differs profoundly from other cultures and religions in its insistence that marriage was not only a social, secular reality but also a symbolic recreation of God’s relationship with His church. For medieval Christians, marriage became a reflection of Christ’s union with the church, and this interpretation provided the ideological foundations for marriage as exclusive, lifelong, and indissoluble.1 Although this interpretation of human sexuality meant that marriage was an integral part of Christianity from the beginning, the church only decisively took on marriage law during a relatively short period between the eleventh and early thirteenth centuries. It also created an enduring uniqueness in Christian marriage: no other culture has provided such strict boundaries around the exercise of human sexuality. Two popes, Alexander III (1139–81) and Innocent III (1198–1216), were particularly influential in these developments, and theologians, such as Bernard of Clairvaux, integrated their understanding of human sexuality into Christian theology. They provided classic definitions of the institution of marriage.2 These unique developments also meant that marriage fell under two jurisdictions: the spiritual side, i.e., those aspects of married life that affected a Christian soul’s chances of salvation, which became the responsibility of the medieval church courts; and the secular aspects of the institution, for example, the regulation of property ownership, the transfer of lands between the families of spouses, or the enforcement of property agreements made as part of marriage negotiations, which became the responsibility of secular courts. The medieval ideal of marriage developed out of the texts that formed the basis of the faith and were eventually ranked in a hierarchy of authorities. Carrying the greatest weight were the very few occasions when Christ spoke of marriage. His relative silence on the subject was taken to indicate that, unless he spoke against them, he agreed with the teachings found in the Old Testament on the subject and thus gave them his tacit

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agreement. But in his ministry, which was both innovative and contradictory, he differed from Jewish tradition in several crucial aspects. On the one hand, he emphasized the importance of love in marriage and made the institution’s exclusive character explicit, while on the other hand, he seemed hostile to the institution of marriage itself.3 Later medieval Christian writers were fond of emphasizing the sanctity of marriage and argued that Christ had bestowed his special grace on the institution by beginning his ministry at the wedding in Cana.4 Indeed, this text was the text for the second Sunday of the Epiphany and the standard text for a discussion of the nature and desirability of marriage throughout medieval Europe.5 It also became a common topos of medieval sermons that God had created marriage in Paradise and had thus added his blessing to the institution. Although Christ allowed divorce, he limited its availability to those situations where there was manifest adultery, and even then he appeared unwilling to allow the partners to remarry.6 In his teaching Christ thus differed from traditional Jewish law, which held that adultery should be punished by death. For Christ, an adulterer displayed a moral failing not criminal behavior, and he used the example of the repentant prostitute as a metaphor for all repentant sinners who would be welcomed into Heaven ahead of those who merely observed the outward rules for proper behavior.7 In a few cases, particularly according to the Gospel of Luke, Christ seemed to display an ambivalent attitude toward the institution of marriage. For example, in the parable of the invitation to the nuptial banquet, Christ mentions a new wife as an unacceptable excuse for not coming to the marriage feast, and later in the same chapter he appears to argue that no married person can truly follow him.8 Although the letters of St. Paul actually predate the Gospels, they carried less (though still considerable) authority. His writings are much more concerned with sexual matters than are the Gospels, and, like those who wrote the Gospels, St. Paul had an ambivalent attitude toward sexuality and marriage. In his profound unease with marriage, he continued the break with older Jewish law that he found in Christ’s teaching. In the main, St. Paul distinguished between four types of sexual sinners: prostitutes, “the soft ones” (those who use sex for pleasure), homosexual men, and, most important for our purposes, those who had sex outside of marriage.9 St. Paul reluctantly endorsed marriage, but he saw it as a solution of lesser worth. In his view, the best behavior for a Christian was not to have sex at all: “but if they cannot contain, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to be sorely troubled.”10 Despite his preference for sexual continence, St. Paul devoted much attention to the institution of marriage. Continuing the Christian break with Jewish tradition, he advocated virginity as the ideal state but acknowledged that marriage provided a legitimate outlet for sexual activity. For this reason, he became a fierce critic of divorce, though he bowed to tradition and allowed it under certain, narrowly defined, circumstances. He also enjoined mixed-faith couples to remain together, because it was always possible that the Christian spouse might convert the unbeliever through example. However, he strictly forbade those who had divorced to seek, let alone marry, new partners.11 His strongly monogamous philosophy, which he developed from the story of Christ’s encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria, even went so far as to enjoin widows and widowers not to remarry, an idea in stark contrast to old Jewish law.12 The three centuries that followed St. Paul’s ministry were characterized by a series of individual writings and councils that intended to settle doctrinal questions and to establish the dogma of the church. Some writers, such as Origen (c. 185–253), St. John Chrysostom (c. 347–407), or the anonymous author of the Gospel according to the

INTRODUCTION

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Egyptians, were influenced by Gnosticism, which argued that Adam and Eve had been without sexual temptation in the Garden of Eden, and some early writers were opposed to any expression of sexuality. With the Fall, sexual temptation was introduced into the world and as long as there was sexual activity there would also be death. A number of these writers proposed radical solutions. For example, Origen’s biographer, Eusebius of Caesarea, claimed that Origen castrated himself in a literal attempt to follow the words of Christ.13 Whatever the truth of the matter, Origen was strongly misogynist: “There are some women, though not all of them, as we have noted, who are indiscriminate slaves to lust, like animals they rut without discretion.”14 Another early writer, Tertullian, was also explicit in his denunciation of women. Among his many writings we find a treatise to his wife exhorting her to live a celibate life and in another context he argued that intercourse drove out the Holy Spirit and deprived men of the benefit of divine counsel.15 However, Tertullian and Origen were in a minority. The mainstream among Christian writers in the second and third centuries accepted the place of marriage in a Christian anthropology of salvation.16 For example Ignatius of Antioch (d.107?) recommended the church’s direct involvement in the ritual of marriage, and Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–200) condemned those who spoke against marriage because they spoke against the teaching of the Gospels.17 During the reign of Emperor Constantine (311–337), the Christian church became increasingly tolerated, and by the time of Constantine’s death it had become the majority religion in the Roman Empire and an integral part of its governmental structures. This transition from persecuted minority to dominant majority caused a major shift in the theological discussions of the church and in its internal structures. Though most of the administrative changes were quickly put in place, the theological discussions continued until well after the fall of the Roman Empire itself. During this time of change and consolidation, the two most important Christian writers on the subject of marriage and sexuality were St. Jerome (c. 347–420) and St. Augustine of Hippo (354–419). Both were passionate men who took leading roles in the church’s condemnation of heretical sects, in particular the followers of Pelagius, Jovinian, and Mani, but Jerome exhibited a more radical and consistent condemnation of sexuality. In his polemic against the Jovinians, Jerome maintained that sex and salvation were polar opposites, and he came dangerously close to condemning marriage outright. He argued that Christians should avoid sexual congress whenever possible and that not even marriage removed the filth and evil of sexual activity.18 St. Jerome also assigned a score to the various categories of the faithful and granted 100 points to virgins, 60 to continent widows, and only 30 to married women.19 His extreme position was influenced by the followers of Jovinian (condemned as a heretic in 390, d.405), who claimed that all moral failures were equally bad and therefore that the ascetic life (which Jerome, among others, practiced) did not have any particular benefit in leading Christians to salvation. For this reason the Jovinians drew no distinction between celibate monks and those who enjoyed sexual intercourse.20 Possibly the most influential writer on marriage and sexuality in this period was Augustine of Hippo. Like Jerome, Augustine was a passionate man and a passionate, albeit more moderate, debater. In his writings he reacted to events and his attitudes to marriage and sexuality varied with the circumstances and showed a marked duality. On the one hand, he saw marital sex as an integral and important part of Christian life, yet he exalted and praised the status of virginity beyond the status of marriage. His writings responded to those individuals or sects whose views he did not share, and he accepted neither discussion nor contradiction.21 Indeed, his passionate nature often made him

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

argue without regard to consistency, and he frequently contradicted himself. This was particularly evident in his treatment of marriage and sexuality. In Contra Julianum he found sexual desire to be a most foul and unclean human wickedness, a manifestation of man’s disobedience to God. Sex overwhelmed the senses and disarmed the will; the sudden and temporary loss of self-control that is implicit in any sexual act made man irrational and demonstrated his sinful nature.22 And yet in his De bono conjugali (“concerning the conjugal good,” often translated as “On the Good of Marriage”) he praised marriage, arguing that it was a desirable state that brought three major benefits for a couple. These three “goods of marriage” were a long undivided life together, offspring, and “the Sacrament.” The latter concept almost elevated marriage (and marital sex) to a religious duty. The marital status of clergy caused much controversy in early Christianity. Where the sources allow us to investigate this issue, they suggest that the clergy were almost invariably married, at least until the time of the fourth-century Council of Elvira.23 It was one of three councils, together with the Synod of Arles and the Synod of Ancyra (the latter two took place in 314), that first approached the character of general councils and prepared the way for the First Ecumenical Council. The date of the Council of Elvira is uncertain, but it is believed to predate the Synods of Arles and Ancyra and to have taken place around 305–306. It took place in what is now (mainly) Andalucia in southern Spain and was attended by nineteen bishops and twenty-six presbyters. Most of these came from the Roman province of Hispania Baetica and the synod agreed one of the first significant sets of rules concerning order, discipline, and conduct among the Christian community agreed to by the general church. Deacons and laymen were also present, and almost half the synod’s decisions concerned sexuality and marriage. Among other things, the council prohibited marriage and other intercourse with Jews, pagans, and heretics; and forbade all contact with idolatry and participation in pagan festivals and public games. The canons that dealt with Jewish–Christian interaction aimed to establish a separation between the two communities. Canon 15 prohibited marriage with pagans, while Canon 16 prohibited marriage of Christians with Jews. Canon 78 threatened Christians who committed adultery with Jews with ostracism. Canon 49 forbade the blessing of Christian crops by Jews, and Canon 50 forbade the sharing of meals by Christians and Jews.24 The Council regarded the clergy as a special class with particular privileges who acted under a more demanding moral standard and imposed heavier penalties for deviance, and, as a consequence, it drew a sharp distinction between sexual sins committed by clergy and laity.25 It allowed fornicating bishops, priests and deacons to receive communion only on their death-beds, required the higher clergy to divorce their wives and forbade female servants to live with clergy (unless they were close blood relatives).26 There is little evidence that the Council of Elvira had any immediate practical effect, but the demand for clerical celibacy was to be a powerful rallying cry for the so-called Gregorian reform movement almost eight centuries later. Rather than immediate reform, the Council of Elvira seems to have provided a programmatic statement of Christian sexual anthropology. Christian society was to be distinguished by a clerical elite, whose sexual abstinence marked them as morally superior to their weaker flock. The canons of the Council thus rejected sex as incompatible with the highest Christian standards, but implicitly they also acknowledged the central role sex played for the majority of Christians.27 Despite the development of a consistent theology of marriage in the writings of Jerome and Augustine, this did not develop into social reality until the rapid deployment of a systematic canon law that was a consequence of the eleventh-century Gregorian reform

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movement. Instead, the most important change in Western marriage practice in the period between the sixth and tenth centuries was a homogenization of family structures. In the Roman Empire, with its slave-based economy that extended into the lands of what the Romans called “barbarians,” one could find a wide typology of family units. The households of rich Roman slave-owners could include hundreds of persons, among whom only a minority had the freedom to contract legal marriage. The households of a few powerful barbarian magnates could similarly have a high concentration of women.28 Two developments worked together to even out this differentiation: the change from slavery to serfdom and the spread of the egalitarian ideology of Christ’s teaching as expounded in St. Paul’s teachings, especially in the letters to the Galatians and to the Colossians.29 In contrast to the generally successful drive to encourage European household patterns to conform to Christian ideals and to enforce the right of every Christian to marry legally, local church councils continued to accept divorce, despite the teachings concerning the indissolubility of marriage developed by Augustine and Jerome. The Council of Angers (453) permitted men to remarry, while the Council of Vannes (465) allowed divorce for both men and women in cases of proven adultery, as did the Council of Agde (506).30 In the seventh century the archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus, limited divorce to five situations: adultery, the desire to enter religious orders, desertion for five years, the enslavement of one spouse, or the wife’s abduction and captivity.31 The contemporary secular law codes of Æthelbert (c. 602) provided detailed rules in the case of a wife who wished to divorce her husband for unspecified reasons; for example, she was entitled to half the marital property and all the children.32 Comparable rules were in place in the Icelandic law code Grágás as late as the twelfth century, with the important difference that children were to follow the parent who came from the wealthier family.33 Overall, the church and lay society were in a period of transition, and evidence regarding attitudes, when it can be found, is confused. The church councils and secular laws mentioned above allowed access to divorce, and yet several popes (and even Charlemagne himself) tried to put a stop to the practice through a string of decretals and imperial decrees. For example, at the Council of Friuli, which Charlemagne convened in the month of December, 800 CE, it was decided that adultery was not a permissible cause for divorce. This ruling was repeated by imperial decree in 802 and extended to cover the entire Carolingian Empire.34 However, while Pope Zachary wrote to Pippin the Short in 747 to warn him of the consequences of allowing divorce of any kind, Zachary’s successor, Stephen II, allowed separation (divortium a mensa et thoro) but not a divorce (divortium a vincula) in cases where one spouse contracted leprosy.35 The question of divorce and the indissolubility of marriage became a serious political issue in 857, when the Frankish king, Lothar II, tried to do what so many other rulers had done before and repudiate his queen, Theutberga. Though he could have continued the tradition by simply repudiating his wife, Lothar chose to accuse her of incest with her brother, thus providing a veneer of legality to his attempted divorce. Bishop Hincmar of Reims accepted that the king had a right to divorce, if the accusations were proven, but Pope Nicholas I (858–867) staunchly supported Theutberga.36 In a series of highly emotive letters filled with rhetorical flourishes and biblical quotations, he harangued Lothar for his behavior, and though his motives for doing so may be questioned, his intervention in the case and his insistence that Lothar follow biblical precedence, raised the profile of the idea of indissoluble and monogamous marriage in Western canon law.37

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

FIGURE I.1  Medieval marriage ceremony, Burgos Cathedral, Spain. © Rowanwindwhistler via Wikimedia Commons.

Another important—but more indirect—development was provided by the mixed collection of real and forged papal decretals produced in Metz around the 850s, which are now known as the False Decretals or the Pseudo-Isidorean Forgeries.38 The collection is famous primarily because it contains one of the most contentious and famous of all medieval forgeries, the so-called Donation of Constantine, in which Emperor Constantine was alleged to have granted Pope Sylvester I secular authority over all western Europe. Immense labor and erudition went into creating this corpus of texts, and the collection contains a mixture of forged papal letters and a wide range of genuine sources. The persuasiveness of the texts, the talent with which the forgers mixed genuine and false materials, and their linguistic and stylistic flair meant that the compilation was accepted as authoritative by a large proportion of later compilers of law until Lorenzo Valla finally proved the Donation of Constantine to be false in 1440.39 The forgeries were compiled in order to strengthen the position of ordinary bishops against their metropolitan.40 In the course of arguing this case, the forgers elaborated the idea that a bishop was married to his church. Their argument was simple but effective: just as marriage between humans was supposed to be indissoluble, the relationship of the bishop to his see was indissoluble, because he was married to his church. Hence a metropolitan bishop did not have the power to dissolve the union between an ordinary bishop and his diocese. The immense popularity of the collection (some eighty-seven complete manuscripts survive) meant that it was frequently mined for extracts and examples by later writers. Consequently the idea of the inviolability of marriage developed into one of the central ideas of the marriage law of the medieval Western church.41

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The Latin West saw profound changes in social, economic, and political life from the tenth to the twelfth centuries. Demographic and social changes necessitated a wholesale reevaluation of the church’s attitudes; to politics in general, to the origins of clerical superiority against the laity, and, as a concomitant, to marriage. The increased urbanization of Europe changed the demographic make-up of society. The end of the thirteenth century saw a much larger proportion of freemen, mainly concentrated in cities, and the increased social control inherent in urban living meant that the church became increasingly aware of public scandal as a social problem. But the changes of the High Middle Ages were not caused just by changes in the physical world. At the beginning of the eleventh century, King (later Holy Roman Emperor) Henry of Germany attempted to discredit a rival faction in the German court by arguing that the marriage of one of their leading exponents was incestuous. Thus, political expediency and clerical learning combined to create a new definition of legitimate marriage. By the beginning of the following century, the initially hostile interaction between Islam and the West, signaled by the call for a crusade in 1095 and the consequent fall of Jerusalem to the crusaders, had made way for a second phase, which was characterized by an exchange of theological, philosophical, and legal ideas. Two developments, the rediscovery of Aristotelian logic and the dialectical method, and the almost miraculous recovery of a single manuscript of the Corpus iuris civilis, compiled under the sixthcentury eastern emperor Justinian—which had been unused and largely unknown in the West for almost six centuries—provided Western canon law with a unique consistency and a new vibrancy that allowed the construction of a system of law based on both religious and scientific principles.42 The manuscript of the Corpus iuris civilis was shared among a small, but hugely influential, group of legal scholars in Bologna, and their work brought about a sea-change in European jurisprudence.43 These developments brought important changes in the practice of marriage. Before the eleventh century European marriage could best be described as consisting of “successive polygamy”: rulers and aristocrats (and possibly the population at large) openly practiced polygamy—King Canute, for example, had a wife in each of his kingdoms—but by the early thirteenth century the institution of marriage had come to conform to Augustine’s ideal of a lifelong and monogamous union. The time around 1000 CE is a turning point in the history of marriage: following studies by Jan Rüdiger and Karl von Ubl, David d’Avray argues that this rapid development of marriage law began with the marriage of Robert II of France with Bertha of Burgundy.44 Pope Gregory V had this marriage condemned for its incestuous nature at the Council of Pavia in 997 and at the Synod in Rome in the following year. The future emperor Henry II had originally been marked for the priesthood and had received training and education in Regensburg and at the cathedral school of Hildesheim. He was present at the Synod in Rome, and, in 1003, the year after he secured his election as king of Germany in Mainz, he presided over an ecclesiastical synod and imperial assembly in Diedenhofen. Adopting what modern historians have called the “canonical method” of calculating consanguinity, Henry subsequently condemned the recent marriage of Matilda of Swabia to Duke Conrad of Carinthia, the son of Duke Otto I, a member of the Salian dynasty. Matilda’s father, Duke Herman II of Swabia, had vigorously opposed Henry’s ascent to the German throne in the previous year. Although it is tempting to argue that Henry had an obvious political agenda behind his argument that Conrad and Matilda’s marriage was consanguineous, Henry was also playing to recent concerns in the German church which had debated how far incest prohibitions reached and changes in the methods by which to calculate them since Henry received his education.

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

Bishop Burchard of Worms (who, despite his epithet, had spent formative years in Mainz, a center of both canon law expertise and Jewish learning) became a key ally in Henry’s policy, dramatically expanding the forbidden degrees for political purposes. Taking it for granted that Burchard was present at the Synod at Diedenhofen, Karl von Ubl argues that the interests of Burchard as a clerical reformer and Henry, as political operator (and, most likely, also acting out of a clerical concern fostered by his training) combined to cement the dominance of the canonical method of calculating consanguinity. Burchard completed a collection of canon law which became known as the decretum around 1012. The work includes 1,785 canons, arranged in 20 books, drawing on a vast array of primary material dealing with a wide range of subjects: the clergy, the sacraments, fasting, perjury, magic, and secular authority, to mention but a few. Burchard carefully selected and compiled canons from earlier collections but also manipulated the texts he had chosen by changing their attribution to strengthen their authority. By doing so, he created a book of church law that was internally consistent, appeared to be based on indisputable authority, and that was easy to apply through logical extrapolation to new cases. In doing so, he proposed using a much more inclusive definition of consanguinity, and his text rapidly gained wide circulation.45 Burchard’s text enjoyed wide circulation, and about twenty years later, Peter Damian adapted Burchard’s method of computing degrees of consanguinity and proposed the “canonical method.”46 This method was accepted by Pope Leo IX who included it among his decretal decisions.47 Burchard’s work was a compendium of church law that was internally consistent, appeared to be based on indisputable authority and built on principles which were easy to apply to new cases through logical extrapolation.48 It also introduced a much more inclusive definition of consanguinity, and the consequences of the extension of the prohibited degrees were far-reaching and perhaps a little unexpected: by making it more difficult to find a marriage partner Burchard opened up the possibility for the European nobility to use the rules of marriage to provide a legal justification for dissolving marriage for dynastic purposes. But his work also initiated a new phase in the relationship between ecclesiastical legislations and secular practice. Burchard’s method of computation increased the laity’s opportunities for obtaining legal annulments of their marriages, but it also solidified the church’s claim to hold jurisdiction over matrimonial matters. As a consequence, church courts saw an increased matrimonial case-load, and in the long run this meant that the laity became increasingly accustomed to seek the arbitration of the church when they felt the need to dissolve a marriage. This was particularly the case when it became clear to lay magnates that individual church courts did not apply the law with equal rigor and that this lack of consistency promoted the likelihood of receiving a favorable outcome to a request for a divorce. It was not just Christians who discussed the place of marriage in society in Germany. The Jewish community of Mainz (where Burchard had spent the years before 999 as a canon at the collegiate church of St. Victor before being made primate of that city) played an active part in this discussion. Like Christian society, Jewish society was divided over the question of polygamy. Jewish tradition tolerated polygamy.49 Marriage law in the Bible and in the Talmud assumed that a man was entitled to take more than one wife. Although the Talmud fixed the maximum number of wives at four for a private citizen, and at eighteen for a king, this rule seems to have described maximums allowed, and monogamy appears to have been the most frequent status within Jewish society.50 Nevertheless, the question of polygamy was debated among European Jews, and in the eleventh century, Rabbi Gershom Ben Judah of Mainz issued a herem, or prohibition, on polygamy.51 Rabbi

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FIGURE I.2  Table of Consanguinity (from Decretales Gregorii IX), c. 1170. © Getty Center Via Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons.

Gershom’s ban was probably simply a confirmation of existing practice: it was rare to find men with two, or more, wives. Although it was clearly influential, some modern scholars argue that polygamy continued to be practiced after his prohibition.52 In Muslim countries, where polygamy was generally accepted by the dominant society, Jews were known to have practiced it and Rabbi Gershom’s ban was never accepted as binding.53 Some scholars argue that the origin of the ban against polygamy was the result of Jewish communities interacting with Christian society as is evidenced by the fact that Franco-German rabbis during the Middle Ages developed new rules similar to Christian family law.54 Indeed, unlike most of their brethren in Mediterranean countries, FrancoGerman Jews lived within a Christian environment where the church and the teachers of canon law struggled to ensure the purity and the monogamous character of Christian

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

marriage. It is not unlikely, therefore, that the surrounding Christian society may have had an influence on the rabbis, at least concerning their attitude toward polygamy. This influence is likely to have been particularly strong in Mainz, which was already an important center of learning, both Christian and Jewish. Of crucial importance for this new vigor were two other developments that were initially unrelated to marriage law: the reform of the church, begun by Pope Leo IX (1048– 1054), which kick-started the reforms that scholars have since (mis- )named “Gregorian”; and the dispute over the appointment of bishops known as “The Investiture Struggle.” Although supported by Emperor Henry III, Leo insisted on an election “by the clergy and the people of Rome,” and with his popular mandate quickly set about reforming the church, whose prestige had been severely damaged by the excesses of his predecessors, in particular Pope Benedict IX (r.1032–1044, April–May 1045 and November 1047–July 1048).55 Leo IX was an ardent reformer and, in contrast to his predecessors, he presided over synods not only in Italy but also in Cologne, Aachen, Reims, and Mainz.56 His reforms were aimed at eradicating the two main evils of the church as he saw them: the buying and selling of ecclesiastical offices, and married clergy. In this he was successful, not least because of the support of a group of talented lawyers and theologians, such as Humbertus de Silva Candida, Hildebrand (later Pope Gregory VII), and Peter Damian, who set about reforming European society “with an enthusiasm, audacity and zeal which even in the long history of the papacy had few, if any, parallels.”57 It was due to the influence of Peter Damian who adopted Burchard’s method of computation, that the “canonical method,” was accepted by Pope Leo IX who included it in his legislation.58 Though the substance of the investiture conflict had little to do with marriage (except perhaps the symbolic association between secular marriage and the office of the bishop as it had been expounded in the Pseudo-Isidorean forgeries), both the empire and the papacy chose to settle their respective cases by appealing to the law. Each side saw their side of the struggle as a matter for the law and was absolutely convinced of the legal and moral superiority of its position. The proto-university of Bologna, with its high concentration of legal scholars, came to be of crucial importance in this, as it was sufficiently removed from the papacy to have the confidence of both sides in the conflict, and, as a consequence, could attract legal scholars sympathetic both to the papal and to the imperial cause. An edition of Burchard’s Decretum is known to have been in circulation in Rome around 1060, and this was followed sometime before 1076 by the Collection in 74 Titles; a collection by Anselm of Lucca; a collection by Cardinal Deusdedit, compiled between 1083 and 1086; and Bonizo de Sutri’s Liber de vita christiana (c. 1090).59 Outstanding amongst these later publications, though, were the enormously comprehensive works attributed to Ivo of Chartres (c. 1040–1115), the Decretum, the Tripartita, and the Panormia. Ivo was a prolific writer of letters and sermons, and, in contrast to early writers such as Augustine and Jerome, he tried to reconcile conflicting authorities within his collections of canon law. His works thus continued the scholarly tone of Burchard of Worms. The works were all produced in the period 1093–1095 and must have required the help of collaborators.60 Ivo’s Decretum is an enormous work, including almost 4,000 canons divided into 17 parts. Much of the material is theological in character and gives the impression of being put together in a hurry, with little attention to organization. Ivo’s main source was Burchard’s Decretum, and he included the majority of Burchard’s nearly 1,800 canons. It should not surprise anyone that Ivo’s Tripartita consisted of three parts: part I presented a mixture of 655 authentic and forged decretals from Pope Clement I (88– 97) to Pope Urban II (1088–1099); part II was a collection of 789 conciliar canons and

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FIGURE I.3  The Marriage of Hedwig and Heinrich, 1353. © Getty Center via Google Art Project, Wikimedia Commons.

patristic texts; and part III was an abbreviated version of Ivo’s Decretum. The Tripartita was as disorganized as Ivo’s Decretum had been, and, like the Decretum, it appears not to have been widely used.61 If we had only these two works to go by, Ivo would have enjoyed a much more modest place in the ranks of canonists. His reputation, however, rests on his Panormia, which comprises a little over one thousand canons divided into eight books. Nearly all of the material was taken from Ivo’s Decretum (920 canons out of 1,038). For the remaining canons he relied on the Collection in 74 Titles, his own parts I and II of the Tripartita, and on an unknown collection similar to one of the lesser-known Gregorian collections, which survives in one manuscript copy now in the British Library, the Collectio Britannica.62 These books of ecclesiastical reform reflected the concerns and prejudices of their authors, condemning nearly all pleasures as sinful. They were hostile to any sexual activity, except that which took place within marriage; they allowed only for sexual activity within marriage and for the express and conscious intention of

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

having children; were intent on limiting married partners’ access to sex; and wanted to impose severe punishments on extramarital sex.63 They also argued vehemently in favor of transferring jurisdiction over marriage to the church and its legal institutions and thus replacing local marriage customs with a uniform European system of law. The Western reformers met little resistance to their ideas about including sexual transgressions under the law of the church. Indeed, it seems that the majority of the laity embraced the reforms, perhaps because ancient and localized jurisprudence no longer met its purpose. The reformers achieved great success very quickly, and, although there was no scarcity of conflict between royals and nobles on the one side, and the church on the other, the latter emerged victorious in most of these cases. It is arguable that the church’s success was due to support from the lower ranks of society, whose conflicts did not register in the works of these reformers—the fact that there was a violent popular uprising in support of Gregorian reform demands in Denmark in 1123 bears witness to this.64 The success of the reformers was in no small measure due to the systematization of the laws of the church that was performed by a shadowy figure known as Gratian of Bologna, whose identity is currently the subject of much speculation. Within a generation of the publication of the Concordia discordantium canonum (also known as Decretum Gratiani or simply The Decretum) it had become associated with the name Gratian, and a body of biographical material was built up by canonists working in Bologna.65 Their main contention was that the Concordia was the work of a single man teaching in Bologna sometime in the early twelfth century. But following the publication of an article by Anders Winroth in 1997, and his book on the making of the Decretum from the same year, we can no longer be so sure.66 All we can currently say is that a text appeared after 1140, had become popular around 1150, and that it exerted a huge influence over the teaching and study of canon law in the later half of the twelfth century. It combined the then recently (re)introduced dialectical method with a systematic exposition of the law of the church, as inspired by the principles of Roman law. The text was assembled in such a way as to provide an elegant, convenient, and persuasive exposition of the law of the church. Gratian’s Decretum revolutionized the study of canon law and gave it an intellectual coherence that it had not had before. Earlier collections—whether they aimed to be comprehensive such as Burchard and Ivo, or were intended to reform the law such as the Collection in 74 Titles—had produced a variety of contradictory opinions, from which lawyers, judges, and pastors could pick whatever suited their purposes, so long as they were content to ignore the rest. Gratian’s Decretum was something new, and with its appearance we can begin to speak of canon law as a juristic science.67 ‍Gratian’s Decretum did not look like any of the collections that had preceded it. However, the compiler(s) of the Decretum Gratiani was in no way an innovator when it came to finding his sources as he drew upon the existing collections available to him. His most important texts were the collections of Ivo, especially the Decretum and Panormia. He also used other collections, such as the works of Anselm of Lucca. The Decretum Gratiani was divided into three parts: part one, the Distinctiones, dealt with the foundations, types and sources of law; part two consisted of thirty-six Causae, each outlining a legal problem, followed by a discussion of the individual parts of the problem broken down into constituent parts and each individual part examined for and against in accordance with the principles of Aristotelian logic; and part three dealt with liturgical matters, the ecclesiastical calendar, and sacramental law. This last section was also divided into Distinctiones but lacked any analytical text by Gratian (or the compilers of the Decretum Gratiani). The section comprising of Causae 27–36 is sometimes called the Tractatus de matrimonio because,

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apart from a long digression on penance in causa 33, it mainly deals with aspects of marriage. The Decretum’s treatment of marriage is contradictory and unwieldy, a feature which may have been caused by the editorial process. Historians of canon law are still trying to sort out this problem after Winroth’s discovery of the existence of two editions of Gratian’s text.68 However, here we are concerned with the reception of the teaching of the church, and for that reason it is acceptable to study Gratian’s Decretum in the form in which it was received for 800 years, rather than in the light of what we now know about its composition.69 The Decretum was a text intended for university teaching, and as such it paid little attention to the practicalities of its argument. Nowhere is that more noticeable than in its treatment of marriage, which is unwieldy and impractical. The Decretum argued that marriage came into being as a two-stage process, consisting in a matrimonium initiatum (an exchange of vows) and a matrimonium perfectum, consisting of the commixtio sexuum, most commonly translated as “sexual consummation.”70 Both steps were necessary to create a binding marriage.71 Such distinctions may have been useful for the classroom, but in a courtroom they were impossible to impose and potentially created innumerable problems regarding inheritance. It was, therefore, left up to later popes to clarify the law, particularly Alexander III (1159–81) and Innocent III (1198–1216). In numerous decisions made during the pontificates of these two men, the church finally arrived at a definition of the exact time when a marriage became legally binding. When parties who were not previously married or related within carefully defined degrees of consanguinity or affinity made a vow to marry using words expressing present consent (“I marry you” rather than “I will marry you”) their marriage was created. Neither the presence of a priest, nor the presence of witnesses, was necessary. Although marriages might have been “illicit”—not conducted according to the rules of the church—the marriage was still legal and therefore binding. The church did recommend and command that the parties should publicly announce their intention to marry and that the marriage should be conducted publicly, but the absence of such outward signs did not invalidate the marriage itself. These new papal decisions were initially published in private collections (known as the Quinque Compilationes Antiquae) from around 1190, although these compilations were not authorized by the popes whose decisions they contained. Publishing an authoritative collection of the decisions was the last step toward the consolidation of the legal foundations of marriage in the medieval Western church. This publication took place in the Decretals of Gregory IX, also known as the Liber Extra, in 1234 (Figure I.4). The Liber Extra was compiled by the Spanish canonist, Raymond de Peñafort. Before him no single, definitive collection had existed that covered all of the legislation issued since Gratian’s Decretum. Instead, canonists had to use the Quinque Compilationes Antiquae, and, in practice, they often consulted other collections as well. By 1230, the reigning pope, Gregory IX (a nephew of Innocent III who was also trained in law) decided to ask his chaplain, Raymond de Peñafort, to draw up a collection of canon law covering the period from the Decretum to Gregory’s own pontificate. This Raymond did, and Gregory IX approved the collection in his bull of promulgation, Rex pacificus (dated September 3, 1234), and by sending the text to Bologna (and possibly also to Paris). Gregory’s bull added one more element in that he ordered that only his collection should be used and studied, and with that marriage law in the medieval Western church found its final form. It was to remain in force for the next three centuries, and was only superseded by the decisions of the Council of Trent (1545–63).

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

FIGURE I.4  An Amorous Encounter (from Decretales Gregorii IX), c. 1340. © British Library, Royal MS 10 E IV, f. 139 via Wikimedia Commons.

But it was not just jurists who were actively discussing marriage. Theologians were also wrestling with the meaning of the institution and their analyses would become an important factor in the acceptance of the new stricter marriage rules among the laity. For example, Hugh of St. Victor (c. 1096–1141) dealt with marriage in his treatise On the Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In a digression from his main theme—the nature of the chaste marriage between the Virgin Mary and Joseph—he discussed the basic goodness of marriage and imbued it with a new dignity and emotional content that it had not enjoyed before. Marriage between ordinary people was the recreation of man’s relation to God, and: By this agreement [Mary and Joseph] bound themselves with a voluntary bond. Henceforth and forever, each would be to the other as a same self in sincere love, all careful solicitude, every kindness of affection, in constant compassion, unflagging consolation, faithful devotedness. And this in such a way that each would assist the other as being their own self in every good or evil tiding, the companion and partner of consolation, thus proving that they are united in trial and tribulation … Such are the good things of marriage and the happiness of the chaste society of those who love each other. Hugh of St. Victor explained that a Christian marriage was to be based on love, the sharing of experience, the mutual solidarity of one partner toward the other, and “this fellowship is the basis of a happy marriage blessed by God.”72 Hugh of St. Victor

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regarded all marriages as chaste whether the couple had sexual relations or not: what mattered to Hugh was that the sexual relations took place inside the marriage. Hugh’s contemporary, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, took love in marriage as one of his central images in his sermons on the Song of Songs. To Bernard, the sensuous language in the Song of Songs described the ardent love of a husband for his wife, of the lover for the beloved, and, applying an allegorical interpretation, he saw the text as describing the love between Christ and his church. Bernard of Clairvaux’s equation of the love of husband and wife with the love between the lover and the beloved in the Song of Songs is significant. The Song of Songs mentions the wedding feast but does not dwell on the emotional content of marriage. Yet St. Bernard drew this Old Testament love poem into his scheme of salvation. St. Bernard could not imagine love outside marriage, and his equation of the love of Christ for his church with the love of a married couple made the institution of marriage a central image in the theology of the church. By implication, love-making outside marriage was not only adulterous but blasphemous. Adultery would break the union which was to be the mirror-image of the relation between the Redeemer and his church. St. Bernard found no room in his sermons for St. Jerome’s maxim “the too ardent lover of his wife is an adulterer”. On the contrary, the more passionately the marriage partners loved each other, the more they recreated the love between God and man. Continuing this trend of using conjugal love as an essential metaphor and a tool for man to understand God’s love, Richard of St. Victor (d.1173) described the institution in his treatise On the Four Decrees of Passionate Love.73 He saw the human love of desire as the first step in salvation and a step toward the love of God. Love was the foundation of marriage, which Richard regarded as an honorable estate since it would lead to the spread of caritas.74 Many twelfth-century sermon writers saw marriage as an honorable estate, instituted by God in Paradise and sanctified by Christ at the wedding in Cana. For example, Alan of Lille saw marriage as a worthy estate capable of saving souls from the evils of the flesh. Marriage was based on mutual respect and the cruel or negligent husband was criticized for his behavior. Women were admonished to treat their husbands with the same affection with which their husbands treated them. Married life was based on shared experience and on the love of the couple for each other. Guibert de Tournai summarizes this doctrine: This love ought to be formed in such a way that the motives for it is pure so that the husband and wife should not be joined in marriage for the sake of some temporal gain, or a beautiful figure, or to gratify their lust, but so that they may live together happily and decently, so that God may receive honour, and the marriage yield fruit for the service of God … For when they are equal, then they live in peace but when they have married for the sake of a dowry or something temporal they always quarrel. So if you want to get married, marry an equal. Marriage was thus a desirable estate, albeit of a lesser salvific degree than virginity. Synodal legislation provided one means for the laity to become acquainted both with canon law rules of marriage and the church’s teaching on the matter, and sermons and theological texts provided another means for the laity to learn about the institution. As a consequence, when the medieval church encouraged Christians to marry and taught that the married state was an honorable state, it could assume that the laity had a reasonable level of knowledge of the canonical impediments to marriage, especially if marriage banns were to be effective in encouraging the laity to take action in identifying obstacles to proposed marriages as these obstacles had been identified by the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) (Figure I.5).

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A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MARRIAGE IN THE MEDIEVAL AGE

FIGURE I.5  Holy Family, Rodsted Church, Sønderup Parish. © Photograph by Lennart Larsen, The National Museum of Denmark.

The new legislation and the clarification of the church’s desire to encourage the laity to marry did not create an overnight change. That required an institutional framework to apply (and sometimes teach) the details of the new legislation. Over the course of the thirteenth century the church constructed the institutions that were necessary to enforce its ideology of marriage. Two elements, the development of ecclesiastical courts and a rapid development of legal procedure, combined with an educational program based on local churches across Europe spreading the word and educating the laity in the new rules which allowed men and women to establish their marriages without the consent of their parents, the presence of a priest, or even witnesses to the exchange of their vows, brought conformity among a lay population which eagerly embraced the new ideals. Synodal legislation instructed the parish priest to teach their congregation the exact words that were to be used to contract marriage, and it is a measure of the seriousness with which the church viewed the education of the laity that, with French still being the language preferred by the English nobility, English legislation made sure that both English and French vows were to be recited to the congregation.75 Although, as we have seen, there were many written texts which dealt with the honor of marriage, the laity probably received most of their knowledge of canon law from sermons and through the instruction of their parish priests or from their confessors. Sermons on the wedding in Cana, which were part of the liturgical year, and sermons aimed at the married and unmarried alike were specifically intended for the ears of a lay audience. They provide some insight into the attitudes to marriage that the church wanted to encourage.76 These sermons were mainly concerned with the estate of marriage and often commented on how one entered

INTRODUCTION

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that condition. In England, from 1223 onwards (as in the rest of Europe) the local priest was required by synods to instruct his parishioners in the creed, the seven deadly sins, the sacraments of the church, and also about marriage.77 This instruction was an efficient means of acquainting the laity with the rules for marriage. Without such instruction of the laity by a parish priest (or, sometimes, a confessor) the church could not have expected reliable results from the publication of marriage banns. The bishop’s court dispensed the bishop’s justice within its geographical boundaries of his diocese. These courts and their personnel had a considerable level of expertise built up through legal practice and academic study. In addition there was an emphasis on tradition in the courts which ensured that the cases were treated consistently. Regular courts with their own personnel and procedure developed rapidly. At the latest in 1270, possibly a decade or two before, the court of the diocese of Canterbury had developed as a distinct institution with its own body of records and its own personnel.78 The diocese of York followed the same path at roughly the same time and English ecclesiastical courts, both on a diocesan and a provincial level, soon recruited their members from among the graduates of the two English universities, Oxford and Cambridge, which provided training in both canon and civil law. The rest of Europe does not appear to have been so insular: most Scots avoided the English universities and went to Paris and Scandinavian prelates studied in Paris, Bologna, or in one of the other European universities. We even learn from the prologue to Saxo Grammaticus that Anders Sunesøn, the archbishop of Lund (1201–28), may have taught in Oxford.79 The Parisian masters had chosen to substitute a future/present distinction instead of Gratian’s two stages of initiation and consummation as their way of reconciling the inconsistencies in the ancient texts. The focal point of any marriage case heard by an ecclesiastical court became the nature of the consent, i.e., whether it was a statement of an intent to marry here and now—which was known as a verba de presenti—or a promise to marry at some time in the future—which was known as a verba de futuro. The Parisian model argued that, to establish a legally binding marriage, it only took two people of opposite sexes, who were free to marry and who were not related within the forbidden degrees, who freely exchanged marriage vows expressing their consent to marry at once. Neither the family’s consent nor the presence of witnesses or of a priest was required. If they had exchanged their vows verba de futuro, some subsequent act showing consent was necessary before the contract was binding; but, like marriages contracted verba de presenti, such marriages also created legally binding unions without the necessity of a priest or even of witnesses.80 The resulting process has appeared needlessly complex to some modern scholars: Frederic Maitland contemptuously dismissed the rules: Behind these intricate rules there is no deep policy, there is no deep religious feeling; they are the idle ingenuities of men who are amusing themselves by inventing a game of skill which is to be played with neatly drawn tables of affinity and doggerel hexameters.81 However, the decretists, popes, and decretalists provided a system of law that emphasized a number of central tenets of the Christian faith while maintaining the law as a workable entity. First of all, it provided for easy access to the married state for all (something that would have been inconceivable in the classical world where marriage was reserved for the noble classes). Secondly, it based itself on a logical set of rules, whose basic features could be comprehended easily by lay and cleric alike. Finally, from the end

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of the thirteenth century, the church began to provide a viable system of enforcement which provided for the laity’s need of a comprehensible system of justice. The laity and the clergy alike embraced this system enthusiastically. The rationale behind the system was based on the fact that Christ charged the church with determining cases that caused conflict among Christians and in particular with cases that had a bearing on the salvation of the souls of his subjects.82 For this purpose every diocese operated a system of courts to hear cases that fell under its jurisdiction, either because of the persons involved or because the matter was claimed under ecclesiastical jurisdiction because it touched on matters pertaining to the salvation of a Christian soul. The remarkable survival of medieval court records, primarily from England, demonstrates how the medieval laity recognized the courts’ expertise, and litigants willingly—or indeed enthusiastically—embraced the opportunity the church courts offered to pursue their grievances and settle their disputes. A significant amount of archival survival makes it easier to trace this development in England, but there is no reason to believe that similar developments did not happen in the rest of Europe.83 In a seminal study, Richard Helmholz demonstrated that, from at least the time of the Second Council of Lyon (1274), which outlined the legal system of the church and established a uniform system of courts across western Europe, the church was able to deal with the problems that the relatively easy access to marriage might present.84 Studies of local communities by Pedersen and Donahue have shown that marriage was not just a matter between individuals but an institution that was protected by the community.85 The fact that lay people were legally able to marry meant that, if they were marrying of their own free will—in cases where they were not already married, were not too closely related, and were old enough to make the decision to marry—it would always be possible for the married couple to find members of the local community who would guarantee and testify to their marriage. Taking our starting point in scripture, we have traced the development of the idea of marriage in medieval Europe. The foundations of a new sacramental, monogamous, and exogamous form of marriage which was to be a defining feature of medieval Christian society were found in the teachings of Christ and St. Paul. Further refinement of the Christian anthropology of sexuality was found in patristic writers, such as St. Jerome and St. Augustine who developed the idea that marriage was related to salvation and that it was the only permissible outlet for sexual activity. Christian teachings were responsible for several key innovations, above all the unprecedented emphasis on marital affection and companionship. These ideas were originally presented in stark contrast with practices found in the Old Testament and among heretical Christian sects, but, as time went on, conformity or non-conformity with Christian ideals, particularly concerning the need to seek a marriage partner outside a very loosely defined group of blood relations and affines, came to be a well-used tool in political struggles both among the Franks and, later on, in the German empire. The movement toward conformity gained speed and penetration when, as a consequence of changes in crusading ideology, the Christian West rediscovered Aristotelian logic and Roman law during its renewed contact with Islamic culture in the early twelfth century. The resulting dialogue between Jewish, Islamic, and Christian culture turned medieval Europe into the meeting place of various manifestations of jurisprudence, and interaction between these different legal systems and social practices had tangible consequences; thus, for example, it is arguable that the prohibition of polygamy among European Jews derived, at least in part, from a discussion with the surrounding Christian communities.

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The consolidation of European marriage, with its unique emphasis on a monogamous, permanent union as the locus in which a legal heir to family property should be found, exhibits another crucial feature of European society: the separation of society’s leadership into a celibate elite among the priesthood and a less pure, but still powerful, secular ruling class. By the eleventh century, these two agreed to dispute their cases by means of legal arguments. In order for a legal argument to be persuasive, the ground rules of the discussion had to be agreed to by the people involved in disputation, and in the twelfth to the thirteenth century, the church was winning the argument. In addition to its persuasive rhetoric, the church was helped in no small way by the development of a formidable and very efficient legal system, which shared its ideology and strict logic with an impressive system of law, and, if the evidence of court records are anything to go by, the church had not only succeeded in its attempts to impose a particular marriage ideology, it had managed to educate and indoctrinate the laity to such an extent that no matter where one might turn one would find someone who was not only familiar with the church teaching on marriage but also willing to enforce it, either through litigation, giving evidence, or witnessing the marriage of others.

CHAPTER ONE

Courtship and Ritual EDITH J. BENKOV

While contemporary Western society may assume it has a relatively clear idea of what constitutes marriage—the question of same-sex marriage notwithstanding—in the Middle Ages such certainty was not as apparent. Practices and rituals surrounding marriage varied depending upon class, region, historical moment, and religion. Although customs and cultures would begin to solidify after the fall of the Roman Empire, this was a period of inconsistencies and revisions, especially in the Western Christian world. Further, even though Judaic rituals and those of the Byzantine Empire maintained some level of continuity, following practices from the earlier period, they were not entirely static. Yet in all cases the process surrounding marriage differed significantly from that of Western society in the twenty-first century. Among the most salient differences was the relation of the desire of the individuals who formed the couple to the interests of the family. Free choice of a spouse was far from the norm. Rather, the stages of the union would typically comprise a formal agreement between the families of the intended. The betrothal might take place in front of witnesses and include the exchange of gifts, specific financial arrangements in a written form, of which the bride’s dowry was a part, the wedding ceremony itself, followed by consummation. Yet, under other circumstances, typically in the West, among Christians, a couple could simply agree to marry and thus, by means of their words, establish a legal union. The notion of courtship itself must be viewed in an entirely different fashion. If we consider our twenty-first-century views, one assumes that a version of courtship depends upon a certain independence and mobility of the individuals involved in the courting. Courtship in medieval Europe would more likely be an interaction between two fathers, or at least two males who are responsible for a younger female and perhaps a younger male. Given the range of and the length of the period covered, nearly 1,000 years, this chapter takes a chronological approach and divides the period into two not quite equal segments. It also takes a comparative approach and highlights the points of convergence among the three groups, and it considers the social, theological, and political aspects of courtship and ritual. The essay examines courtship and rituals in the Byzantine Empire, and western Europe pre and post the Great Schism of 1054, and in the Jewish population. Notably, after the eleventh century Byzantine practices were subject to relatively little change and did not, in any case, follow the dictates of the Latin church. In the West under Innocent III, the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) codified a number of regulations concerning marriage. Jewish ceremonies existed prior to the advent of Christianity and followed a somewhat different pattern. Nonetheless, there are many commonalities among the practices of these groups.

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THE EARLY PERIOD (500–1054) The Byzantine Empire In Byzantium, as in the Latin West, one of the principal reasons for marriage was procreation, and among upper-class individuals, safeguarding property and wealth. As late as the eighth and ninth centuries, Byzantine marriages were viewed primarily as civil contracts between consenting partners (following the Roman model) and, as in Western Christendom, there was no specific involvement of the clergy. Notably, however, John Meyendorff suggests some fundamental differences. He posits that in Byzantium the ideal of celibacy as a state more desirable than marriage was not present as it was in the teachings of the Latin church fathers. In 692, the Council of Trullo specifically endorsed earlier statutes that rejected the ideals of celibacy and asceticism. Marriage, including that of a member of the clergy, was the norm in Byzantine society and remained so. The Eastern Christian version of marriage stood in stark contrast with that of the Latin West. Thus, Meyendorff posits: “Consequently, the main struggle of the church in the West was to preserve the indissolubility of marriage, while condoning any number of remarriages after widowhood. In the East divorce is even required in some circumstances (for instance, in cases of adultery), but remarriage is never encouraged.”1 These opposing views continued throughout the period examined and became perhaps stronger after the East–West schism and after the Fourth Lateran Council. Early Byzantine laws allowed betrothal at seven, but the age fourteen for young men and twelve for girls in Justinian’s Code became the norm for the betrothal as frequently the two stages of the process were in close temporal proximity. It was assumed that girls would have reached a childbearing age by twelve.2 Ofttimes, however, these rules were not strictly observed, and younger couples were betrothed. The case of a girl from Epiros, betrothed at the age of five, is such an example. When she was twelve, she threatened suicide rather than going through with the marriage.3 One of the impediments of marriage were the degrees of consanguinity. Even a marriage between a couple at the seventh degree of consanguinity was forbidden. However, synodal dispensations could be granted and betrothals and marriages between younger individuals, as well as marriages between more closely related individuals, were sometimes permitted. Marriages that were arranged limited any interactions that might be considered courtship between the prospective groom and his future wife, at least until after the betrothal. In the case of an impending imperial marriage, some sources in the ninth and tenth centuries mention a “bride show,” not unlike a fashion runway, where a selection of eligible young women would be paraded. If the proposed bride were of foreign origin, portraits would be sent to the emperor. The betrothal ceremony at all levels, however, involved gifts, including the arrha sponsalia on the groom’s side, an exchange of rings frequently with joined hands symbolizing the linking of the couple, and a formal contract stipulating an agreed upon dowry (Figure 1.1). The bride retained ownership of the dowry but the husband had usufruct of it during the marriage. In the Justinian period, the groom also gave a gift, the donatio propter nuptias, at betrothal equal to the amount of the dowry. In the ninth century the gift, the hypobolon, was more typically one-third to one-half of the total dowry. In the tenth century, the groom’s gift, the theoreton was one-twelfth of dowry and the exclusive property of the wife should the marriage end in divorce or through death of the husband.4 Once the formal aspects of the betrothal were concluded, the wedding ceremony was preceded by a ritual bath for the bride, who dressed in white and left for church. The

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FIGURE 1.1  Byzantine marriage ring, sixth century, Greece. © Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons.

couple was blessed by a priest who also “crowned” them. At that time they exchanged rings and shared wine. The crowning ceremony, stefanoma, typically took place during the Eucharist. After the crowning, the couple was escorted to the groom’s house, followed by well-wishers singing marriage songs (epithalmia). At some time during the wedding feast the couple went off to the bedroom where the groom gave his bride the marriage belt before consummation of their union. Often times the party continued while the couple was consummating the marriage.5 Both the betrothal and the crowning ceremony preexisted Christianity. The crowning evolved from its pagan origins to a symbolic representation of the Christian couple’s triumph over carnal pleasure. For imperial weddings, the patriarch performed the crowning. Nonetheless, for the most part, the Eastern clergy had only minimal participation in the betrothal and marriage rituals in the early period. Something of a legal and social watershed occurred with the publication by Emperor Leo VI (886–912) of his Novel 89: “We order,” the emperor wrote, “that marital cohabitation be sanctioned by the witness of the sacred blessing.” This text gives the church, for the first time, an exclusive privilege to legalize marriages, placing church

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courts in charge of all legal problems connected with marriage, including divorce and its consequences.6 A secular, private agreement was transformed into an ecclesiastic ceremony. Thus, in the eighth and ninth centuries, a new practice comes into being: the couple is brought to church, placed before the altar and, during the Eucharist, “in front of the whole people,” the priest recites a short prayer: “O Lord, stretch out Thy hand from Thy holy dwelling place, and unite Thy servant and Thy handmaid: unite them in one mind; crown them into one flesh, since Thou has blessed them to be wed to each other; make their marriage to be honorable; preserve their bed blameless, mercifully grant that they may live together in purity.” An early Byzantine text (eighth century) states that the couple must receive communion after the blessing of the crown, from a “common cup.” A second practice coexisted with the crowning, occurring after the general communion, with the couple receiving communion from a common cup reserved for them. However, with the requirement of clerical participation for all marriages, the public Eucharist and the marriage ceremony were formally separated.7 By the late medieval period, the Byzantine marriage ritual was essentially the same as that practiced today.

Early Western Christendom The church fathers, among them St. Augustine and Tertullian, commented directly or indirectly upon marriage and its associated rituals. While they were not explicitly forming church doctrine, the question of whether celibacy was a superior state to marriage (and by extension, sexual activity) appears to have preoccupied the church fathers. Augustine’s conclusion in the Good Marriage that procreation was a good thing cannot be other than significant: “A consequence is the union of society in the children who are the only worthy fruit, not of the joining of male and female, but of sexual intercourse.”8 Nonetheless, there is little detailed information on practices during the fifth through eighth centuries to provide a fuller picture of the church fathers’ influence in relation to marriage and its associated rituals within the early Christian community. As the Roman Empire weakened, Germanic tribes began to move south. Ultimately, the former empire could be divided between those areas where Roman law had a greater influence—Italy, Spain, and southern France—areas that continued to follow a modified version of Roman law, and more northern regions where Germanic traditions prevailed. Eventually these two traditions would begin to resemble each other, although certain distinctions remained until the north had been thoroughly Christianized. Tacitus’s Germania offers an early description of Germanic customs in the first century and details the marriage process. There were three patterns: Kaufehe (purchase); Raubehe, abduction with or without the woman’s consent; and Friedelehe (mutual consent). The bride price, as Wemple notes, could refer to the Morgengabe, given after consummation, either in the case of consent or purchase or it could be the dos, the dowry set at the time of the betrothal. In the Merovingian period, marriage comprised three stages: petition (the suit); desponsatio (the betrothal); and nuptiae (the wedding itself). A pledge (arrha) would be given by the suitor to the future bride as a good faith sign of the agreement. The engagement could not be broken after the pledge by one of the parties without some sort of penalty, monetary or, in the extreme, death if an engaged girl married another man. Marriage did not necessarily follow closely after the betrothal. It was not unusual for a year or more to pass before the wedding.9 Abduction as a means of obtaining a wife did not disappear entirely—the story of St. Radegund is a notorious example—but it was not promoted.

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In the Carolingian period, Christianity began to exhibit an influence over marriage. Pepin, king of the Franks, was crowned by St. Boniface with papal permission. It was under Pepin that consanguinity to the seventh degree of kinship in affinity and spiritual relations, including “god” parents, came into effect. With that increased prohibition, Pepin effectively prevented aristocratic families from forming extended alliances through marriage. The Frankish church moved closer to a secular model of marriage during the second half of the ninth century. Despite insistence on a religious ceremony, the traditional Germanic procedures of parental consent and property settlement were recognized as necessary steps for legitimate unions. Hincmar of Rheims added to the stipulation that the marriage was not valid until consummated.10 However, by the tenth century, the Carolingian Empire had crumbled and noble families exercised greater power.

HIGH AND LATE MIDDLE AGES By the beginning of the eleventh century, a general outline of Western Christian practices regarding the marriage process can be constructed, taking into account the variations in the many cultural communities that formed western Europe. Of capital importance was the notion of consent. Consent of both parties was, in theory, necessary. While consent appeared to be the key to a valid marriage, it should not be confused with free choice. Clandestine marriages are an example of free choice outside of the role of parental agreement and would fall subject to legislation. Intent recognized through a betrothal ceremony was the first stage. Canon lawyers distinguished between a future promise at betrothal, “I will marry you,” and a statement “I do marry you,” in the present tense. Intent in a nonspecified future was important but, in theory, did not permit consummation and could be rescinded. Nonetheless, in Spain a betrothed couple living together were considered married. Many couples started “married” life after betrothal and never had any type of formal ceremony.11 Present tense vows were unbreakable and would eventually be followed by consummation. Such marriages were legally indissoluble. At the betrothal, a ring with clasped hands representing the union of the couple, similar to that in the Byzantine ritual, was given to the future bride. In England from the twelfth century on, the handfasting ceremony served as a sign of betrothal and indeed of a binding marriage. Financial agreements would be finalized at the time of the betrothal, especially what the bride would bring as her dowry. For example, in late medieval Florence, if the two sides were nearing agreement on the size of the dowry, the groom and his father met with the bride’s father to seal the agreement with a handshake. A meeting with a notary and witnesses to draw up a legal agreement was arranged. Once this agreement was signed, there was a legal obligation for the couple to marry and, at this point, the groom would begin courting his bride-to-be through visits or gifts, including clothing, decorative objects such as jewelry boxes, or even furniture, for example wedding chests, for their future household (Figure 1.2).12 Requirements for the wedding would change over this period but at the outset changes were slow to take hold. Neither a public ceremony nor a church service was obligatory, nor was the presence of a cleric or relatives (parents) a formal requirement. As might be obvious, at the beginning of this period a clandestine marriage, contracted by the couple without parental consent, would still be considered valid. For the ceremony itself, no specific location was mandated, although it was often held in front of the church at the portal or porch. A marriage ceremony could, however, be held anywhere—a house, a

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FIGURE 1.2  Casket with scenes of romances, fourteenth century, Paris. © Walters Art Museum via Wikimedia Commons.

forest, a solar—especially prior to the thirteenth century. In English, the term “wed” is the name for the gift given by the husband to his bride, typically a ring, as a sign that she will be provided for. After the public wedding, typically a nuptial mass and blessing was held in the church. The ceremony was followed by a wedding feast. The final step in this process was consummation of the union by the couple (Figure 1.3). Perhaps the most salient feature of marriage was following consummation the sanctioning of a sustained sexual relationship. Among the questions debated concerning the validity of a marriage was whether consent alone (without consummation) sufficed. Marriage—without consummation—could be deferred thus creating the question of whether the vows constituted a marriage. Peter Lombard considered consent itself by stating: “I take you as my wife; I take you as my husband” created a marriage. Thomas Aquinas’s view was that consent alone did not suffice and that any impediment to consummation (such as impotence that might be discovered later) would invalidate the marriage. Gratian as well argued that a valid marriage required both consent and consummation. Betrothal/marriage could even transpire in bed, followed immediately by consummation, thus validating the marriage. Notably, it was easier to dissolve an unconsummated marriage or a marriage without consent freely given. The Morgengabe of the Germanic tradition, as we have seen, given to the wife the morning after the consummation of the marriage signaled the crucial, final step in the marriage process. Skinner notes that the Morgengabe persisted but was in conflict with some of the other rituals in places such as Italy. It did not disappear entirely but was essentially subsumed into the dowry.13 A number of variants existed at different times concerning the exchange of financial responsibilities among the parties, depending upon the time period and region. For example, Skinner notes that in Genoa up until 1130 three transactions were part of

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FIGURE 1.3  Giovannino de’ Grassi, Coitus Liber Tacuina Sanitatis, fourteenth century. © The Picture Art Collection / Alamy Stock Photo.

the marriage process: the daughter’s parents gave the dowry; the groom or his family provided the antefactum (counter-dowry) and a promise of the tertium (the Frankish third, equivalent of the Lombard Morgengabe) to the wife in order to support her after her husband’s death. A woman marrying in Genoa could negotiate any terms she wished with her husband concerning the antefactum and the tertium, with the antefactum generally amounting to roughly half the dowry. A change in the law in 1143 was clearly unfavorable to the wife: she no longer had the right to the tertium, and the artifactum was reduced to less than 100 lire. Skinner concludes: “Such measures obviously had a negative impact on the ability of the widow after the death of her husband but did allow children to inherit property more quickly.”14 Balancing the interest of the family overall often could be detrimental to the widow.

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Regulations and control From roughly the twelfth century on, the Catholic Church took an active role in the regulation of marriage. As part of the discussion of what did and did not constitute a valid marriage, for example, the First Lateran Council (1123) and the Second Lateran Council (1139) took up the issue of clerical marriage, ultimately resulting in forbidding priests to marry. Georges Duby had proposed that the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a period when the church and secular forces vied for control over marriage. However, recognizing the intertwined nature of clerical and secular domains, Sara McDougall asserts: Marriage as indissoluble, monogamous, and subject to the jurisdiction of the Church did not emerge as a result of a competition, or as a compromise between clergy and laity, between two different sides. Instead, it emerged as the result of a convergence of the complex and collective interests of powerful persons—families and individuals— whose interests cannot be classified into categories of those of the clergy or those of the nobles.15 Indissolubility, according to Duby, would be a major area of contention, with nobles preferring dissoluble marriage to make it easier to further their interests, while the church, on the other side, wanted indissoluble marriage according to theological precepts.16 McDougall further negates the binary view of the church as a monolithic entity versus the laity (in this case, members of the aristocracy) since high-ranking members of the church, bishops and abbots, were themselves family members of nobles and would be more likely disposed to their families’ interests than those of the church. As Christopher Brooke states: “‘The aristocracy of Europe allowed the church to take over almost completely the jurisdiction of the law of marriage.’”17 The key here is understanding the meaning of “allowed” since this choice in reality served everyone’s interests. In the early Middle Ages public rituals were less an element in the marriage process; ecclesiastic participation was even less so. In the early thirteenth century, the Fourth Lateran Council, held under Innocent III, enacted a number of significant rulings. It decreed that weddings be public, including the reading of banns three times prior to the wedding to allow for any objections to the union and with witnesses so that in the case of legal disputes there could be confirmation as to whether or not a marriage existed. Further it would rule against clandestine marriages. “Following in the footsteps of our predecessors, we altogether forbid clandestine marriages and we forbid any priest to presume to be present at such a marriage.”18 Such legislation was designed to curb the proliferation of clandestine marriages, which were valid through consent alone (solo consensu). The Council would also revise the regulations concerning consanguinity, reducing the forbidden levels from seven to four: “The prohibition against marriage shall not in the future go beyond the fourth degree of consanguinity and of affinity, since the prohibition cannot now generally be observed for a few degrees without grave harm.”19 Scholastic sacramental doctrine served to distinguish Christian marriages from earlier pagan ones, a key element of which was the indissolubility of marriage. The union was given a symbolic value, mirroring the union of Christ with the church. The significance of this symbolic weight provided an explanation of the indissolubility of marriage since

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Christ does not ever separate from the church. Ultimately, by declaring marriage a sacrament, ecclesiastic control comes into place. A large chasm exists between these regulations and their enforcement. Church officials often showed little enthusiasm toward prosecuting violations and often tolerated or simply ignored infringements on the prescribed policies. Further, regional differences and practices would not disappear immediately or even in the ensuing decades. Northern Italy can be taken as an example of how secular culture and interests intersected to disregard the new legislation. Marriage as a private, contractual, notarized agreement between families, often eschewing the determination of free consent, perdured. Or, in Castille in the 1260s, royal ordonnances (Siete Partidas) maintained the barragania, a type civil marriage through concubinage that was considered temporary and could be dissolved by mutual agreement.20 The regulations concerning marriages were to stay in place until the Council of Trent enacted the Tametsi decree in 1563, which specifically required that marriages take place in the parish church and be officiated by a priest. Any marriage contracted without the presence of a priest would not be considered valid.

Betrothal/Age of consent/Compelling marriage Young children could be betrothed once they had attained the age of seven. Typically this occurred more frequently among noble families given the political and financial implications of these alliances. As noted earlier, the permissible age of marriage was twelve for girls and fourteen for boys, based loosely on their ability to consummate the marriage at those ages. However, these age requirements might be followed less stringently depending particularly on the status of the couple involved. Henry of England and Marguerite of France married at five (or seven) and two (or three) respectively, despite the restrictions on age for marriage. The alliance was clearly a political one, orchestrated by Henry II Plantagenet, for which he received a papal dispensation from Alexander III. An even more intriguing example is that of Edward II and Isabella of France. The betrothal, in this case a sponsalia de futuro, occurred in May 1305 when she would have been seven. However, Clement V authorized a papal dispensation and she and Edward were married by proxy in November 1305 when she was only ten. They were married again in January 1308 when Isabella was twelve, the accepted age for marriage. Their first child, however, was not born until 1312, indicating perhaps the marriage was not consummated immediately or simply that Isabella had not yet reached puberty. Clearly, the political interests of France and England in trying to solidify a union that might unite the two countries peacefully outweighed the dictates of canonic law. Age at marriage or betrothal varied significantly by geographic region, in accordance with cultural norms. It ranged from twenties or late teens in northern Europe, with only a small age difference in the couple, to nineteen for the bride and twenty-eight for the groom in Tuscan cities, and nineteen and twenty-four respectively in the countryside. This contrasts with the numbers given by Herlihy and Klapisch-Zuber for average age at first marriage in Tuscan cities, in which they estimated the average age of brides around nineteen and grooms at twenty-eight, to thirteenth-century Venetian regulations noting that “‘a woman of thirteen or younger is not to be reckoned a woman unless married,’” while husbands were generally ten or more years older.21

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While betrothal and marriage depended ostensibly upon the two parties consenting, it was not unusual that some types of marriage be compelled. Courtly literature gives us the example of King Marc in the story of Tristan and Iseut. Marc did not wish to marry but his vassals, jealous of the influence of his nephew Tristan, insisted that “he take a wife, the daughter of a king, who would give him heirs” and threatened revolt if he did not.22 In a version of courtship Marc sends Tristan to find the woman he will marry, she to whom a strand of blonde hair belongs. Tristan succeeds in his quest and returns to Marc’s kingdom with the bride-to-be. The story, of course, contains other complications as Tristan and Iseult have fallen in love and attempt to hide that from Marc and the other nobles. Boccaccio in the Decameron gives us another tale of compelled marriage, that of Gualtieri, the Marquis of Saluzzo whose main interests were hunting and hawking. Again it is the vassals who want him to marry and indeed offer to find him a wife so that he might have an heir and they a lord after his death. Gualtieri agrees but only if there be no objections from his vassals—“no matter whom [he chooses].”23 Griselda, the daughter of a peasant, is his choice and from there the tale recounts his many tests of her to prove her worthiness. What is significant in both of these tales is that it is a man who is compelled to marry, reflecting the anxiety created by men who vary from the norm. Predictably we think of young women who are controlled by their fathers, brothers, or uncles and forced into a marriage into which they have no input. And indeed, court records support the latter. In fourteenth-century Italy, court records show fathers forcing their children into a betrothal, but such records of complaints almost exclusively have female plaintiffs. All the same, Corinne Weiben has shown in the examination of trials before the episcopal court in Lucca that young men could be forced to marry against their will. She has also demonstrated that these cases appear to suggest a different pattern than the one typical in medieval Italian marriages, a man who like Gualtieri was typically significantly older than his bride. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber in her study of Tuscany, noted that age difference between a young bride and her husband, was particularly marked in urban settings, so much so that he might appear to be “a terrifying stranger.”24 The cases Weiben found handled the sons not unlike daughters, as pawns in the process. Weiben explains: “When a young man found himself subject to the plans and negotiations of his family, especially his mother or stepmother, he occupied a uniquely liminal position between youth and adulthood: male but not yet in full possession of masculine autonomy.”25 In one case seventeen-year-old Dino di Lemo Baroncelli claimed that his father beat him into submission when as an eleven-year-old he refused the betrothal. His betrothed also refused at first but finally consented. To plea coercion and have it be a successful strategy depended upon establishing that he was not yet free of parental control.26 Further analysis reveals a marriage pattern for fourteenth-century Italy suggesting a small number of couples less disparate in age and, by extension, possibly less disparate in status within the household. This differs deeply from the model of powerful older grooms who might easily dominate their much younger brides, frequently described by scholars of medieval Italian marriage.

Impediments: Incest The nature of marriage under canon law was such that a valid marriage, properly contracted, was indissoluble. Canon law also posited that not all unions should be possible and prescribed various regulations to prevent them. Impediments were either

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diriment or prohibitive. The latter recognized the validity of a marriage that existed despite its irregularity. A diriment impediment would prevent an individual from contracting a marriage and would render any such marriage contract invalid. Of all the diriment impediments, incest, which included not only consanguinity but also affinity by marriage and by illicit intercourse as well as the categories of public honesty and spiritual affinity, is the most productive for understanding the constraints on medieval marriage. Roman civil law forbade marriages within the fourth degree of consanguinity; canon law followed but by the ninth century, a revision in the method of counting increased the number of excluded degrees to seven. One does not need to enter into the details of how these degrees were calculated to recognize that the number of forbidden marriages increased exponentially. As noted earlier, the Fourth Lateran Council decreased the number of degrees from seven to four, going back to the original Roman notion of consanguinity. Constance Bouchard disputes Georges Duby’s affirmation “that in the late tenth and eleventh centuries there were two separate and conflicting ‘models’ of marriage, the ecclesiastical and the noble, and that the nobility preferred endogamous unions which preserved family property.”27 She argues convincingly that “many nobles were acutely aware of the question of incest when arranging a marriage. Faced with a choice between defying the church’s position and finding spouses to whom they were not related, the nobles of the tenth and eleventh centuries generally took the latter course.” 28 Endogamy, then, was not regularly practiced by nobles; rather they appear to have avoided consanguineous marriages despite the advantages that many of them would have brought to the family.29 Bouchard asserts that they typically “never married anyone related more closely than a fourth or fifth cousin—that is, someone related within five or six degrees—and here it may be argued that they were simply unaware of their relationship.”30 One way to avoid marrying someone within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity—be they four or seven—was through a list of relatives. The Synod of Ingelheim in 948 urged Christians to create such a list: “Beware above all lest any Christian marry a woman related to him, but this type of union may be avoided when a list of ancestors can be recorded.”31 While not all nobles would have immediately heeded this, such lists and tables of affinity did become relatively common (Figure 1.4). Avoiding endogamy was not always a simple matter, given the limited pool of available spouses from which these alliances were made. Consequently these restrictions were sometimes violated. While this occurrence was more frequent among members of the aristocracy, the same was true among peasants as well. Among the royals the difficulty of finding an acceptable spouse who was not too closely related was especially acute. The Capetians, for example, found this problem nearly insurmountable. There were only two alternatives. They could ignore the prohibitions, which created its own set of problems since such marriages could be declared illegal. Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine, for example, were related at the fourth degree. Yet the prohibition was not raised at the time of their marriage. The level of consanguinity only came into play when that marriage was annulled, allowing Eleanor to marry Henry II of England. Another option to avoid being constrained by the question of incest consisted in marrying someone from a lower rank, and thus uniting different levels of the nobility through marriage. That alternative could in many cases strengthen the possibilities of the higher ranking noble by expanding family ties and loyalties but would, of course, result in also expanding the number of prohibited spousal choices by affinity through marriage.

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FIGURE 1.4  Table of Affinity, c. 1170. © Getty Open Content Program via Wikimedia Commons.

Judaic traditions Judaic practices follow a timeline at once outside and concurrent with those of Christianity. They existed centuries before Christianity and derived primarily from Talmudic law. Yet they coexisted with Christians in Byzantium and Western Christendom during the medieval period. Unlike Christian communities, neither celibacy nor the convent was an option for the Jewish population. Marriage was a cultural expectation of all members of the community. Mishnah Kiddushim I specifies

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that a woman is acquired—i.e., how one gets a wife—in three ways: money, a document, or sexual intercourse. All three of these elements would normally be present in the marriage process. The nuptial ritual consisted of a prayer of address, the groom putting a ring on the first finger of the bride’s right hand, a reading of the marriage contract (ketubah), followed by the seven blessings. The shushvin was a person who helped make the match between the families. In the earlier period he had a number of roles: he gave the couple a gift, served as a vouchsafe for the bride’s virginity, and took part in the ceremony. These practices would be modified and expanded throughout the medieval period.32 In medieval Jewish society acquiring a wife consisted of three steps: the engagement (shidduknin), the betrothal (erusin or qiddushin), and the marriage (huppah or nissuin). The engagement was not associated with any religious practices; rather it was a secular agreement forged by the parents of the couple. Among the Ashkenazi Jews, beginning in the twelfth century a professional matchmaker was sometimes involved in the process. The preengagement practice could be considered a type of courtship but it is not between the couple; rather it is between the families. Twelfth-century sources also mention the shushvinim. Typically there were two, one for each side, and they would lead the groom to the wedding.33 Despite its presence in the halakhic laws (collective laws in the Jewish tradition), the notion of willing consent that plays such a major role in the Christian tradition is often ignored in Jewish marriages, especially regarding the daughter. She was expected to accept the choice of her father. Records from southern Italy show that occasionally a father might betroth his daughter to a man he met on a business trip, without informing the daughter or other members of the family.34 Grossman suggests two possible reasons for the disregard of halakhic law concerning consent. First, the age of the couple involved could have influenced the decision not to ask for consent since frequently the two parties were typically still children, with marriage at twelve or thirteen. Second the social and economic standing of the family would dictate who would be considered an acceptable match. The tena’im (literally “conditions”) was a contract formalized at the engagement, typically including the date and place of the marriage, the couple’s future housing, and any financial agreements as well as the bride’s dowry.35 The betrothal and the marriage were eventually collapsed into a single ceremony, perhaps for economic reasons as Rashi, the eleventh-century French rabbi and Talmudic commentator, suggested. Each segment was supposed to take place publicly, with guests from the community, and that included festive meals. Grossman adds another possible reason for combining the betrothal and the wedding: travel on the groom’s part. The groom may have left on a business trip, leaving his betrothed, a so-called “chained wife,” for a lengthy period. A dissolution of a betrothal required a divorce (get) while an engagement could be dissolved without divorce. In some agreements, there was a stipulation for financial penalties to be imposed upon the party breaking the engagement.36 Once the date of the marriage ceremony arrived and prior to the wedding procession, the bride would go to a ritual bath (mikvah), escorted by other single women. The marriage was celebrated before witnesses but notably it was not until the fourteenth century that a rabbi was required. A description of a fourteenth-century wedding in Mainz provides a glimpse into the ceremonial practices. The whole community was invited to the wedding. The public nature of the wedding ritual recognized the new

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status of the individuals as a married couple, with different roles and responsibilities within their community. The leaders took the bridegroom, with music and candles, to the court of the synagogue; then the musicians and candle-bearers brought the bride with her friends and an escort of women. At the door of the synagogue the groom took the bride‘s hand, while the two were showered with wheat and coins (given afterward to the poor), and Ps. cxlvii. 14, and later Gen. i. 28 (“Be fruitful, and multiply”), were recited as a greeting; after this they sat for a short time, hand in hand, on the bench in front of the synagogue. Then the bride was escorted home, where she put on the festive robe of the married, and under it the shroud (“sargenes”). The groom also modified his festive appearance by drawing the hood (“gugel”) over his head, which he strewed with ashes … With this sign of mourning for Zion even at the height of human felicity, belonged in Talmudic times another—the breaking of a glass, the pieces of which were gathered up by girls “for luck.” … As soon as the groom had sat down beside the Ark of the Law, the morning prayer began, after which the bride was led with music to the door of the synagogue; thence she was escorted by the rabbi and the elders of the community to the bemah … Bride and groom were covered with the ṭallit, or with the long end of the groom‘s gugel, and wedded. … Then the groom was escorted home, and after him the bride, whom he met at the door and as she entered he placed her hand on the upper post, thus making her the mistress of the house. The wedding-festival proper, in the bride‘s house, did not begin until the evening; it lasted until Sunday morning … On returning home the groom handed to his young wife his mantle, girdle, and hat to signify that she shared his property.37 These rituals recall the Christian one from the same period and as Esther Cohen and Elliot Horowitz have argued, the increasing role of religious authorities marks both cultures: The most clearly discernible similarity between Jewish and Christian wedding rituals is the process of sacralization. This process can be seen in the growing popularity among the Jews of Christian Europe of a wedding blessing that explicitly presents marriage as an agent of sanctity: “Blessed art Thou … Who sanctifies Israel by means of huppah and kiddushin” (marriage and betrothal).38 Although not all authorities agreed with the substance of this text, it did enter into ceremonies in Provence, Italy, northern France, and Germany and would, by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, be found in Spanish sources as well. Other characteristics in the marriage process that support this idea of sacralization include: the timing of the ceremony beginning on Friday and moving into Saturday, linking the wedding to the Sabbath; the use of ritual objects; its spatial setting (the synagogue); and the recourse to a sacral officiant. The latter two elements are especially prevalent in Germanic lands: the rabbi served as the officiant and the ceremony was held in the synagogue. “The performance of the wedding on the Sabbath endowed it with a special dimension, for the Sabbath was utterly separate from weekday reality in all aspects (food, clothes, etc.) and entailed the concomitant sense of a separate selfhood.”39 Further, the donning of the tallith (prayer shawl) by the groom for the first time became customary in Provence, northern France, and also part of Germany. The tallith itself became a canopy under which the couple made their vows during the marriage (Figure 1.5).40

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FIGURE 1.5  Marriage, Haggadah, Vienna. © Alamy Stock Photo.

(Courtly) Love and marriage Love or affection between the couple was rarely a part of the equation when considering marriage, especially among the nobility. Occasionally, however, there were love matches, frequently as the result of non-consent by one of the parties to the proposed spouse. Clandestine marriages, made outside of parental consent, too, were based on the couples attraction. The secret aspect also meant there could be no objections raised. Consequently they lacked many of the other ceremonial and practical aspects (betrothal, dowry, etc.) but they were still legal, especially if consummated. Peasants were more likely to marry out of mutual attraction since the political and financial aspects of the marriage contract were of little concern to them, as they lacked both property and wealth. While “real life” examples of true affection within a couple exist, much of the literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, implicitly and explicitly deals with the question of reconciling love and marriage or the alternative, adulterous love, the latter perhaps as a reaction to arranged marriages. A literary thematic developed that focused on love, the idealization of woman, and the efforts of a young, unmarried man to gain her affection. The theme first appeared in the works of Provençal poets, the troubadours, and then in chivalric romances, usually associated with King Arthur and his court. The terms “courtship” and “romance” commonly associated with marriage have their origin in these texts. The most famous, or perhaps more appropriately, infamous couples—Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan and Iseut—are found in tales of adultery. Not all courtly literature follows that pattern. The twelfth-century anonymous French chantefable Aucassin and Nicolette offers one version of love versus parental authority by positing that a young man might disagree with the choices and restrictions placed upon his future spouse. Aucassin has fallen in love with Nicolette, a Sarasen captive, whom he wants to marry. His family is against the match: “Son … I’d rather be poor and have lost all my wealth rather than to have her for your wife and spouse.”41 After a series of adventures, the two are united and marry. Aucassin and Nicolette, while still within the courtly tradition, offers the triumph of love in a non-adulterous setting. Chrétien de

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Troyes’ romances also offer examples of couples for whom love will be a component of their marriage. Notable is Erec and Enide, a text considered the first Arthurian romance. Enide’s reaction to her father’s entrusting her to Erec is telling: “She was overjoyed and pleased to be presented to him, for he was courteous and brave, and she realized that he would be king and she herself would be honored and crowned a powerful queen.”42 Yvain, the eponymous protagonist of Yvain or the Knight of the Lion, marries Laudine and finds such delight in their union that he neglects his duties as a knight in Arthur’s court. How this literature figured into the reality of male–female relations at that time is more difficult to assess. Andreas Capellanus even composed a manual, The Art of Courtly Love, explaining the nature of love and offering advice to men on how to successfully court a woman, complete with sample dialogues, reflection interactions of various social classes, for example, nobleman and noblewoman, nobleman and middle-class woman, middle-class man and noblewoman, etc.43 Duby offers a credible, if idealistic, explanation for the influence of courtly literature on prenuptial relations. He reminds us: “After an engagement was concluded, it was deemed proper for the young lady to receive the amorous attention of her betrothed, who, before taking possession of her body on the wedding night, little by little would win her heart.”44 The possibility of affection and love, then, began slowly to be associated with marriage.

CONCLUSION Over the course of the nearly one thousand years that constitute the medieval period, marriage moved from being primarily a secular institution, a contract between consenting adults, to one that was influenced and regulated by religious institutions. By the end of the period in Judaism and in Eastern and Western Christianity, the participation of the clergy in the marriage ceremony had become the norm and within Christianity marriage had been recognized as a sacrament. Distinctions existed as well, notably Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy allowed for divorce while in Catholicism marriage was indissoluble. Families played an important role in arranging marriages and through marriage new kinship networks were formed. Marriage also marked a transition in the status of the couple in its community. Rituals associated with the marriage process varied by region, although there were many commonalities among the religions. Finally, it is also by the end of this period that the marriage rites that were established are essentially those which exist today within each religion.

CHAPTER TWO

Religion Theology, Symbolism, and Sacrament in Medieval Marriage LINE CECILIE ENGH

Early Christians probably married in similar ways to non-Christians. A wedding remained a largely secular or domestic affair—as it had been in Jewish tradition and in Roman society—until well after the Carolingian period.1 Some scholars have even claimed that during the first millennium CE there was no such thing as a “Christian marriage,” only more or less Christian brides and bridegrooms.2 Nevertheless, since the patristic period Christian writers strove to reconcile the sacred and sanctifying aspects of marriage with its secular and carnal dimensions, especially procreative and sexual functions.3 This chapter outlines how marriage acquired a specifically Christian identity distinct from its non-Christian origins during the Latin Middle Ages. Our main concern in the current chapter is how this Christianized concept of marriage shaped the identities of medieval Christians—both male and female, cleric and lay. A wide group of bishops, canonists, and theologians reinterpreted and reframed the concept of marriage in the Middle Ages. These unmarried and (presumably) sexually inactive men hammered out standards and principles for marital behaviors in theory in treatises and in practice in ecclesiastical courts. Monks and friars explained and expounded on the symbolic value of marriage in their sermons. And all of them used nuptial imagery to describe the union between Christ and the church. The marriage of Christ and the church became a central metaphor and provided the basis for the inclusion of marriage among the sacraments of the church. Moreover, Christ’s mystical union with the church was the paradigm for other “spiritual marriages” in the Middle Ages. A spiritual marriage usually involved a celibate person—such as a nun, a consecrated virgin, a priest, or a bishop—who was understood to be “married” either to the bridegroom Christ or to a particular diocese or parish. Marriage, as it were, was a structuring frame, even for those men and women who chose not to enter into it. There were two critical periods in the Christianization of marriage in the premodern period. The first phase took place in the late fourth and early fifth centuries, just outside the timeframe covered in the present volume, and contrasted the status of married persons in the church with those who practiced celibacy or sexual continence. Patristic debates over celibacy and marriage will be treated here only insofar as they set the scene for our discussion of texts composed within the time period covered by this volume. The

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second phase coincided with the period of the Gregorian church reforms in the eleventh and twelfth centuries when a new understanding of the twin institutions of marriage and celibacy were established, the former founded on indissolubility and sacramental doctrine, the latter on concepts of clerical distinctiveness and sexual purity. Interpretation is not the same as implementation, just as legal prescriptions are not descriptions of actual behavior. This chapter discusses theory—ecclesiastical doctrine, theological speculation, exegesis—rather than practice. There is little doubt, however, that the interpretations of theologians, canonists, clerics, and bishops did have a deep impact on society, although the church’s virtual monopoly over issues related to marriage in the High Middle Ages was not uncontested in practice throughout all layers of society.4

THE BIBLICAL AND PATRISTIC BACKGROUND Much of ecclesiastical teaching on marriage revolved around the interpretation of a limited number of biblical texts. However, both these texts and their interpretations were often confusingly multi-vocal, if not outright contradictory. Jesus spoke out strongly against divorce in the synoptic Gospels (e.g., Mk 10:11–12), and medieval canonists frequently cited the text “what therefore God has joined together let no man put asunder” (Mk 10:9) in favor of marriage. But Christ also preached against marriage and family (e.g., Lk. 18:29–30).5 Matthew 19:12 refers approvingly to those “who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven,” which early Christian exegetes took as an allegorical reference to celibates.6 In the same manner, they took Luke 20:35–36 as confirmation of the close connection between celibacy and angelic life: “But they that shall be accounted worthy of that world, and of the resurrection from the dead, shall neither be married, nor take wives. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”7 Spurred on by their belief that the end of the world was imminent, Paul and other early Christian writers discouraged fellow Christians from marrying and starting families.8 This approach was in sharp contrast to contemporary rabbinic Judaism and to God’s call to all creatures to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:22). Early Christianity was riddled with tensions between Jewish procreative ideals and ascetic ideals of sexual renunciation. The most emphatic praise of celibacy in the New Testament is found in the Pauline letters. In the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul wedged marriage into a tight, discursive space between the perdition of fornication and the apotheosis of abstinence. It is “better to marry,” Paul conceded, “than to burn” (1 Cor. 7:9), but his endorsement of marriage was reluctant to say the least. According to Paul—and patristic and medieval readings of Paul—marriage was good insofar as it offered a solution to burning desire or illicit sexual pleasure (Lat. fornicatio, Gr. porneia). But marriage was second-rate compared to celibacy. Another influential text came from the Hebrew Bible. The creation story in Genesis recounted that Eve was created from Adam’s rib and then concludes: “a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh [duo in carne una]” (Gen. 2:24). This verse served as the proof-text for what became the common medieval interpretation: that marriage was instituted in Paradise. For medieval theologians, matrimony was sanctified in the creation story and its place in human salvation was confirmed in the New Testament when Christ performed his first miracle at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2:1–11).

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Genesis 2:24 became the most frequently quoted biblical text in theological discussions of marriage in the first Christian millennium. By 1100, however, another biblical text took its place as primary point of reference, emerging as proof-text for the sacramental doctrine of marriage: the fifth chapter of the Letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians 5.31 quotes Genesis 2:24—“they shall be two in one flesh”— and continues: “This is a great sacrament [Lat. sacramentum, Gr. mysterion]; but I speak in Christ and in the Church” (Eph. 5:32). Ephesians 5 thus established a direct connection and a correspondence between marriage and the union of Christ and church. It is significant that Ephesians 5 uses marriage metaphorically but also speaks of real husbands and wives. Medieval commentaries to this text thus wavered back and forth between allegorical and literal discussions of marriage. Indeed, Ephesians 5 was the only biblical text which was equally important to marriage theology as to marriage symbolism. These two strands of thought generally moved along two different trajectories, and therefore

FIGURE 2.1  Christ as bridegroom and the church as bride, initial O from the Song of Songs. Bible of Alard, late eleventh century. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images 142084032.

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it is not easy to determine their relation or influence on each other, a point to which we will return later in this chapter. Suffice to say that while the medieval understanding of marriage as a sacrament of (i.e., signifying) Christ and the church was dependent on Ephesians 5:31–32, the understanding of, conversely, Christ’s union with the church or with an individual believer as a marriage drew on many different biblical texts besides Ephesians 5: the eschatological wedding of Revelation (Rev. 19:8–9 and 21:9), Paul’s description of the Corinthian community as a chaste virgin betrothed to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2), allusions to Christ as a bridegroom in the parables (Mk 2:19, Mt. 22:1–4 and 25:1–13), Israel seen as the Lord’s female lover (Isa. 62:4–5, Jer. 2:2, Ezek. 16), and, preeminently, the Song of Songs, an Old Testament poem steeped in imagery of kisses, embraces, and sensual longing between a man and a woman. The two protagonists in the Song of Songs—the (male) “beloved” and the (female) “betrothed”—were interpreted by both Jewish and early Christian exegetes as a “bride” and a “bridegroom.” Allegorical interpretations of sexual unions and marriages in biblical stories were undergirded by the New Testament’s emphases on celibacy and ascetic impulses from Hellenistic philosophy which combined to produce a highly ambivalent Christian discourse on marriage. Most Christian writers understood sexual union to be a central aspect in marriage.9 However, the unconsummated marriage of Mary and Joseph presented a problem. The marriage of Mary and Joseph either had to be taken as incomplete or as an ideal to be imitated, and thus risked promoting an ideal of marriage in which married couples should behave as if they were not.10

FIGURE 2.2  Giotto, Marriage of the Virgin, c. 1305. © The Picture Art Collection / Alamy Stock Photo.

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While procreation continued to be of concern to the compilers of marriage laws of the Christianized Roman Empire, the Latin fathers considered that the time for generating children had passed. In their view marriage functioned as a remedy for sin.11 These inherent tensions triggered fierce debates, which later became known as the Jovinian controversy. Jovinian (d.c. 405) and his followers believed that marriage and celibacy were equally meritorious. Jovinian was opposed by a powerful alliance headed by Pope Siricius (r.384–399), Ambrose of Milan (d.397), and Jerome (d.420).12 This formidable alliance won the day and condemned Jovinian’s views as heretical at synods in Rome and Milan in 393. However, soon after the goodness of marriage was resolutely affirmed by Augustine (d.430), who attempted to find a middle way between the two extremes. Augustine asserted that married life—including marital sex, or at least procreative sex— had its proper place in the life of the church, although it ranked lower than the celibate vocations.13 “A humble virgin is better than a humble matron,” he claimed, “but a humble matron is better than a proud virgin.”14 Augustine proposed three reasons for the goodness of marriage, which were picked up by canonists and exegetes in the High Middle Ages. The first two are not very remarkable, and merely reflect and recycle ancient Roman ideas. The third, however, was a novel interpretation of Ephesians 5:32, in which—without any foundation in the biblical text itself—Augustine associated the term sacramentum with indissolubility: This, then, is the triple [good of marriage]: faithfulness, offspring, and sacrament. Faithfulness requires that there be no going to bed with another man or woman out of the bond of wedlock; offspring requires that it be acknowledged in love, nourished in kindness, brought up in religion; but sacrament requires that the spouses do not separate, and that no divorced man or woman can be joined to another even for the sake of offspring.15 Augustine repeatedly affirmed that non-Christians marry and divorce at will, whereas indissolubility in marriage—as required by his interpretation of sacramentum—is to be found only in the church.16 Augustine used the term sacramentum from Ephesians 5:32 to provide the foundation for a distinctly Christian interpretation of marriage. Significantly, his interpretation was symbolical in character and founded on the analogy between human marriage and the union between Christ and church, as Philip Reynolds points out: Augustine believes that God made marriage indissoluble so that it might symbolize the union between Christ and Church … the little sacrament (i.e., the marriage bond) is a sacrament of the great sacrament (i.e., the mystery of the inseparable union between Christ and the Church). Indissolubility is the salient feature of the comparison and the point of assimilation, although there is little in the fifth chapter of the Ephesians to suggest this.17 In Augustine’s analysis, the marriage of two Christians symbolized the union of Christ and church, a holy and perpetual union. By implication, marriage between Christians was indissoluble, too. Marriage was not invented by Christians; it was already there. But, Augustine argued, marriage in the church was infinitely different from marriage among non-Christians: marriage was indissoluble in the church but impermanent outside it.18

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MARRIAGE AND CHURCHMEN IN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES Augustine’s ideas about marriage had little influence in the pre-Carolingian world. It was not until the reform movements of the eleventh and twelfth centuries that Europe felt the full impact of marriage as a “sacrament” and as the signification of the union between Christ and church. Some modern scholars have assumed that Roman marriage legislation became subject to Christian principles under the rule of the Christian emperors, who proceeded to toughen the laws on adultery, bigamy, and divorce.19 Others hold an opposing view and suggest that Roman legislation had “nothing in common with the dogmatic basis of the Christian view of marriage” and that Christianity hardly influenced Roman law in the early Middle Ages.20 But Reynolds has taken a fresh approach to this problem and cautions scholars not to assume that the church’s views of marriage had a “dogmatic basis.”21 In his analysis attitudes among Christians in late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages—emperors and civil legislators, bishops and theologians—were far from consistent. Christian legislators did their best to bring marriage laws into line with Christian teaching, but they were less interested in the dogmatic questions that engaged Tertullian, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine. Instead they turned to civil welfare and jurisprudence.22 A case in point was the vital issue of divorce and remarriage. Augustine and other Latin patristic writers followed the injunctions of Jesus (in Mk 10:11–12) and taught that divorce could only be granted on the grounds of adultery—and even then they did not permit remarriage while both spouses were still alive. According to their interpretation, a divorced couple remained married and therefore any new spousal relationship would mean that a divorced spouse committed adultery. Their position was in stark contrast to the codes issued by the Christian emperors. Emperor Justinian (r.527–565) may have abolished divorce by mutual agreement, yet he confirmed the laws that allowed legal repudiation for a variety of reasons (e.g., adultery or lewd behavior, impotence, attempted murder of the spouse, and entry into religious life). But while divorce without good cause was illicit and carried a penalty, usually financial, it was still a divorce in the modern sense which dissolves a legal marriage and leaves either spouse free to remarry.23 In no sense did Justinian’s laws even hint at indissolubility of the marriage bond. Novel 22 from 536 CE states this in unambiguous terms: “in human affairs, whatever is bound can be dissolved.”24 The crux of the issue is that Christians in late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages simply did not conceive of marriage as belonging solely to the religious sphere.25 Bishops and theologians had insisted on the difference between God’s law and the secular law of marriage since the patristic period.26 Indeed, throughout the medieval period—and this is true even after the clerical takeover of marriage—Christian marriage was both religious and secular. Although bishops might use ecclesiastical tribunes and penitentiary sanctions to enforce the prohibition of divorce and remarriage, the church in the patristic and early medieval period was not in a position to determine the secular consequences of marriage, such as inheritance. Not until around the twelfth century did civil jurisdiction become subordinate to the competence of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in matrimonial issues. Thus, prior to this, bishops might excommunicate and impose penance on a remarried person and they might declare the new marriage invalid while civil jurisdiction for all practical purposes regarded it as regular.27 Like their civil law counterparts, clerics never had one view of marriage, for the fathers had bestowed an ambivalent tradition on them.28 On the one hand, early medieval

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theological and canonical writers were steeped in a deep-seated skepticism toward the sexual act. They were mindful that Mary and Joseph never consummated their marriage and that continence could be profitably practiced by married couples. On the other hand, they acknowledged that “two in one flesh” implied and even presupposed sexual intercourse between husband and wife. Archbishop Hincmar of Reims (d.882) was the first to provide a consistent account of the role of sexual consummation in the formation of a marriage and he was the only writer before the twelfth century to attempt to propose a coherent theory of marriage which included nuptial benediction, consummation, civil agreements, and which considered factors such as the couple’s social status, paternal consent, and the dowry. In a letter regarding a notorious marriage case which involved Count Stephen of Auvergne, Hincmar stated:29 The true union of legitimate marriage occurs when, between free persons of equal rank, and with paternal consent, a free woman who has been legitimately endowed and honoured by public nuptials is joined to a man by sexual intercourse. It is then that marriage contains the sacrament of Christ and the Church and that the woman, in whom it is proved that there has been both sexual union and the nuptial mystery, is known to attain to matrimony.30 Like later theologians who emphasized coitus rather than the couple’s mutual consent, Hincmar was influenced by Genesis 2:24 / Ephesians 5:31 and the common association between “one flesh” and sexual union. This association was not just figural but literal. It was supported by contemporary physiological theory which assumed that sexual intercourse established a biological relationship of affinity. Thus a text attributed to Bruno the Carthusian (d.1101) elaborated on the “one flesh” of Ephesians 5:31: And regarding the force of this joining, in which [husband and wife] marvellously move into a unity of flesh, physicists say that if one were to take blood from a man and a woman who have had carnal relations and pour it together in a container, it would become indivisibly mixed. But if one were to take blood from a couple who had not had such relations, and likewise pour it together, it would not mix, but each would remain separate, as before they were poured together.31 From the ninth century the idea of the “one flesh” admitted the termination of marriage by reason of impotence to gradually find its way into collections of canon law (together with affinity or consanguinity, and, in some cases, adultery, disappearance or captivity, and entry into monastic life). But the inability to consummate a marriage was valid reason for annulment only when it was a permanent condition and the condition had not been divulged to the other party before the celebration of marriage. Because of the requirement that the condition be permanent, the church only allowed the healthy party to marry again.32 But this was not the end of the matter: mixed signals on the issue of divorce and remarriage emanated from decisions by synods and the papal curia. An early success for the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage came when Hincmar of Reims and Pope Nicholas I (r.858–867), both hardliners regarding the question of indissolubility, managed to frustrate attempts by the Carolingian King Lothar II (r.855–869) to divorce his wife Theutberga in order to legitimize his marriage to Waldrada. But in general royal and noble marriages continued to be dissolved during and after the Carolingian period.33 Thus, during the ninth and tenth centuries, a massively growing body of episcopal decrees and rulings, canons from synods and councils, penitentials, and compilations

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of patristic writers became not only inconsistent but near unmanageable.34 Despite the early success of men such as Hincmar and Pope Nicholas I, ecclesiastical authorities had neither a common concept of marriage nor an exclusive competence in marriage matters. Indeed, no single, widely agreed upon model of marriage—lay or clerical—existed in this period.35 This would soon change.

THE CLERICAL TAKEOVER OF MARRIAGE During the course of the twelfth century ecclesiastical courts and authorities effectuated what some scholars call the “clerical takeover” of marriage, which reserved the right to decide which unions were and were not legitimate and valid for ecclesiastical judicial bodies.36 The clerical takeover of marriage coincided and intersected with the great Gregorian church reforms. These reforms were not primarily concerned with the regulation of lay marriage, but they did introduce some features that had a decisive impact on the development of the institution. The Gregorian reforms produced a highly efficient centralized ecclesiastical organization which was structured as a hierarchy based on the distribution of the power of the pope. The twelfth century saw not only a rapid increase in the workload and competence of church courts and the extension of the papacy’s judicial power but also the systematization of canon law. With canonical collections

FIGURE 2.3  A couple being married by a clergyman, thirteenth century. © c. Chapter Archive of Tarazona. Spain PRISMA ARCHIVO / Alamy Stock Photo.

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FIGURE 2.4  Manuscript leaf with marriage scene (from Decretales Gregorii IX), c. 1300. Gift of Harry G. Friedman, 1955, Metropolitan Museum of Art 55.18.3 via Wikimedia Commons.

and commentaries such as Gratian’s Decretum (c. 1140), Huguccio’s Summa (c. 1190) and papal decretals by Alexander III (r.1159–81) and Innocent III (r.1198–1216), a harmonization of different positions and some sort of common ground was achieved. This resolution included the concurrent implementation in canon law of the key features of indissolubility, consent, and the simplification and stream-lining of the impediments of consanguinity and affinity. Significantly for our concerns, the reformers fought for an autonomous church—free from interference from lay authority—and this made them emphasize the boundary that separated the clergy from the laity and spiritual power from temporal power. Crucially, marriage became the demarcation line that redesigned, so to speak, the concept of Christian society in the High Middle Ages. Rather than the older social categories, such as the threefold division into aratores, oratores, and bellatores (those who plow, those who pray, and those who fight), the reformers envisioned a bifurcated social order consisting of the married, i.e., the lay population, and the celibates, i.e., the clergy or professionally religious, distinguished by their sexual purity.37 As Dyan Elliott has remarked, in order to preserve category distinctions between clerical and lay society, “a clerical celibate elite requires a copulating laity.”38 In effect, clerical celibacy and lay marriage were two sides of the same coin. Modern scholars are generally agreed that the Gregorian reforms were a driving force in the clerical takeover of marriage (or even a necessary condition). But since the 1970s they have argued over the motivation behind the church taking control of marriage. In an influential essay and a subsequent monograph Georges Duby proposed that during the twelfth century the interests of the aristocracy clashed with those of the church. Whereas the former regarded marriage as an important instrument for political alliances and consolidation of power, the latter sought to strengthen and assert its hold over secular society.39 Duby argued that the triumph of a centralized marriage regulation, directed by the papacy and the canonists represented the victory of a “clerical model of marriage”

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based on exogamy and indissolubility over an “aristocratic model” based on endogamy, easy divorce, and remarriage. Elaborating Duby’s thesis in a controversial book, Jack Goody suggested that the church pursued a conscious policy aimed at preventing profitable noble marriages and weakening noble families, in order to allow the church to obtain their property. In evidence of this Goody pointed to the unprecedentedly broad definition of consanguinity developed by medieval clerics and canonists. All relations up to the seventh degree (reduced to the fourth degree at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215) were forbidden as marriage partners, and this included not only blood relations but also the kin of a spouse, a former spouse, and even all former sexual partners (who were related by affinitas) as well as the kin of formal spiritual relations (cognatio spiritualis), for example godparents.40 Although Duby’s and Goody’s theses go some way in explaining an otherwise puzzling and laborious system of impairments, there are several problems with these models. First, they presuppose a clearly delineated and defined institution—“the Church”—with shared, coherent goals and tactics. But medievalists have warned against assuming such coherence. As Constance Bouchard observed, most ecclesiastical leaders were “themselves the brothers and cousins of secular nobles, more favourably disposed to their interests than otherwise.”41 More importantly still, what we call “the Church” in the Middle Ages was a large, diffuse, diverse and above all mystical and all-encompassing entity, which neither in practice nor in contemporary theory fits in with assumptions of an institution which acted in covert, coordinated ways.42 Second, there is no evidence that clerics and churchmen ever reasoned along the lines proposed by Duby and Goody.43 Third, competence in matters of inheritance fell under civil, not ecclesiastical jurisdiction and thus could not be relied upon to enrich the church.44 Finally, more generally, historians have questioned the very existence of two conflicting models. Positing that reality was messier than Duby allowed for, they call attention instead to a more complicated interplay between shared convictions, common interests and opportunism on the part of both clergy and nobles.45 When medievalists speak of the clerical takeover of marriage, they usually refer to legal control over the formation and the validity of a marriage, divorce, and the inherent obligations of the spouses.46 What transpired was one way—but by no means the only way—of Christianizing or taking control of marriage. Another trajectory might have been to stress the nuptial liturgy or recognize as legitimate only marriages joined by a priest, as in the Byzantine East, where church blessings developed in the early Middle Ages “first as a desirable, then an obligatory factor in legalizing marriage.”47 In the Latin West, on the other hand, it was not until the ninth century that it occurred to anyone to claim that it was necessary that a priest be present to bless the bridal couple. Indeed, even when twelfth-century clerical reformers found it desirable that people were married in facie ecclesiae (in the presence of the church), their role was still undermined by the fact that no ecclesial and priestly intervention was required to make the marriage legally binding. The Fourth Lateran Council prohibited clandestine marriages in 1215, but these marriages were still valid in law and bound the parties with the bonds of matrimony, even if their union was sinful and illicit. Such was the situation until the Council of Trent rendered clandestine marriages null and void in 1563.48 One of the most startling aspects of medieval marriage was the insistence among the majority of theologians, canonists, and clerics that a legally binding and indissoluble marital union required neither a nuptial blessing, nor a public ceremony or announcement, nor the presence of a priest, witnesses, or relatives, nor the consent of others, such as parents,

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nor a dowry or other formalities. The sole requisite for a marriage to acquire validity was the couple’s (oral) exchange of mutual consent, after which the marriage became fully effective and irreversible, except if one of the partners decided to take monastic vows prior to sexual consummation. Once the union was sexually consummated, however, it could no longer be dissolved, even on the grounds of entry into religious life.49 Clearly, the theological emphasis on consent alone (solus consensus) went against the church’s own best interests as it severely limited ecclesiastical control over marriage.50 This alone complicates any recourse to easy assumptions about “the Church” pursuing strategies of mere power play. Medieval clerics, canonists, and theologians certainly did not wish to encourage clandestine marriage, but they reluctantly accepted that such marriages were valid. Broadly speaking, medieval societies were affected in two principal ways as the church took control over marriage. On the one hand, marriage became more easily available to the great numbers of the poor and unfree, rather than reserved for the privileged and free members of society.51 Unions that had previously not been regarded as marriages, either because of the spouses’ unequal social status, the lack of formal or public ceremony, or resistance from household authorities, came to be recognized as valid marriages by ecclesiastical courts. Pope Hadrian IV’s decretal Dignum est (1155) made status irrelevant to marriage and decreed that unfree people were free to marry without the consent of their lords. The principle of solus consensus further undermined parental and feudal control over marital unions. On the other hand, some unions that formerly had enjoyed marital or quasi-marital status were pushed outside of the margins of marriage—borrowing a phrase from Ruth Karras, they became “unmarriages.” Among these were priests’ unions. In the course of the twelfth century clerical marriages went from illicit and punishable to invalid, that is, null and void.52 At the same time, medieval canon law continued the earlier restrictions according to which Christians could not contract valid marriages with Jews or other non-Christians.53 These marriages, if discovered, were pronounced void and the couple forced to separate, unless the non-Christian partner promised to accept baptism. In the case of cross-religious unions, all three major religious communities in the medieval Mediterranean area imposed severe restrictions. According to the authorities of either religion, Christians and Jews could not technically marry each other, while Islam recognized marriages between Muslim men and Christian or Jewish women, but not between Muslim women and Christian or Jewish men.54 Accordingly, with the centralization and standardization of matrimonial jurisdiction in the Latin West, marriage became more widely accessible and perhaps also more widespread but, notably, primarily among lay Christians.

MARRIAGE AS A SACRAMENT The clerical takeover of marriage coincided with the emergence of the doctrine of marriage as a sacrament. The sacramental doctrine of marriage took shape during the twelfth century, most notably in the writings of Hugh of St. Victor (d.1141) and Peter Lombard (d.1160). It became more fully articulated during the thirteenth century, especially by Thomas Aquinas (d.1274), although it was defined as a dogma of the faith only at the Council of Trent. The bedrock of the theology of marriage and the sacramental doctrine of marriage that developed was the view that marriage between a baptized man and

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woman was holy, that is, a sign of a sacred thing (signum sacrae rei). Medieval theologians and exegetes were in no doubt that this “thing” (res) was the union between Christ and his church. Peter Lombard explained that marriage “is both a sacred sign and a sign of a sacred thing [et sacrum signum est et sacrae rei], namely, of the union [coniunctionis] of Christ and the Church.”55 The union of Christ and the church was the point of departure and always fundamental to this doctrine. But what exactly marriage as a sacrament meant and how and when in the marriage process this occurred was a subject of lively debate among Latin theologians.56 By the mid-thirteenth century the consensus was that, like the other sacraments of the church, marriage conferred sanctifying grace. This again triggered new discussions because whereas a sacrament properly conferred what it signified, no marriage caused Christ to be united with the church. Moreover, the relationship between the sacrament and the thing that it signified (res) was more than figurative; whereas baptism was a figurative washing, and Eucharist a figurative meal, the sacrament of marriage really was a marriage.57 But ultimately what mattered—outside of a relatively restricted circle of professional theologians—was that “everyone understood the place of marriage in sacred history, in the hierarchical structure of the church, and in personal salvation, and that lay folk followed the rules and regulations of marrying.”58 The idea that marriage was a holy estate and a (lowly) way of participating in the life of the church was not new. It had been recognized by Augustine and early medieval writers. What was new was the conviction among theologians and ecclesiastical authorities that the sacrament of marriage consisted in the transient act of marrying rather than the permanent state of being married.59 This is to say that getting married, not being married, was included among the seven sacraments of the church. With this interpretation came a shift in perspective toward the doctrine of consent. The couple’s exchange of mutual consent constituted the sacrament, and this realization created a corresponding understanding of marriage as a single event rather than a long process involving many temporal stages—such as betrothal, dowry, the bridal procession, etc.60 Another novel aspect was the interpretation given to Ephesians 5. Writers prior to 1100 only rarely argued that carnal, human marriage should be interpreted as signifying the union between Christ and the church.61 But with the sacramental doctrine of marriage, and using the sacramentum magnum from Ephesians 5 as proof-text, theologians came to see the relation of Christ and the church to a man and woman marrying as exemplary: the model or paradigm that human marriage was supposed to emulate and embody.62 But rather than normative, the relation was prescriptive.63 Above all, seeing marriage as a sacrament provided the rationale for indissolubility. The doctrine of absolute indissolubility, ultimately derived from Augustine, set the Western church apart from Roman law, from Judaism and Islam, and even from Byzantine Christianity.64 Eastern theologians, like their Western colleagues, referred to marriage as a sacrament (mysterion)—following Ephesians 5. The Latin and the Greek Church shared the basic assumption of the church as the body and bride of Christ, through which all Christians participated liturgically and eschatologically in the spiritual nuptials with the divine bridegroom. But the two traditions diverged when considering what this entailed for real husbands and real wives. The main concern of Latin writers, especially in the twelfth century and beyond, was the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Canon law offered the possibility of “divorce from board and bed” (divortium a mensa et thoro) but not that of remarriage. Nevertheless, remarriage of widows and widowers was condoned, and theologians such as Thomas Aquinas argued that a second marriage

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had full sacramental value.65 The Byzantine Church endorsed a different interpretation of the sacramental value of marriage, one that centered not on absolute indissolubility but rather strict monogamy. Remarriage was strongly discouraged and subject to penitential discipline in the East, not only remarriage after divorce but even, in contrast to the Latin church, after the death of a spouse.66 However, indissolubility was not considered a legal requirement in Byzantine Christianity.67 Divorce was admitted and in certain cases even required (for instance after adultery). But unlike the Latin church in which couples joined themselves inseparably by vows, it was the priest who joined the spouses in the Byzantine Church. The juridical turning point here was Novel 89 issued by Emperor Leo VI in 895 which required a nuptial blessing by a priest without which a marriage among free persons would be null.68 Marriage in Byzantine Christianity appertained to the church— not so much to church law, as in the West, but rather to its pastoral and ritual aspects.69 As we have seen, it was Augustine who inextricably linked the sacramentum of Ephesians 5 to indissolubility in the West, although more as a posteriori rationale than a priori proof.70 Thomas Aquinas, for his part, used the premise that marriage was a sacrament of Christ and the church in Summa contra Gentiles to explain that marriage was indivisible and monogamous: Now since the union of husband and wife designates the union of Christ and the Church, the figure must correspond with that which it signifies [oportet quod figura significatio respondeat]. Now the union of Christ and the Church is a union of one [male] to another [female] [unius ad unam], and it is to last in perpetuity.71 Next Aquinas cited the Song of Songs 6:8 (“one is my dove, my perfect one”) and Matthew 28:20 (“behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world”) to establish exclusivity and indivisibility in Christ’s union to the church. From this he concluded: “Therefore, it is necessary that marriage insofar as it is a sacrament of the Church is a union of one [male] to one [female] [unius ad unam] which must be kept indivisibly.”72 Reynolds has suggested that the theology of marriage as sacrament served at least three purposes. First, it gave marriage an abstract and idealized framework. Second, it provided a rationale for the clerical takeover of marriage. Third, it grounded marriage in salvation history and offered the laity a precise identity in the church. The latter point is crucial. Marriage, Reynolds notes, “placed one squarely among secular Christians, for celibacy was the distinguishing trait of the spiritual elite, but marriage was more than a secular vocation … it was an order: a mode of participating in the life of the Church. It was inferior to the celibate and religious vocations, yet only in degree and not in kind.”73

CELIBACY AND METAPHORICAL MARRIAGES The church’s teaching on marriage stood in constant negotiation with its teaching on celibacy. As previously discussed, the categories of celibacy and marriage emerged to demarcate the boundaries separating clergy from laity. Clerical celibacy was enforced at the Lateran Councils in 1123 and, more decisively, in 1139. Again, like with the concept of absolute indissolubility, the Latin church’s interpretations diverged from those of the Jewish tradition and the Byzantine Church, neither of which envisioned celibacy for its priesthood. Rather than assuming that celibacy stood in direct counter-position to marriage, I would like to suggest that instead the two are best seen as deeply intertwined. Strikingly, the emergence of the sacramental doctrine of marriage and the clerical takeover coincides

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with a period of major elaboration of bridal and nuptial imagery to describe the celibate life. Christian writers from the eleventh century onwards used marriage metaphors extensively, especially in two intellectual areas. In the mystical theology predominant in monastic writing an individual believer, usually a monk or nun, was imagined in the role as bride of Christ to conceptualize his or her privileged relation to God. In the political theology predominant in clerical reform writing, a prelate (usually a bishop, abbot, or pope) was imagined in the role as bridegroom of his diocese or abbacy to assert ecclesiastical hierarchies and authority. The idea that an individual believer who had pledged himself or herself to God and entered a life of renunciation and sexual continence somehow contracted a spiritual marriage had ancient roots in Christianity. The rhetorical practice of naming Christian female virgins brides of Christ goes back to the early church. Conceptually reinforced by veiling ceremonies that were closely modeled on the Roman marriage ceremony, this rhetorical practice also allowed for female virgins—sometimes at odds with their families in rejecting marriage—to be reinserted within a recognizable domestic economy as someone’s wife.74 Quintessential brides of Christ such as Catherine of Alexandria (according to tradition, martyred in the fourth century) and Catherine of Siena (d.1380) were both depicted in the late Middle Ages as they received their wedding rings from Christ. In a letter to a nun in Pisa, Catherine of Siena described the wedding ring as Jesus’s foreskin: You see well that you are a bride and that he has espoused you—you and everyone else—and not with a ring of silver but with a ring of his own flesh. Look at that tender little child who, on the eighth day, when he was circumcised, gave up just so much flesh as to make a tiny circlet of a ring.75 But women did not have the monopoly over the title of bride of Christ. Above all, the church itself was envisioned as bride, and, indeed, by Catherine of Siena’s time, just about anyone (“you and everyone else”) could be a bride of Christ—male or female, virgin or married, monastic or lay—at least at the moment of contemplation of the divine.76 For alongside the practice of naming female consecrated virgins as brides of Christ—intertextually entangled with it, but distinct from it—ran an exegetical tradition reaching back to Origen of Alexandria (d.254) which interpreted the Song of Songs and other biblical texts with nuptial themes as an expression not just of the union between Christ and the church but, in a secondary sense, between Christ and the saintly soul.77 Medieval exegetes interpreted scripture both literally and spiritually, according to a hermeneutical scheme which proposed, in addition to the literal sense of the text, two or three spiritual levels of meaning as well: the allegorical sense, the tropological—or moral– sense, and the anagogical sense (which was sometimes understood to be contained in the allegorical sense). Thus Pope Innocent III proposed that there are actually four types of marriage, which correspond to the four levels of meaning in hermeneutics. The first type, corresponding to the historical sense of scripture, is the carnal marriage between a man and a woman. The second, the allegorical sense, is the marriage between Christ and the church. The third, the tropological sense, is the marriage between God and the just soul. Finally, the fourth, the anagogical sense, is the marriage between the Word and human nature in Christ.78 Tropological readings which elaborated on the soul (anima) longing for God as bride came into its own in the twelfth century as a monastic and devotional genre, especially with Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) and the Cistercians. The crucial shift that occurred

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FIGURE 2.5  Giovanni di Paolo, Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena, 1460s. © FineArt / Alamy Stock Photo.

in hermeneutics of the Song of Songs in the twelfth century lies in the emphasis on what Lubac coined “mystical tropology.”79 The Song, when read tropologically, provides language and imagery for representing the relation and prospective union between the soul-bride—regardless of whether it was male or female—and the divine bridegroom. In this sense, the shift from allegorical level (church) to tropological level (soul) in high medieval commentaries marks a more general exegetical shift: from engaging the Song with ecclesiology to engaging it with mystical theology. William of Saint-Thierry (d.1148/9), a Cistercian convert and close collaborator of Bernard of Clairvaux, drew an explicit parallel between “two in one flesh” (Gen. 2:24) and two in “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17) to describe the saintly soul’s mystical marriage: “Just as a wife is one flesh with her husband, so is the bride one spirit with God.”80 His friend Bernard elaborated the idea further, invoking the soul’s transformation into godlikeness by which she is admitted, as bride, into the bridegroom’s nuptial embrace.

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Characteristically, love—expressed by the Song’s sensual imagery—provides the unitive nuptials, whereby the two become “one spirit”: Such conformity weds the soul to the Word, for she shows that she is like him not only in her nature but in her will: loving as she is loved. If she loves perfectly, she is wedded. What is more delightful than this conformity? What might be more desirable than that love, o soul? … Truly this is a spiritual and saintly wedding contract. But I say too little, speaking of a contract: it is an embrace, where one single will makes of two one spirit.81 In his famous collection of sermons on the Song of Songs, Bernard passes beyond the notion of a mere vision of God (seeing God face to face) to imagine himself as kissing God, mouth to mouth: “And then, finally, after many prayers and tears, we might— perhaps—dare to raise our eyes to his glorious mouth, not merely to look upon him, but even—I say it with fear and trembling—to kiss him.” Performatively restaging the bride’s opening words from the Song of Songs, “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth” (Song 1:1), Bernard, as bride, cries out to the bridegroom Christ: “Suffused in the fullness of your light, in the fervour of my spirit, let me approach your mouth, your kiss; fill me with the joy of your presence!”82 Both Bernard and Catherine of Siena enacted the part of bride, appropriating biblical texts and roles that were deeply entrenched in medieval textual cultures. Thereby they established and negotiated their own identities and their status and authority within these cultures. By extension, they forged collective identities, too—respectively for male Cistercians and female Dominicans. The impact of the Song of Songs on the discourse of celibacy allowed the encounter with Christ the bridegroom to emerge as erotically desirable, while at the same time giving access to metaphors from the domains of marriage and household, such as motherhood, nurturance, and fecundity.83 In medieval canonical commentaries and in monastic rhetoric sacramental functions such as baptism and the Eucharist were increasingly conceived as birthing or as feeding and lactation.84 Not just female but male ecclesial authority figures, too, spoke of themselves as mothers to those in their care, fecundated by Christ, the bridegroom. Gender hierarchy was always intrinsic to marriage symbolism. When considering religious and monastic life as a marriage to Christ, medieval writers endorsed a vision of an exclusive, intimate, and mutual relationship to God characterized by strong elements of gender asymmetry, female submission, and male authority. Concepts which were culturally and ideologically embedded in marriage—such as gender, reproduction, household, and hierarchy—thus helped shape religious identities, devotional relations, and concepts of authority. Nowhere is this clearer than in writings on political theology that envisioned and ordered ecclesial and social power structures in terms of marriage and household metaphors. In the course of the Gregorian reforms nuptial imagery surfaced as a primary way of asserting episcopal power in the church and papal power in both church and society. In liturgical and canonical commentaries, the bishop, standing in Christ’s place, was understood to be married to his see.85 The spiritual marriage between a bishop and his diocese was not a fifth kind of marriage but rather an extension of the allegorical meaning of marriage—i.e, the marriage between Christ and the church—and envisioned the prelate or priest as vice Christi or vicar of Christ.86 Pope Innocent III took this idea further: in a sermon delivered on the anniversary for his consecration, Innocent launched

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the far-reaching and powerful idea that it was by his marriage to the Roman Church that every pope gained possession of the Petrine see, and thereby Christ’s commission of universal power.87 Innocent’s marriage symbolism is significant not only because it established the pope as bridegroom in Christ’s place but also because Innocent used the metaphor of marriage to conceptualize papal power, that is “the fullness of power” (plenitudo potestatis).88 By marrying the Roman Church, Innocent became one with her. This transformation turned him from a son into a father, and raised him from a position of subservience to dominance: A wondrous thing, that I who promised celibacy have contracted marriage. But this union does not hinder celibacy, nor does the fertility of this union take away the chastity of virginity. … Certainly, when I entered the marriage contract, the son led the mother into marriage; when I concluded the contract, the father had the daughter as wife.89 Here in these incestuously overlapping relations we find the full display of the rhetoric of the Gregorian reforms. The pope, positioned as bridegroom for the church, occupied a gendered space whereby he asserted authority both over clergy and laity (repositioned as “sons”) and over mother-church which Innocent repositioned as wife and daughter. Papal supremacy was thus worked into a familiar frame in Christian discourse, namely, the household. This reconfiguration of celibacy as fecundity, therefore, secured Innocent’s procreative role as the universal paterfamilias. Subsequent popes and papal supporters were still more assertive than Innocent III had been in their claims. Henry of Ghent, perhaps the most prominent figure at the Faculty of Theology in Paris in the generation after Thomas Aquinas, wrote: “Only the pope, the vice Christ, is the bridegroom of the universal church [sponsus universalis ecclesiae] by which he has universal power over all.”90 Around 1320, the Augustinian friar Augustinus of Ancona declared that “the pope is the sole bridegroom of the Church,” and, “the pope is the sole head of the whole Church.”91 Thereby, nuptial imagery was absorbed into the power language of Ephesians 5, with its notions of male authority and female submission, head and body. In this way marriage became a leading political metaphor in the later Middle Ages.92 The corporate head—whether pope, emperor, or prince—was to rule over the body politic as husband over wife, Christ over church. Imagery of marriage and household, provided by Ephesians 5, thus continued to influence western European culture and society even after the Middle Ages, reallocated to the sphere of secular power and domestic household ideology and its accompanying institutional structures.93

SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE AND LITERAL MARRIAGE. SYMBOLIC COGNITION IN THE MIDDLE AGES Yet is all of this anything but allegorical fancy or metaphors run amok? David d’Avray has argued forcefully that marriage symbolism became a significant social force in the Middle Ages and that the symbolic meaning of marriage stood in a causal relation to actual practice, shaping both the indissolubility rules in marriage and the so-called bigamy rules on priestly ordination. D’Avray refers to Pope Innocent III’s ruling in the marriage of King Peter of Aragon (r.1196–1213) and Maria de Montpellier as an example of symbolic reasoning which is difficult to explain in terms of Realpolitik.94 When he explained his decision to refuse the king divorce, Innocent explicitly linked the sacrament of human marriage to the three types of spiritual marriage:

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for the sacrament of marriage, which was established by the Lord in Paradise before sin, and is known to represent, beyond the fruit of the human race’s propagation, that ineffable sacrament of the union of Christ to holy Church, of God to the faithful soul, and of his word to human nature, as the Apostle witnesses, saying about good matrimony: But I speak of the great sacrament in Christ and the Church [Eph. 5:32].95 The principle of indissolubility was also behind Innocent III’s rulings in one of the most famous marriage cases in medieval history. The desperate attempts of King Philip II of France (r.1180–1223) to have his marriage with Ingeborg of Denmark annulled (first by reference to consanguinity, then to non-consummation) ended in failure and Philp’s near total humiliation.96 In d’Avray’s words, “[Innocent III] took the exalted idea of indissolubility out of the ivory tower and into the world of power politics.”97 From the thirteenth century it became increasingly difficult to obtain marriage annulments, except on the grounds that one of the parties was already married—“an exception,” claims d’Avray, “which proves the rule of indissolubility.”98 In the case of the “bigamy rules” (bigamus, “twice married”), d’Avray’s argument that marriage symbolism carried social impact appears even stronger than in the case of indissolubility.99 According to the bigamy rules, which regulated the ordination of widowers into the priesthood, a man who had been married to a widow was banned from ordination into priesthood; but had the wife been a virgin at their marriage, then there was no impediment. And again: a man who had been made widower twice could not become a priest—not even if both wives had been virgins. It should be added that it was completely legitimate to remarry after the death of a spouse—there was no moral problem in that. In fact, the problem was not moral but metaphorical. For these rules touch upon the underlying sacramental symbolism: the marriage between Christ and the church. If a man had been married twice or married to a woman who had been married twice, then sacramental symbolism was lacking—and so his union could not signify Christ’s union with the church: namely, two in one undivided flesh. This was an argument from a fierce church reformer of the eleventh century, Peter Damian (d.1072), which was repeated and elaborated by later canonists: For just like Christ … is the husband of one bride—that is, the whole holy Church, who undoubtedly is a virgin because she keeps her faith inviolably intact—just so every priest is required to be the husband of just one wife so that he can be seen to display the image of the highest bridegroom. With bigamists [i.e., remarried widowers] it is not that a crime is being punished, but that the mystical rule of priesthood [al. MS “sacrament”] be kept.100 The bigamy rules were confirmed in a ruling on a case by Pope Innocent III in 1206 which was incorporated into the Liber Extra of 1234 and remained in force until 1917. The case regarded a man who had married a widow who had never had sex with her first husband. The woman entered their marriage a virgin and died before him. The question was: could the man become a priest, or was he banned by the bigamy rule? This is Innocent’s answer: There are two things in marriage: the consent of minds and the intercourse of bodies. The former signifies the love in spirit between God and the just soul … The latter signifies the conformity of flesh between Christ and the Church … Therefore a marriage which is not consummated by the intercourse of bodies is not suited to signify the marriage which was contracted between Christ and the Church by the mystery of the incarnation.

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Here Innocent cites Genesis 2:24 / Ephesians 5:31–32: that “they shall be two in one flesh,” and that “this is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and the Church,” and then he rules: Therefore a man who marries a woman who has been married to another man without ever sleeping with him should not on this account be prevented from being elevated to the priesthood, since the woman did not divide her flesh into more than one part, and he did not do so either.101 This is an entirely imagistic reasoning, d’Avray agues; the image works causally. The metaphor is not offered as an explication, but as the reason for the verdict.102 The present decretal also had important implications for the rules on sexual consummation. It states that a non-consummated marriage symbolizes the marriage of Christ and the soul, whereas a consummated marriage symbolizes the marriage of Christ and the church. Just as spiritual marriage between God and the soul is soluble, wheras the sacramental union between Christ and the church is indissoluble, just so literal marriage is soluble before consummation (although only at the discretion of the pope and only if either party decided to take monastic vows) but indissoluble after consummation. But in what ways did theologians and exegetes imagine that the union between Christ and church was connected to the union between a man and a woman? And how was thinking about marriage as a sacrament related to using marriage as a metaphor or analogy to think about things that are not marriage, such as priestly celibacy, political relations, devotional relations, and communal identity? If the sacrament of Christ’s union with the church shared with literal marriage “a resemblance that was more than analogy,”103 what did that “resemblance” consist of? Philip Reynolds succinctly points out that medieval Christian writers compared the union between a man and a woman to that between God or Christ and human beings in three related but different modes: to shed light on the divine–human relationship, to support normative claims about marriage itself, and to show how marriage was one of the sacraments of the church.104 These connections seem—at least from a historical point of view—symbiotic. But Reynolds’s careful distinction between proof and rationale should warn us against assuming that there was any conscious causal reasoning that moved from the figurative to the literal meaning of marriage among medieval theologians, despite their fascinatingly multilayered expositions.105 Discussing marriage sermons, Reynolds notes that the reasoning tended to proceed unidirectionally from known and familiar to unknown and abstract:106 The preachers do not apply their reflections on the mystical marriages to illuminate the qualities, norms, or regulations of literal marriage. It seems that their thinking about the literal marriage and their thinking about the mystical marriages, even that between Christ and the Church, were disconnected and proceeded along independent lines, although at some level of consciousness the two themes must have been rooted in the same analogical imagination … Preachers and exegetes who used the topos of the four species of marriage focused on the figurative relationship. They posited the special resemblance between marriage and the divine–human relationships that it signified or figured chiefly to illuminate the latter.107 Reynolds’s “analogical imagination” resonates with what M.-D. Chenu once termed “symbolist mentality,” and represents a persistent and often elusive feature in medieval intellectual cultures.108 Scholars sometimes note that figural representations in the Middle

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Ages were “more than metaphors,” pointing to medieval assumptions of an inherent unity between sign and signification, symbol and symbolized, where the difference between them was “simply one of degree or dignity.”109 Allegorization, signification, and symbolization (the latter term is modern not medieval) structured and framed medieval marriage in ways that were deeply significant and are hard to conceptualize for modern scholars. It reminds us that we are dealing with a special case of symbolic cognition: thinking about marriage symbolically and thinking with marriage, thinking about one thing in terms of another—analogously, but not just ad hoc—in a way that was institutionalized, canonized, and even officially sanctioned.110

CONCLUSION On the one hand, medieval writers fashioned theories of the sacred and sacramental nature of Christian marriage and, on the other hand, they produced expansive elaborations of marriage symbolism. In both cases, their point of departure and their guiding principle was the union between Christ and the church. Moreover, from both these strands of thought identities were forged: spiritual marriage for celibate clerics and for the religious orders and carnal marriage for the sexually active lay population. By the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the church’s marriage ideology was well established. Theologians emphasized that marriage was instituted in Paradise, that Christ endorsed marriage at Cana, that it was a good and holy estate, and that by its sacramental character it conferred grace on married couples which allowed them to support the demands and pressures of marriage, especially those of a sexual nature (e.g., the conjugal debt and the obligation to fidelity), in an appropriate manner for Christians.111 The special grace conferred by the act of marrying enabled spouses to remain full members of the church: in the words of Thomas Aquinas they may attend, to “carnal and earthly things” without being “un-hitched” (disiungantur) from the union between the church and Christ.112 Rather than rejecting procreative and marital functions—like heretics did, for example the Cathars—mainstream clerics merely subordinated it to clerical celibacy. The transient, nuptial union between a man and a woman signified the fleshly and literal meaning of marriage, whereas the celibate life of the cleric, the contemplative or the monkish prelate, epitomized the spiritual level. While both the literal and the spiritual levels participated in the union of Christ and church, the celibate reflected a more profound likeness within a monastic and clerical framework. Ultimately, in light of the vexing questions of directionality, causality, and impact between the literal and spiritual understandings of marriage, we may, if nothing else, affirm that the central idea of the marriage between Christ and church established a common symbolic ground, since this was the paradigmatic union in which other forms of marriage were seen to participate—in superior or inferior ways. The popes, as vicars of Christ, married the universal church; bishops married their sees; monks and nuns married the bridegroom Christ; and lay men, high and low, married carnal woman.

CHAPTER THREE

State and Law THOMAS KUEHN

In the course of the millennium, 500–1500, western European legal practices and rules regarding marriage—more specifically, the Christian Church’s law of marriage—took on unique dimensions in comparison with other societies and religions. The combination of monogamy and indissolubility triumphed most clearly in the twelfth century around the reform papacy and in the developing schools of canon law, and it became solidified most everywhere in western Europe by the 1300s. As David d’Avray, author of several definitive studies of medieval marriage, remarks, “in many or most societies monogamy for life may have been general practice without being a norm,”1 but in the West that was the normative expectation. It was not the expectation before the church weighed in authoritatively and even then not always successfully. For one thing ecclesiastical expectations did not square with the norms and practices of the Roman tradition (serial monogamy with fairly easy recourse to divorce) or with the customs the various Germanic groups brought with them and exercised in their newly gained political dominance from the fifth century (polygyny, at least for the powerful in effect, if not in law, and possibility of divorce). Throughout the period covered in this chapter, it was in fact a matter of states and laws (plural, rather than the singular of the title). Investigations of marriage law in the Middle Ages have come to stress a number of themes, but the most central of them is the church’s drive to insist on the free consent of the spouses as the essence of marriage and its sacramental nature, which united two persons into one flesh.2 For some this consensual theory of marriage brought with it a fundamental, even modern, sense of personal freedom. As Michael Sheehan put it, the consensual theory “meant that medieval society had developed a theory of matrimony which enabled the individual to escape the control of family, feudal lord, and even the king in choice of marriage partner.”3 The emphasis on consent, however, also resulted in another peculiarity of marriage law and matrimonial practices in the medieval West— clandestine marriages. The observance of particular rituals for exchange of marital consent, the presence of witnesses, even the arrangement of property rights and transfers, were all, at best, merely probative; they were not essential. Courts became clogged with cases in which conflict arose over the legal reality of marriages. A second theme consistent in historical studies of medieval marriages and marriage law stresses the development in the church of a rather extensive incest prohibition (to seven degrees, calculated on a broader basis than in Roman law).4 The church did not always see prohibited degrees in such an extensive fashion but that came to be a persuasive standard in the course of ecclesiastical reform movements in the eleventh century. The extensive prohibition tended both to reduce greatly the range of possible sexual partners and

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radically push an exogamy well beyond the bounds of existing clans and kin networks. But here too the church’s position generated numerous disparities and allowed people to seek annulments of otherwise licit, even desirable, unions, threatening to make a mockery of the premise of marital indissolubility. The church relented to some extent in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council, in favor of saving the principle of indissolubility. It was the lack of a sacramental union of marriage that came to define the clergy, regular and secular. These persons, it was argued, were “married” instead to their churches or monasteries. Practical concerns animated the rule for clerical celibacy in part. Priests thus would not face the expenses and distractions of wife and family, and there would not be the conversion of sacred trust of a parish or other sinecure into a family heritage. But the decrees of the First Lateran (1123) and the Second Lateran (1139) forbidding marriage to higher holy orders (subdeacon and above) were also animated by a theology that placed spirit (celibacy) above flesh (sex and marriage).5 The history of medieval marriage law has largely been approached as the story of the ecclesiastical position winning out in law, gaining a monopoly on the determination as to whether a particular relationship was a marriage (and thus whether offspring were legitimate and in possession of inheritance rights), and, conversely, how much church rules were evaded in practice. In the course of tracing that story it has been necessary to note that despite the church’s broad success, entire areas of relevant legal concern remained in the hands of secular authorities. The ritual acts undertaken to substantiate and celebrate a marital relationship were left to diverse local customs. Provision of witnesses or recording of vows were set out by the church, it is true, in the demand for publication of banns for a period prior to a wedding ceremony; but they were not enforced.6 Laws and customs regarding marital property and related issues of spousal inheritance also fell to the discretion of local courts. So, past the centrality of indissoluble consensual monogamy, medieval marriage can seem to be a field open to myriad social practices and political and economic interests, and concern with the law recedes into the background against practices of annulments and concubinage. Still, as d’Avray, again, cautions, “legal arguments do not alone explain what happened, but what happened cannot be explained if we do not understand the legal arguments.”7 The law is pivotal for understanding the cultural history of marriage in the Middle Ages.

EARLY MEDIEVAL MARITAL LAWS TO 1000 Roman law The well-known definition of marriage in Roman law, from the jurist Modestinus, was that it was a partnership of a man and woman for all of life (consortium omnis vitae). Thus, for its part, Roman law had allowed only monogamy, though serially.8 Even a Roman citizen in a legally defined relationship of concubinage could have only one concubine at a time.9 Concubines, however, were in all likelihood not of the same social standing as their men. Marriage (matrimonium) was also important for the purposes of having children as a man’s heirs, as they fell under his agnation-defining patria potestas. Consent was required, though this also included the consent of one holding potestas over either spouse, with no ceremony prescribed.10 If consent seemed to waver over time or there were no children, or for a number of reasons that need not be specified, divorce in the form of a simple repudiation was possible. Roman marriage was notably private in law, both in its formation and in divorce. As Emperor Justinian I (r.527–565) declared, marriages were contracted by marital affection

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not by property arrangements.11 Initially, “marital affection” meant that the parties agreed to the legal effects of marriage.12 By the end of the twelfth century the term “usually implied the intention to procreate and the understanding that the relationship was to be monogamous, exclude promiscuity, and enjoy a degree of permanence.”13 The later emotion-tinged interpretation of the term raised the question at what specific time did such affection arise? How different in reality was such a marriage from less formal concubinage? How could one tell if a child was legitimate, and thus in possession of inheritance rights? In Novel 117, Justinian adjusted Roman marriage law to demand that in order to have a marriage, at least for those of the highest social ranks, there had to be a dowry, certified in a written agreement. Justinian also put some limitations on divorces (as to admissible grounds), paid attention to consequent property matters and to protecting the interests of children, and even in a late decree ordered that divorces could no longer be simply consensual but had to go through a court. That reform, however, did not last.14 Justinian simply bypassed ecclesiastical senses of concubinage as mere fornication and instead improved the position of the concubine and her children, who could inherit from their father; but again, this was to be an exclusive and monogamous sort of concubinage, little different from marriage, though marked by a lack of property contracts or marital affection. Betrothal was the key moment for most Romans. This was when the relationship was agreed to and material concerns were specified and mapped out, particularly the bride’s dowry and other gifts. Betrothal was the responsibility of the heads of two households. Thus their consent was as formative of a legitimate marriage as that of the spouses themselves. Subsequent failure of a betrothal led to complications in regard to the return of gifts, both the premarital gift of groom to bride (donatio ante nuptias) and the security (arrhae sponsaliciae) offered by both parties.15 Divorce also meant the return of such property. On the dissolution of the marriage, the dowry was returned to the wife or her family. The wife who divorced her husband had to surrender portions of her dowry to any children she had.16 Only later emperors, Theodosius II and Justinian I, enacted more restrictive laws governing divorce, perhaps under the influence of ecclesiastical condemnations of the practice but not totally in line with church desires, as it was never forbidden absolutely. Divorce was common on a number of grounds. Initially, they were fairly serious, but eventually divorce was granted simply because a man no longer wanted his wife (and later the same applied to her). No public body needed to be notified; no records were kept, though obviously, the families had to be made aware. Such divorces by mutual consent remained commonplace in the first millennium.17 Remarriages, following divorce or widowhood, were similarly common. Roman women enjoyed limited agency over themselves and their property. There were limits to their activities (they could act for themselves but not stand surety for others) and to their abilities to dispose of their dowries or other property to the disadvantage of husbands or children. Husbands too, while they regularly managed dotal property, faced restraints as to what they could do with it. Germanic marriage law  Beginning around 500 the different Germanic invaders of the Western Roman Empire tried to set forth their customs in the form of Latin codices. This process was partly in imitation of the Romans and partly in the interest of working through legal problems arising by their proximity to and incorporation with native Roman populations. For the most part these codices recorded existing practices and idealized customs, but they also included corrections and additions from kings reacting to specific cases or to discussions in assemblies of tribal leaders and elders. Invariably these collections

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of laws were an amalgamation of Germanic and Roman rules. Germanic customs were already under change and cannot be seen in any absolute sense as independent of Roman influence in the form we have them, though parts certainly were more or less Germanic. In mixed Germanic and Roman societies, such as in Burgundy, for which both a Lex Burgundionum and a Lex romana Burgundionum survive,18 these exhibit parallels in organization but also clear differences in treatment of various matters. One example is that of divorce, which was available to a Roman woman on grounds such as cruelty but not to her Burgundian counterpart. The different peoples and groups that migrated across western Europe and North Africa brought their own ideas of family and kinship and the place and capabilities of women. Germanic law recognized three ways to contract marriage: by capture (Raubehe), purchase (Kaufehe), or mutual consent (Friedelehe). By and large women fell under the directive protection (munt, mundium) of some male—most usually of a father or husband. In essence, in Kaufehe the husband “purchased” the munt from his father-inlaw by providing bride wealth at marriage. The fact that the family of a deceased husband was to receive half the bride price when a widow remarried demonstrates that the munt was an asset that had to be redeemed, at least in Lombard law. If a man married without consent of the wife’s kin, in Lombard law he had to pay to fend off a possible feud, and he had no right to her property if he had not subsequently moved to acquire her mundium. Lombard law also expected a morning gift (morgengabe) to be given to the bride following the marriage.19 The timing of this gift related to the emphasis on sexual consummation as indicative of a marriage. Friedelehe occurred around a sort of elopement, indicating the agreement of bride and groom, but leaving the families out. Munt therefore did not pass to the husband but remained with her family. Thus, such a marriage was not too distinct from concubinage, though with the latter one would more likely encounter disparities in social status between the parties. The union of a free person with another who was unfree, for example, could only be considered concubinage, and the church generally reacted negatively to such practices.20 For Germanic peoples concubinage was not necessarily sexually exclusive, nor did a sense of marital affection define relationships. It was sexual intercourse that was the essence of marriage and concubinage.21 The status of illegitimate children was not much different from that of legitimate children. In some societies there was further provision of a third or a quarter of the husband’s goods bestowed on the wife, although in effect that was a form of lien on the husband’s property that did not come under her control until after her husband died.22 This form of lien would persist in medieval England in the form of a dower, a right to one-third of the husband’s holdings for a widow. Divorce was allowed on certain grounds, as in Burgundian law, if a wife were guilty of adultery, witchcraft, or violating a tomb;23 a wife had no parallel recourse against her husband, unlike her Roman sister. Further, if the wife still denied her husband’s charge against her, he could abandon her and the property if he so chose; if he wanted to leave her without cause he could pay another equal bride price and do so. Some Germanic laws, however, allowed easy divorce in the first year if no child had been conceived, thus effectively treating the initial year as a trial period. None of the Germanic laws dealt directly with matters of marital rites and legitimacy. Even prohibited degrees went largely unmentioned. When they were discussed, the prohibition was not very broad. Lombard law ruled out marriage to a stepmother (father’s wife), stepdaughter, or sister-in-law—all affinal relationships. The later laws of Liutprand added prohibitions of marrying widows of one’s maternal or paternal cousins, again,

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affinal relations, or one’s godmother or goddaughter, under some pressure from the bishop of Rome.24 No law directly addressed consanguineous relations, but limitations on this matter seem generally to have been known, and there were instances in which incestuous marriages were dissolved.25 Liutprand specified that a minimal marriage age of twelve for a girl meant completion of her twelfth year, on grounds that one so young was not mature. Interestingly, a Lombard woman who married a Roman was deemed to have become Roman by that act and the children were Roman and were covered by Roman laws.26 Marriage was an alliance of families that took effect with betrothal. There was time allowed to work out the details of property, residence, and more. Marriage was also about companionship and procreation, which is one reason that divorce in some manner persisted.27 Yet the Germanic laws did not deal with marital rites and considered an issue such as illegitimacy mainly from the perspective of inheritance. Bishops lodged complaints from time to time and place to place about practices such as marrying within what they considered prohibited degrees of relationship and divorce. Certainly, historians have uncovered widespread polygyny among the elites of Europe, and consequent reactions from clergy.28 Gregory of Tours relates the instance of King Clothar, who, urged by his wife to find a mate for her sister, married his sister-in-law himself, a bigamous act with the seeming approval of his wife. Bede reported that Gregory I instructed St. Augustine to rebuke the English for marriages within third or fourth generation of consanguinity.29 There were attempts to argue against the practices of multiple or serial marriages, as when Nicholas I confronted Lothar II for putting aside his wife, Theutberga (whom he still treated as his adviser and partner in some ways) for another woman who brought distinct political and military advantages.30 The case was a landmark for the assertion of papal prerogatives in the area of marriage.

Church law It was St. Augustine of Hippo who first powerfully turned the symbolic marriage of Christ to the church into a rule for lifelong, indissoluble monogamy.31 Both ideas and symbolism had been around for centuries, but Augustine linked them. He also denigrated concubinage, perhaps reflecting on his own experiences in such relationships, their lack of marital commitment, and in light of his disparagement of sex in general as a pervasive and basic evil of human life. Immediate effect in practice, however, was not realized. St. Augustine’s ideas had little impact until the eleventh century at least. Divorces, for example, continued both in the western and eastern portions of what had been the Roman Empire. It can be argued that the early Middle Ages saw, especially in the rise of rural serfdom, a move to commensurable, and thus effectively monogamous, domestic units.32 These were more likely dissolved by death, so a de facto lifelong monogamy may have been the rule for many. Still, prior to the twelfth century the church’s actions were incomplete. Some synods and even Carolingian laws mandated indissolubility, but the practice openly continued, as did clerical marriage in many places. Fundamental to the church’s approach to marriage, but surprisingly little talked about explicitly, was the idea that there was a defining moment at which a marriage began. That was a moment from which sex between the couple was fully licit and offspring would be legitimate. This did not mean that there were not still those who recognized all the possibilities for sin arising from passion or perversity, but neither Roman nor Germanic practices drew on a parallel sense of timing. Relationships were processes, and

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not clearly described or predetermined. As Sheehan notes, “there is abundant evidence that many unions were established without an act which included the rites of the church and that they were considered to be valid.”33 The church wanted weddings, the laity wanted marriages.34 As the church first gained visibility and power in the fourth and fifth centuries there was no clear agreement among bishops, moralists, and theologians regarding marriage. There were those who defended concubinage (unlike St. Augustine) as an alternative form of marriage. In civil law children of concubines were treated better than all other forms of illegitimate children. But from the time of Constantine the law sought a separation of illegitimate children from family and property. In parallel, while authoritative figures such as St. Augustine and St. Jerome denounced divorce (with legal right to remarry), councils and synods did not legislate against the practice and secular law certainly did not do much to restrict them. Despite uncertainties about divorce, remarriage was frowned upon. This remained the case in some quarters even when a marriage ended on the death of a spouse and the survivor looked to remarry. St. Paul had denigrated remarriage even following death, because it led to sexual activity. Justin Martyr saw remarriages as tantamount to adultery, though his opinion was not generally shared.35 Councils such as that at Braga (572) denounced those who remarried and priests were ordered not to celebrate second weddings.36 It is one of the paradoxes of the Middle Ages that control over marriage would ultimately end up in the hands of unmarried (nominally) celibate men, who would also come to develop a system of courts to enforce and interpret rules.37 They developed a doctrine which described marriage as a relationship analogous to the sacred tie between Christ and his church, a sacramental and potentially salvific relationship, that was yet also intimately bound up with the inferior state of active sexuality.38 For theological writers prior to 1000, marriage thus figured as “only a relative good.”39 Sex for purposes of procreation was thus posited as the goal of marriage, not the satisfaction of sexual urges. By the tenth century churchmen had come to broad agreement that marriage was also monogamous and indissoluble, with very restricted possibility of divorce (in the sense of a legal conclusion to an existing relationship) and with remarriage frowned upon.40

Byzantine marriage law In many ways the Greek East held marital and sexual values similar to those in the West— monogamy, sacramentality, and clerical celibacy (at least at the rank of bishop and for monastic clergy). Similarly Roman marital accessories—rings, crowns, belts—remained in use, though linking the couple not in harmony (concordia) any more but sacramentally in the figure of Christ.41 But the persistence of Roman imperial law meant that divorce and remarriage were possible, if not approved of in ecclesiastical eyes, while the dowry was maintained at the heart of marriage prestations, and the ideal of parental consent was in force. Girls were typically married in their teens when, in all likelihood, their fathers were still alive and able to arrange the match (hence betrothals sometimes occurred as young as age five42). The groom’s family at that point presented a security, the arrha sponsalicia, which had the function of guaranteeing the contract. The later presentation of the dowry from her family at the time of marriage was essential, as had been laid out by Justinian. Ownership remained with the bride and the dowry was returned to her or her family in case the groom predeceased her. If she predeceased him it was returned to her family or was held for any children from the union as their inheritance from her. These rules

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were consistent with the fact that in the East, Roman inheritance rules remained in effect, so that women inherited equally with their brothers.43 Marriages themselves followed fashions that included officiating by a priest (in a later common practice placing crowns on their heads). The priest’s presence became mandatory by imperial decree in the sixth century. The purpose of the union was not so much partnership—as it had been in Roman law—but procreation. Hence, formal divorce, though frowned upon, was available on grounds of (her) adultery or other inappropriate acts, insanity, or impotence. Justinian had attempted to utilize the courts to authorize any form of divorce, but only a decade or so later his successor, Justin II, restored divorce by mutual consent, on the principle that an unhappy union would not produce children, the main purpose of marriage.44 In the Ecloga (741) the Eastern Empire extended the impediment of consanguinity to the sixth degree (from the fourth degree according to Leviticus 18), which would lead to problems with annulments similar to those that occurred in the West.45 The Ecloga also hinged validity of marriage to consent by the parties and their parents, although dowry,

FIGURE 3.1  Agios Nikolaos Orphanos, The Wedding at Cana, fourteenth century. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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church benediction, and presence of witnesses were also valuable proofs.46 Arguably, by the late ninth century and thereafter, there was sufficient “valorization” of marriage that the possible sanctity of a married woman was acceptable (far less likely in the West at that date47). It was at that point that the patriarch Nicholas I (920) permitted a second remarriage, conceding thereby the positive effects of marriage for church and society. What one does not see in the Greek East is the proliferation of court cases and legislative steps dealing with clandestine marriages seen in the West. No law declared a marriage valid on spousal consent alone, although such consent was part of a valid union. Islam  The societies of the Islamic Middle East were considerably more complex than Western medieval societies, riven with social distinctions and boundaries. But there was also a much more fluid and blurred boundary between religion and government. It was the caliph who had to oversee the operation of courts, even if the law there applied was Qur’anic and independent of him. The result was that what seemed strictly to be the case in the Qur’an was modified in different areas by local practices and even accepted into law.48 The Qur’an was replete with precepts about marriage, so it was hard to ignore them. Marriage was at its heart a sexual union, with little of the ascetic fear of sex found in Christendom. Marriage was conceived of as a contract, not a sacramental union, in which both partners had specific rights and duties, and as such there was little militating against divorce. Men were allowed limited polygyny (four wives according to the Qur’an) while women were faced with requirements to be veiled (a result of the interpretation of Qur’anic prescriptions that women’s dress and comportment be modest49). Beyond four wives, men were freely allowed concubines, whose children faced no social or legal disabilities. Indeed, concubinage replaced marriage for many couples. A woman’s consent was required for a valid marriage, but it could be indicated as well by silence. Male experience was normative; for a woman the reception of material support from her husband in marriage required her obedience in return—not that the realities did not vary greatly by time and place.50 Although scholars expected to find sporadic divorce by repudiation on the part of the husband (talaq) to be the norm, research has instead shown that divorce was frequent and mainly occurred by mutual consent (khul) of the spouses, at least for the Mamluk period (1250–1517). The reasons, in part, seem related to the regime of marital property. Strictly speaking the only property provision for a valid Islamic marriage was the sadaq, or mahr, from the groom to the bride. In legal theory sadaq was to be delivered all at once, at the outset of the marital contract, as it was the wife’s compensation for her sexual availability. Instead, surviving contracts show delays, usually deferring half the payment, sometimes for a certain number of years, but normally to be released on death or divorce. In the eyes of jurists such delay invalidated a marriage contract, but the deferred portion came to be accepted as a replacement for mut’a, a gift due to the wife on divorce. A husband facing such material consequences might not so quickly and unilaterally opt for divorce. Another non-Qur’anic feature of marital property practices was the persistence of a dowry from the earlier Roman-Byzantine era. A dowry as a settlement from bride to groom had been the one required transfer for a valid Roman marriage; the Islamic situation was opposite—the one required gift was from him to her. A dowry was simply not required for a valid marriage in Islam, so there were no stipulations that it should change hands—to the husband or his father—for the purposes of managing the dotal

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assets. As a result, marriage contracts did not mention a dowry; there was no need, as the assets and trousseau remained in the wife’s hands. Any payment by the groom to his father-in-law as a gesture of respect (hiba) went similarly unrecorded. A dowry became a concern at the end of a marriage as an element of the subsequent property settlement.51 In reality a dowry brought the wife further material security and a bit of leverage in the day-to-day aspects of the marriage and in any decision to terminate it. There was also some consideration of inheritance concerns in the dowry, with a portion of a woman’s share thus coming to her at the time of marriage. Variations in practice there certainly were, leave alone sectarian differences. In medieval Andalusia, for example, women received real property at marriage, from father and husband, although these remained in the control of the donor for seven or eight years, seemingly a period to find out if the relationship was stable and not to end in divorce. In any case the property remained hers. Prevailing patterns of cousin marriage, however, would have served to keep property within an extended clan.52 Mainly, despite the Qur’an’s evident abhorrence of divorce, it was generally available. At its heart Islam was neither monogamous nor wedded to indissolubility. Marriage was also much more endogamous at least in Egypt where geniza records show tendencies to marry close relations, for example father’s brother’s daughter, to keep property in the family and the women in close proximity to their families.53

THE TRIUMPH OF ECCLESIASTICAL MARITAL LAW, 1000–1500 The rise of papal power and academic law The conjunction of a vigorous church reform movement and increasing urbanization in eleventh-century Latin Christendom provoked an elaboration of canon law and a revival of Roman law. The results of these developments included a papacy based (mainly) in Rome which was installed as undoubted head of the church in the West after the schism with the East in 1054. The Roman pontiff was able to legislate and adjudicate in marriage and many other matters, and he applied an intellectual approach to texts of canon and Roman law which was formulated and institutionalized first at Bologna and then elsewhere in Italy and southern France. For law relating to marriage, developments in canon law had the greatest impact. Reformers were avidly interested in marriage, both to deny it to the clergy and to restructure it for the laity. As Brundage has it, they had seven basic premises: marriage must be monogamous; indissoluble; freely consented to by spouses; the only form of licit sexuality (so no concubinage); and exogamous (not within existing groups of related families); all sex outside marriage needed punishment, and, finally, jurisdiction of sexual activity fell under the church only.54 By the early twelfth century the church had secured exclusive jurisdiction of marriage, at least in matters of legitimacy of a relationship (and offspring from it), as even kings and nobles brought their questions to ecclesiastical tribunals.55 Still, as institutional reform began in the eleventh century, there was no coherent synthesis of the various opinions and judgments rendered in different courts and synods about the essence of marriage, divorce and remarriage, consanguinity, and much else. The process toward a synthesis began with Gratian. He asserted the necessity of spousal mutual consent at the heart of marriage, without reference to parental or other consent; but he also postulated a second stage in which sexual consummation was a constitutive,

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not to mention probative, completion or perfection of a marriage.56 Subsequently, Peter Lombard concluded that consent alone made a marriage, which was a sacrament for the couple, and that became the position taken in canon law, chiefly in the decretals issued by Alexander III (r.1159–81) and Innocent III (r.1198–1216), which also downplayed the role of consummation. Sexual activity mattered only when it followed an exchange of consent in future tense (as in “I will marry you.” Such words only created a bond amounting to what we would call “betrothal”). In such instances, the sex exchange completed the marriage process. Consent expressed in the present tense (as in “I take you as my wife/husband”), free of the control of parents, families, or feudal overlords was essential and sufficient for a valid marriage.57 From that point on consent became the constituent feature of a valid marriage, with the consequence that even covert exchanges of consent were accorded validity. Of course, such an exchange was valid only if there were no prior impediment—for example, age of spouse, prohibited degree of relationship, or previous undissolved marriage. Those who lacked parental consent or even faced an impediment to marriage that might be invoked if their union was publicized either went elsewhere to marry and live or carried on a clandestine marital existence.58 The impediment might be a prior marriage, which made the clandestine union bigamous.59 The resulting confusion when the reality of any such exchange was disputed generated a deep vein of business for ecclesiastical courts across the rest of the Middle Ages. Richard Helmholz found that—making up to 80 percent of the case-load—suits to enforce a marriage contract were far and away the most common business before ecclesiastical courts.60 Charles Donahue Jr.’s examination of ecclesiastical courts in England and the continent has revealed the regularity of such cases, even as he has also illuminated the variations in practice and process in the different courts whose records he consulted.61 Cases of clandestine marriage turned not only on the testimony of the couple, who were generally at odds in such cases anyway, but on that of relatives and neighbors who might substantiate marital behavior, household management, and other details of married life. It was also the case, as Frederik Pedersen determined, that at least well-to-do litigants in the diocese of York possessed a good deal of knowledge about the canon law’s requirements for a legitimate marriage.62 Canonists posited no presumption in favor of marriage if secret, so the weight of proof shifted only if witnesses could be produced. A proven clandestine marriage nullified any subsequent relationship by one of the parties—yet another cause for confusion in social and economic terms.63 Such unions may have hidden a previous marriage or a prohibited degree of consanguinity, or just avoided the bother of ecclesiastical ritual, but they were functioning social relationships. Many marriages may have been clandestine in the eyes of the clergy, who had not had a role in their formation, but they were known and accepted in the community where the couple lived and worked. It makes sense that technically clandestine marriages were more prevalent among poorer folk; the wealthy would have much more incentive to make sure things were known and publicized and their more substantial economic interests spelled out and protected. In point of fact the church’s reliance on consent flew in the face of social and economic realities, in which choice of spouse often fell to parents or other relatives, or an overlord, and considerations of property and social status, as well as the productive functioning of a household and the provision of heirs of the flesh, were prominent. Few perhaps wanted to force marriage on a totally unwilling participant, if only to avoid the embarrassment of their possible public protests, and the church and secular laws provided measures against coercion; but there was always more than consent at play. Nor was it consistent

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with needs of some families that marriage be so singular and exclusive as the church saw it. Concubinage arrangements and de facto marriages were always possible, at least for those in a position to afford such. And a certain ambiguity about concubinage persisted because the consent theory of marriage made it hard to distinguish concubinage from a clandestine marriage, and that was a distinction, nonetheless, that frequently had to be made, if only to determine the legal status of children. Availability of clandestine marriage was also “an effective check on the principle of indissolubility.”64 It became possible for couples to pair up and later dissolve their marriages by simply walking away, by the same mutual consent that had brought and held them together in the first place. If one party balked and tried to maintain the union, proof would be difficult. A well-known case, that may serve paradigmatically for many, is that of the Florentines Giovanni della Casa and Lusanna that arose in the mid-fourteenth century. Although there had been a sort of wedding ritual and clerical blessing, by testimony of some witnesses, when the more elite groom opted to follow paternal dictates and marry a woman of more elevated status, he brazenly did so. She, with the help of her brother, claimed there had been a wedding and marital cohabitation. He produced his own witnesses to contest Lusanna’s side of the story. He denied the allegations of marital treatment. In fact, he initially lost his case before the Archbishop Sant’Antonino. Her evidence was that good. His appeal to Rome, however, seems to have been successful, mainly on the grounds that his witnesses had been coerced by the court.65 This was clearly an instance in which a socially and economically advantaged male took advantage of a vulnerable widow, not a case of consensual union of equally matched mates. It is apparent that young people exploited the church’s emphasis on consent to force their parents’ hands at times, even resorting to feigned abductions to face their families with the fact of a sexual union in advance of a social union.66 Economic accommodations might then follow, however begrudgingly, from parents faced with a need to maintain their social reputation by regularizing an existing fact. However, the parents also had the option of effective disinheritance of a child who dared to marry without their consent. Equally, there were young women who succumbed to promises not kept, who faced social disdain and, worse, the possible consequences of an out-of-wedlock birth. Not all secular rulers happily complied with ecclesiastical control of marriage, especially regarding consent and the formation of marriage. Roger II and Frederick II in Sicily, for example, demanded that vassals seek royal consent before marrying off a daughter and that there be some form of officiating by a priest to substantiate the exchange of consent publicly.67 Social misalliance was, even contrary to church goals, disruptive. Marriage still involved family alliances and property arrangements, and these areas remained in the hands of secular law and courts. Church marriage law remained consistent in maintaining monogamy and denying the possibility of divorce. That secular law allowed divorce was dismissed on the argument that church law took precedence in marriage. The fact that a Christian emperor like Justinian had permitted divorce was dismissed as an act of ignorance or, at best, a desire to avoid a lesser evil, such as wife-killing.68 In fact, beyond the remnants of divorce law in the Roman texts, which were also intensely studied in the medieval universities, there was no jurisdiction in western Europe that permitted divorce. Indissolubility was the rule. Roman law made it easier for canonists to insist on the formative power of marital consent, while they tended to leave most of the matters of property and spousal relations to the Roman law or local custom.

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At least one historian, Georges Duby, postulated the powerful argument that there were two marriage models in the medieval West. There was the ecclesiastical model of monogamy, indissolubility, and extensive consanguinity prohibitions, and there was a lay model that for the elites at least encompassed serial polygamy and endogamy.69 Certainly, the need for an heir could provoke the rejection of a wife who had failed to produce one and shifts in political alliances could render a formerly useful spouse into a liability. One finds the example of Rainerius, marquis of Tuscany, who repudiated a wife on grounds of consanguinity, then marrying his sister-in-law who had been rendered a widow by his doing.70 Later rulers might seek ecclesiastical blessing for repudiating a wife as consanguineous, but they had the same motivations and reason to expect the church to execute their wishes. It is generally the case that the lay and clerical senses of marriage came to converge by the early thirteenth century, yet there was perhaps less divergence earlier than Duby saw, and the church was not as hostile to marriage as he had it. Still, he had a valid insight that lay and clerical models of marital behavior and purpose were at odds in some regards.

FIGURE 3.2  Francesco del Cossa, The Hall of the Month, fifteenth century. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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Revival of Roman law Accompanying the elaboration of canon law was the revival of Roman law and of various of its institutions. Notable among these was the patria potestas, with its expansive claims of control of the lives of legitimate children, and the dowry, i.e., property provided by the bride’s family to the groom, which was to be used to meet the expenses of married life and to be returned to the wife or her heirs nominally at the dissolution of the marriage by natural causes. Common throughout Italy, in the wake of the adoption of the dowry as a prevalent social practice, communal governments enacted statutes adjusting intestate inheritance rules to exclude dowered women from inheriting with their brothers or other agnatic male relatives (exclusio propter dotem). Marriage thus became even more vital as an economic moment in the lives of women, as they lost prior claims they might have had on their husbands’ property in the event of the end of the marriage.71 The marriage process began with betrothal (sponsalia), which was a subject of interest to governments and courts as much as it was a matter for church law and courts.72 This was where a true contract, analogous to a business contract, equally registered in legal form, united two families through the proposed union of their offspring and material provisions for them. Gifts were exchanged, along with specific consequences for breaking an engagement, in accord with texts of civil law. Most betrothals resulted in marriage, or so research has shown for some societies, and many more marriages proceeded without

FIGURE 3.3  Laurentius a Voltolina, Liber ethicorum des Henricus de Alemannia, fifteenth century. Public Domain. The Yorck Project (2002) via Wikimedia Commons.

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recourse to formal betrothals because they moved quickly from family arrangement to an act of consent by the spouses.73 Formal contracts were more common where minor children were involved. The weight of family authority was obviously greater in such instances, but courts, such as the ecclesiastical courts of the Franco-Belgian region, were likely to enforce them.74 A socially approved and arranged marriage, based on a dowry, was also posed in the law as the best protection for women. Even the statutes that otherwise excluded dowered women from further inheritance enacted protections for return of the dowry on the end of the marriage and stated a clear right to a dowry (and shelter and support prior to marriage). These provisions found their echo, if not their impetus, in academic law.75 One of the most astounding protections was afforded by an institution cobbled together

FIGURE 3.4  Limbourg brothers, Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, 1412–1416. Photo by R.M.N. / R.-G. Ojéda. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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by jurists from different texts of Roman law, the consignatio dotis. In the situation where a husband was in financial difficulties and verging on insolvency, a wife, during marriage, could seek from a court return of her dowry to protect it from her husband’s creditors.76 The marriage was not over (indeed, the wife’s reclaiming her dowry gave it some material basis on which to continue), but the wife was able to exercise unusual legal prerogative to protect her material interests in the face of her husband’s evident failings in that regard. Matters were somewhat different when a wife died before her husband. The general rules of civil law required the return of her dowry to her family, which had, after all, put it together. If there were children by the marriage, the dowry might stay with the widower to manage it in trust for his children, who were the wife’s heirs. Laws of a number of communes in Italy, however, gave a husband part or all of the dowry of a predeceased wife.77 One area of some disagreement between canon law and the academic Roman law was concubinage. Secular law was more accommodating of it, not seeing it as illegal in any way and still enabling some inheritance by children.78 Concubinage differed from marriage more on the lines of property arrangements (notably, no dowry) and lack of ritual affirmation.79 Illegitimacy, then, unsurprisingly, was another matter on which religious and secular laws saw some disagreement. The church concerns with sexual sin led to assertions that bastards were in some sense “stained” by the sins of their parents. The worse those sins (e.g., adulterous or incestuous, versus mere fornication), the worse the legal condition of the children. For this condition the church added the general disability of bastards to enter the clergy, although this was a dispensable condition, and the popes and bishops would prove to be quite generous with dispensations from the disabilities of illegitimate birth, notably to take up clerical posts.80 Clerical children thus found a way around the otherwise harsh treatment they faced, if only from fear of the results for church property.81 But it was also the church, with the notable input of Innocent III, that gave renewed life to the option of legitimation of bastards of any condition by imperial decree, by asserting alongside it a right to legitimation by papal decree. In the eyes of secular law, any such papal decree ran only where the pope had secular jurisdiction (the Papal State). The church also approved of the legitimation of natural children (born of concubinage) by the subsequent marriage of their parents. Even more fundamentally, church law granted and enforced bastards’ rights to parental support.82 It was when the church claimed to affect bastards’ inheritance rights that clashes with secular laws were more evident. It has to be noted as well that any potential inheritance claims on a father depended on paternal recognition of the birth relationship and consequent responsibility, something really rather exceptional.83 These claims were greatly enhanced by legitimation, although not always conceded, or at least not in all regards, by local laws and customs. Legitimated children were always that—legitimatus rather than just legitimus. The rule of indissolubility was tempered somewhat by the ecclesiastical provision of formal separation a mensa et thoro. Judicial records show that people often took matters into their own hands in the face of a failed relationship, informally separating and even remarrying without seeking approval.84 Courts were prepared to decree formal separation, without any right to remarriage, in cases of mistreatment, habitual drunkenness, or cruelty (saevitia). The marital bond was still legally intact, though the household bond had been judged a failure. Courts were encouraged to monitor the situation and work toward reconciliation of the spouses. Remarriage still presented something of a problem for the church, if less so than in the earlier Middle Ages. The church came broadly to approve of remarriage of widows and

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widowers, though the term used to describe it, bigamy, did not help the situation. It became necessary for later canonists, such as Hostiensis, to distinguish bigamy as simultaneous multiple marriages from interpreting bigamy as a serial second marriage,85 although there is some evidence that men’s remarriages met with more social disapproval and popular hostility, some of it working its way into popular literature and song.86 Older men who married young women came in for particular opprobrium. But preachers, if not canonists, still discouraged remarriage for the widow and put forth the idea that widowhood was a chance at a second virginity, in which, according to some, the hymen might even grow back.87 Contrarily, widows may have come under pressure from their family to remarry. In fact Barbara Hanawalt reports that 55 percent of widows with children in fourteenthcentury London remarried, 68 percent of them in the fifteenth.88 Widows had long been treated as miserabiles personae, entitled to special protection of both ecclesiastical and secular authorities. There was true concern in canon law to recover dowries for women when a marriage ended, especially if it ended by a canonical judicial decree.89

Consanguinity One area in which church law expanded its reach in the course of the tenth and eleventh centuries was with regard to prohibited degrees of consanguinity. Thanks largely to the works of Peter Damien and Burchard of Worms, the rule was set at an unprecedented prohibition within seven degrees, computed in the canonical fashion, which went out to seventh cousin. These men conflated two traditions of discourse on prohibited degrees, one stressing purity against the abomination of incestuous sex, and the other stressing the positive effects of exogamy, having fewer relations lodged in any one person and thus more people related to each other in some degree.90 The anthropologist Jack Goody, for one, has argued that the expansion of prohibited degrees was fashioned in fact for the church’s benefit, to create a situation in which more resources would flow to the church from failing family lines.91 The problem is that the prohibition did not work that way. While such rules were designed to encourage exogamy (and thus broader, and hopefully more peaceful, social interactions), their expansion to seven canonical degrees inevitably created difficulties for those seeking a suitable, and allowable, marriage partner. It is doubtful that peasants bound to small villages and limited geographic areas were able to find someone beyond seven degrees. For the great lords, the problem was similar, but they were able to turn to church courts and to the pope himself if need be, and argue that a marriage had occurred within prohibited degrees and that an annulment of the marriage was in order (even if the real need was to ditch a barren wife for one more fertile). They thus exploited a feature of church marriage law and engaged effectively in serial polygamy, making a mockery of the rule of indissolubility. A good example is that of the annulment of the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII. Although Eugenius III had sanctioned the union and pronounced anathema on anyone who dared to attack it, it was dissolved a few years later. Eleanor then married Henry II, also a marriage within prohibited degrees, it must be noted, as dynastic goals were again at play. But there was sufficient doubt that a pope could dispense an incestuous relationship and that these events could happen with the agreement of eminent canonists.92 Innocent III and Lateran IV closed the door to such maneuvers by reducing the incest prohibition to four degrees. For marriages within those still broad parameters, dispensations were later available from a church seemingly amenable to the demands of dynastic politics. The archives of the papacy are replete with dispensations granted for dynastic marriages

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within four degrees93 as well as corresponding dispensations from the canonical effects of illegitimate births.94 But annulments on grounds of consanguinity, as d’Avray has found, became relatively rare and the absolute value of indissolubility was thus upheld.95 The relative uncommonness of suits citing consanguinity or affinity persuades some, such as Brundage, that people had come to understand and observe the ecclesiastical rules on that score.96 Christ’s relation to His church was also indissoluble and monogamous, after all. The later English monarch, Henry VIII, found this out firsthand, with well-known historic consequences. Annulments for consanguinity may have become rare, but annulments on other grounds continued to be available, if not common. One allowed ground was impotence on some occasions. Gratian had made consummation one of the pivots on which marriage revolved, so inability to consummate was a basis for annulment in his eyes. Subsequent legal thinkers disagreed among themselves as to the bases and consequences of impotence.97 Still, the fact that courts might entertain a suit for annulment on grounds of impotence shows that “although sexual intercourse was no longer essential to the formation of marriage, the capacity to have sexual relations was deemed so central that where it was absent an otherwise valid marriage could be dissolved.”98 Annulment on the basis that one party’s consent was extended as a result of force or fear was possible, but rare in practice because the standards of proof were high. Annulment on the basis of other impediments, such as age, was allowed. Insanity too was grounds for ending a marriage. Adultery was not grounds for an annulment, though it was for separation.99

Weddings The church’s success in asserting jurisdiction over marriage was not met by a corresponding success in active involvement in the process. Weddings, engagements, and their

FIGURE 3.5  Giotto, The Wedding of Cana, 1305. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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accompanying rites and ceremonies, generally proceeded without clerical participation. Much more adaptable and less predictable were the forms of exchange of vows (where and before whom?), engagements, meals, rings, processions to a new household (for at least one of the couple), rituals of bedding the couple, and so forth. That marriage occurred more than likely at the church door, rather than inside, says that it was the community engaged in its business and thus in some position to witness the proceedings that mattered more than the church institution. The same was true for the sometimes boisterous and disturbing celebrations, such as those common in London marriages.100 In England the gathering at the church door also gave the groom the opportunity to proclaim his provision of a dower before witnesses, “thereby securing the wife’s portion.”101

Marital property The property arrangements attendant on marriage were the areas most firmly in the hands of the secular legal apparatus. Each community had its own ways of doing things, and these could be subject to change. Martha Howell has found that in Douai a property arrangement where the couple’s property was merged into a single household pool subject to control by both spouses gave way to one that was more lineal, where each spouse’s property remained separate (though managed by the husband during marriage).102 The latter pattern had previously been much more characteristic of southern French marriage customs.103 In England the northern pattern of communal property was coupled to an expansive concept of a husband’s authority—that marriage made one flesh out of two, and that one was the husband—that was known as coverture.104 Only when the husband passed away was the widow legally able to manage the joint assets and claim the right

FIGURE 3.6  Wedding chest painted with birds and hares, Italy, fifteenth century. © Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

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to the dower she had on a third of her husband’s estate. The southern pattern similarly placed active control of household belongings with the husband, but title to the dowry and any other property she brought to the marriage at least remained nominally with the wife, and sometimes her property even fell to her direct control.105 The fact that her property came to her from another family was thus not entirely lost in the realities of household existence. Some states were able to expand on their control of marital property matters and even move beyond when Protestantism later rejected the medieval ecclesiastical and sacramental view of marriage.

CHAPTER FOUR

The Ties That Bind APRIL HARPER AND SALLY DIXON-SMITH

INTRODUCTION The “ties that bind” are connections between individuals and groups that create a sense of shared identity and common interest, promoting cooperation to attain broadly shared goals. These ties often assign circumscribed and expected roles to those bound together. The term is used specifically for bonds that create family and, more loosely, for ties that create groups analogous to family, acting either as a surrogate or a supplement. By virtue of its central role in the creation of kinship by affinity (ties created by sex, in-laws, and baptism) and consanguinity (blood kinship) marriage was one of the most important ties that bound in the Middle Ages. It forged new, larger families by joining the existing families of the newly-weds together and produced future generations of this combined family if the couple had children. The kinship system in the medieval West was generally ego-centered and bilateral, meaning kinship was defined from the point of view of each individual: depending on who was defining their relationship to him, one man could be described as a husband, father, cousin, etc., and that individuals were considered to be equally related to their mother’s (or “distaff”) side of the family as to their father’s (or “spear”) side.1 These aspects of kinship structure are fairly common in modern Europe, but they are far from constant in societies across time and geography. Just as marriage created family, family shaped marriage since the choice of marriage partner was often guided by family interests, while the range of suitable potential marriage partners was restricted by incest prohibitions, which themselves marked the extent of the family by defining who was already kin (see Figure 1.4, in this volume). Three major changes marked the shift from the ancient to medieval world and continued to define the marriage bond in the Middle Ages: Christianization; changing power structures within family and society; and the complexity of other ties which interacted and intersected with the marriage bond. The conversion and Christianization of most of Europe during the Middle Ages established the church as a moral and legal arbiter in Christians’ lives, including their family and sex lives. The marital bond had a profound Christian meaning: the union of a man and a woman in marriage was a representation of the union of Christ and the church. This shaped the Christian ideal of marriage and the nature and strength of the bond. For Augustine, writing in c. 401, “the bond would certainly not be so strong” without this “sacred symbol.”2 For newly Christian kings, the fusion of existing law and custom with Christian mores, including on marriage, was a key step in establishing their legitimacy.3 Besides Christian kings, the church also claimed and gradually came to exercise jurisdiction over marriage, definitions of the family, and who was permitted to

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FIGURE 4.1  Queen Eleanor Cross. © Photo by R. Neil Marshman. Brookie via English Language Wikipedia.

marry. As d’Avray argues, from c. 1200, the extremely potent symbolism of Christian marriage increasingly turned into social fact.4 The role of consent in creating the marriage bond was also central to the emerging medieval view of marriage. There were conflicting opinions regarding a number of questions: Could force or even abduction lead to valid marriage? Whose consent was required? What was the proper balance between family—especially paternal—approval and an individual’s personal wishes, and, relative to other factors, such as consummation, what was the role of consent in creating the bond?5 Marriage was one of several important means of creating social bonds—perhaps even the most important—as is highlighted through the interplay of this bond with the many others that connected people within medieval society: pre-existing blood family and lineage; lordship; servitude; local identity; faith; vows other than marriage; professions; class; gender; and temporary statuses such as age group and life-cycle stage. Some bonds had more impact than others on the

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creation, social acceptance, and maintenance of the marriage bond and yet others held primacy over the marriage bond itself. Changes in the relationship between these many ties and the marriage bond illustrate both the evolving nature of marriage as a bond and its great strength as a tie to all aspects of medieval society.

MONOGRAMY AND INDISSOLUBILITY One of the greatest changes to marriage in the Middle Ages was the strengthening of the marriage bond. It became the expectation that marriage would be both exclusive and for life. These shifts from polygyny to monogamy and from easy divorce to indissolubility were a consequence of the Pactus Legis Salicae—a law code that fused together Christian ideals, Roman law, and Germanic cultural customs during the reign of Clovis (466–511), the first Christian king of the Franks.6 The attempt to blend the competing cultural, legal, and religious ideals of marriage created complexity, but from the late sixth century onwards, the impact of the Pactus gave the church far more authority to exercise control over political and cultural practices. Initially, the most troubling of these were the practices of polygyny and concubinage. While Frankish women were required to remain faithful in their marriage upon threat of death, a husband could take on multiple wives and/or concubines. Kings and nobles had used impermanent marriages to powerful effect in order to create ties to multiple families while still establishing a hierarchy of bonds determined by the woman’s status as wife or concubine. There was a marked difference in legal and social status between the two as “the wife was a social equal, the concubine a servant.”7 Sometimes these bonds could also be manipulated to give primacy to endogamous (marrying within the kin group) or exogamous (marrying outside the kin group) bonds. One of the first successful church interventions to impose their views of marriage on royal practice occurred when King Theudebert (c. 503–c. 547) of Austrasia, who already had a wife, married his brother’s widow in order to continue the power tie to her family. While the royal family were often able to flout such rules, evidence of the church’s increasing authority is displayed through the penance which Caesarius of Arles, writing in 538, claims the king received as a result.8 Less than fifty years later, the church’s prohibitions on incest that called for the death penalty for marrying an in-law were incorporated into the laws of Childebert.9 Multiple marriages and polygyny were increasingly discouraged through the seventh century, though this may owe as much to influence from Visigothic law, which did not allow polygyny, as it did to the church. In subsequent years, the Frankish kings began to secure marriages with the Visigothic nobility, and the conflict between Germanic law codes became problematic. For example, when King Chilperic I of Soissons (c. 539–584), who Gregory of Tours (c. 538–594) states “already had too many wives,” wished to make a politically advantageous marriage with the Visigothic princess Galswintha (c. 540–568), he had to put away his Frankish companion, Fredegund (d.596/7).10 Under Frankish law, making Galswintha his wife should have given preeminence to this Visigothic queen over his Frankish concubine, establishing a clear preference for the former. Hence, when Chilperic invited Fredegund back into his court, Galswintha declared he was in violation of the terms of their marriage that favored monogamous Visigothic law, and she threatened to leave. Unwilling to bow to Visigothic and church law, or to allow Galswintha to leave, Chilperic had his wife murdered and made Fredegund his consort again.11 While a king’s manipulation of his wife and concubine may have been acceptable to previous generations who saw it as his

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right to determine his dynasty, Chilperic’s actions sparked a multigenerational war and created a poor relationship with the church. During Chilperic’s reign (561–584), the strength of the marriage bond increased and it became increasingly difficult for kings to escape unwanted marriages. Under Merovingian law, divorce had been easy for a husband to gain, as long as he was willing to part with his wife’s dowry and nuptial gift or provide a sum equal thereto. A woman, however, had no ability to divorce under Frankish law, even if the husband beat her, was a drunkard, or committed adultery. Visigothic and Burgundian law provided the exception that divorce could be sought if the husband were a murderer, violated graves, or practiced necromancy.12 Under the Carolingians, however, uniformity of law was imperative for the image of empire and authority; and as support between the Holy Roman Emperor and the pope became increasingly necessary to confirm the prestige and power of the emperor’s status, the conflicts between various Germanic customary attitudes toward marriage had to give way to Christian ideals. The complex and conflicting relationship between Roman, Germanic, and canon law that often centered around marriage was thus somewhat clarified by the Carolingians in the later half of the eighth century. Though the Carolingians still tolerated polygyny and other Frankish customs they did introduce stricter laws regarding divorce in both canon and secular legal codes. Marriage was becoming a tie for life, increasingly serious in its legality and its indissolubility for both partners. As d’Avray has noted, most cultures that stressed indissolubility in marriage also allowed polygyny as a way to counter the difficulties of such marital strictures, or those that did not allow multiple partners, did allow for divorce. This is evident in the different approaches of the three Abrahamic faiths, namely the possibility of polygamy and divorce in Islam and Judaism. However, based on the works of Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century, Christianity advocated the restrictive combination of monogamy and indissolubility.13 While the struggle to attain such a state was not always a smooth trajectory, as Charlemagne’s own polygamous marriages prove, by the late Carolingian period, the Frankish model of marriage had changed dramatically. As Chapter Seven notes, there were mainly two forms of divorce in the Middle Ages. Divorce a mensa et thoro, meaning “from table and bed,” ended the requirement to live together and have sex but did not leave the couple free to remarry until the death of one of the separated spouses. Divorce a vinculo, meaning “from the bond,” annulled the marriage as if it had never happened and so allowed the partners to remarry immediately. While annulment could be sought for reasons such as consanguinity, lack of consent, underage marriage, or pre-contract (bigamy), divorce due to problems experienced within marriage was difficult to obtain. Brundage describes the situation aptly as living in “holy deadlock.”14 The high-profile divorce of Lothar II (835–869), great-grandson of Charlemagne, illustrated the growing power of the church to enforce the bond of marriage and the fact it was no longer possible for kings to simply put away their wives. Finding himself in a barren marriage with Theutberga (d.875), Lothar attempted to use a wide variety of tools to secure a divorce. After appealing unsuccessfully to Frankish custom to reinstate his concubine Waldrada, he used accusations of adultery to try and obtain a divorce from his wife, but she proved her innocence. He tried to argue his relationship with Waldrada preceded his marriage to Theutberga, but the concubinage was not recognized as marriage. He tried to have Theutberga join a convent, but such a removal from the marriage bed still did not release the partners from their bond, or allow him to take on

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a new wife. Lothar needed the help of the church in securing a divorce but found an indomitable spirit in Hincmar (806–882), the archbishop of Reims. Hincmar already had a reputation for upholding the church’s views of marriage and was unwilling to grant anything other than a separation. Pope Nicholas I (c. 800–867) supported Hincmar, denounced Lothar’s treatment of his wife, and overturned the decision by local clergy to annul the king’s marriage. The king marched on Rome; in reply the pope threatened excommunication, which would allow the king’s uncles to seize and divide his lands between them—a threat Lothar already feared was brewing. Lothar was forced to accept the church’s power over the institution of marriage and although the changes to Frankish marriage had been slowly moving out of cultural, secular control and into line with Christian ideals, Lothar’s divorce helped to establish this.15 In the past, the nobility had been able to marry in ways the church found unsuitable, or to cling to pagan customs, such as concubinage, and the church had found itself unable to prosecute or undo unsuitable matches. However, legislation to end polygyny and endogamous unions and to decrease the attainability of divorce all “forced the aristocracy to develop new marriage patterns and … to marry wisely.”16 A king could no longer use multiple marriages in a strategy for advancement, nor could he dispense with queens who were no longer politically useful. Marriage strategy would now take generations to accomplish its dynastic goals. As the seriousness of these new laws became evident, from the Carolingian era onward, royal marriages became a concern of the nobility, and kings and princes were forced to seek the advice of their court and the most powerful allies within their own kingdoms. The trajectory toward the indissolubility of marriage was complicated by changes in both canon and secular law that defined what created the marriage bond—namely consent and a vow. Indeed, from the 1200s, any marriage, no matter how loosely contracted, whether witnessed or merely agreed upon by the couple themselves, was considered to be a commitment for life. The example of Joan of Kent (1328–85), the future mother of King Richard II of England (1367–1400), illustrates the complexities of this situation. At the age of twelve, Joan secretly married an older knight, Thomas Holland (1314–60), without the knowledge or permission of her family. He left on campaign, and Joan was subsequently married in a public, church ceremony to William Montacute (1328–97), the future earl of Salisbury, a man her own age, chosen by her family. When Holland, her secret husband, returned to the country and protested that Joan was his wife, her family rejected his claims. The papal court, however, found in Holland’s favor, upholding this first marriage, even though it was undertaken in secret without the consent of Joan’s family. Joan was returned to Holland, even though she had been “married” to another man for about eight years.17 The theological developments and legal decisions of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which concluded that only freely given consent of the two individuals involved made a marriage went hand in hand with insistence on indissolubility. As d’Avray puts it, “a choice that could not be revoked must not be imposed.”18 The marriage bond was so strong that even death was not powerful enough to sever the ties that bound husband and wife, their extended families, or their ties to the community. According to canon law, death served as the end of a marriage and freed the surviving spouse to marry again without being accused of bigamy or adultery. However, some ties that had bound a husband and wife together remained in force. For example, under canon law, the surviving spouse was still legally related to their in-laws; the couple’s children were, of course, related by blood to both the family of the living parent and the dead parent; and the goods and property that had been combined at the point of marriage were

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now part of a single family economy that might be re-divided amongst heirs, or kept as a united family holding. While personal, economic, and politically strategic considerations led some people to remarry, most widows did not.19 In both the Coronation Charter of Henry I (1100) and the Magna Carta (1215), consent is the key feature of the legality of a marriage and especially in the treatment of widows, who could not be remarried without their own consent, regardless of their age.20 Henry I’s Coronation Charter extended further protection to widows by promising that a widow with children should have her marriage settlement and dowry as long as she observed continence (effectively maintaining fidelity to her dead husband) and that she would only be married by the king “in accordance with her wishes.”21 This attaches property rights and status to St. Paul’s assertion (1 Cor. 7:8–9) that it is better for widows to remain unmarried, unless they cannot maintain continence.

FIGURE 4.2  The tomb of Lady Margaret Holland. © De Agostini/ S. Vannini via Getty Images.

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FIGURE 4.3  Guillaume de Tyr, Kiss of Peace between Richard Lionheart of England and Philip Augustus II of France. © The Picture Art Collection, Alamy Stock Photo.

Such was the continuing bond after death that legally, widows often took on the power, position, or even the persona of their husbands. For example, in Merovingian Francia, a widow assumed all her husband’s rights. She became the head of the household, controlled property and minor children and directed their educations and marriages. Unlike the widow under Roman law, the Merovingian widow did not revert back to the status of the property of her nearest male relative but became an autonomous figure.22 While the widow’s position in family, society, and law was often regionally specific, the continuity of marriage roles is evident in most places in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. As Kittell and Queller have shown in their research on widowhood in high medieval Flanders, this stage of life was not a marked period of emancipation for a woman, and, indeed, it was not a period that differed substantially from her status as a married woman. Their conclusions show little distinction between the status of “wife” or “widow” in society. The word “widow” was seldom used, instead widows were still listed as “wife of so-and-so” or “wife of the late so-and-so” in legal and business documents. The term “widow” was very rare in any documents and seems to indicate that even after death the link between husband and wife remained alive in the eyes of legal institutions. In court cases a widow was listed specifically as a wife, showing her status but also emphasizing that she was not alone but still protected and represented by her marital tie.23

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In his work on the widows of merchants in St. Omer, Jeff Rider found even more compelling evidence of the wife acting with the power and even in the persona of her late husband. Within the Merchants’ Guild, a widow took her husband’s seat in ceremonies, including secret ceremonies involving ritual wine drinking that confirmed the bonds between the members of the guild.24 Not only was the tie to her husband apparent but she also acted as a proxy for him in the other ties to which he was bound in life—his profession and his guild brothers. While death made one free to create another marital bond, the obligations and identity of established by the first marriage bond were rarely broken. Commemoration of the spouse could establish a physical, eternal image of their bond. The so-called Eleanor crosses commissioned by King Edward I (1239–1307) marked each of the twelve locations at which Queen Eleanor’s (1241–90) body rested on its journey back to Westminster for burial (Figure 4.1). Similarly tomb effigies could symbolize the tie, representing the couple lying side by side in death as in life. In the case of remarriages, burial choices indicated much of the ranking or nature of one’s marriage based on which spouse one chose to be buried next to and, indeed, remembered alongside. In a few cases, such as that of Margaret Holland, Duchess of Clarence (1385–1439), she chose to be buried with both her first husband, John Beaufort (1371–1410) as well as her second husband, Thomas of Lancaster (1387–1421). Her tomb effigy shows her in repose between her two spouses, honoring each bond equally (Figure 4.2).25

MARRIAGE AND TIES OF AUTHORITY Marriage was far from the only tie that bound and created a sense of community, accepted mutual obligations, and expected roles. Everyone in medieval society was bound by vertical ties of lordship with various overlapping and potentially competing hierarchies. Even those at the very top of society, emperors or popes, were still subject to God, although there were heated and at times bellicose conflicts about who among them was the predominant representative of God’s authority on earth. One of the major themes in discussions of medieval marriage is the differences in lay and ecclesiastical views of the marriage bond, their competition and development in relation to one another. Analyzing marriage practice, law, and literature in northern France in the twelfth century, Georges Duby proposed two models of marriage, aristocratic and ecclesiastical, highlighting different and antagonistic priorities: the church in favor of exogamy (marrying out) and indissolubility; and family in favor of endogamy (marrying within the group) and dissolubility.26 Nevertheless, both agreed on the importance of creating a legitimate union, and Christians had to respond to the demands of both authorities when it came to their marriage. Lordship was a fact of life for most people in medieval society; the lord acted as pater familias—a term from Roman law that could mean “father of the family” or “owner of the family estate”—and thus determined the business of the estate and the arrangements of those under his authority.27 While a vassal would arrange his children’s marriage, lords expected to be consulted as well and asked for their permission before marriage was contracted. Emperor Frederick II’s Liber Augustalis (1231), specifies that no vassal in his Sicilian kingdom “should dare” to marry, or arrange the marriage of their son or daughter, without license from Frederick’s court.28 The lord’s permission could, of course, be monetized. In England, Henry I’s Coronation Charter (1100) promised that there would be no charge, but his great-grandson John became notorious for selling permission to marry.29 At the other end of the social scale, it was normal practice that peasants would

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pay for their lord’s permission.30 However, the notion that lords would customarily and legally demand sexual favors for permission—the so-called droit de seigneur (the lord’s right) or jus primae noctis (the right of the first night), a central premise in Mozart’s le Nozze de Figaro (1786) and more recently in Braveheart (1995) —is inaccurate. No doubt lordship relationships were open to sexual abuse, but this was never a codified right.31 For freemen, the bond of lordship meant seeking a rubber stamp on a decision already made or in progress, but for the unfree the case was rather different. It was almost unthinkable that slaves had free will and the ability to consent to anything, let alone the tie of marriage.32 In the early Middle Ages the main concern was mixed marriages between free and unfree, although how this was dealt with was highly localized. In Galbert of Bruges’s (d.1143) chronicle, he relates the fates of four free knights who married into the Erembald clan—a family that had concealed its servile relationship with Count Charles the Good of Flanders (1084–1127), “resorting to this policy of intermarriage as a means by which he and his kin might gain a certain measure of secular liberty.”33 The unfree status of the wives came forward in a period of political destabilization, with the result that all four knights lost their free status, as according to the law of Flanders, any free man who remained with an unfree woman for a year, assumed her status. Galbert notes that this resulted in “that most ruinous conflict over servitude and liberty between the pious count Charles and the provost and his kinsmen.”34 Walter de Montague, writing in 1138, underlines the continuing lack of consensus on whether such unions were valid.35 Slavery as practiced in the ancient world all but ceased in Europe by the twelfth century, being found thereafter only in the Mediterranean in largely Islamic lands. However, various forms of unfreedom persisted and older notions of the primacy of the bond of slavery over the bond of marriage continued to be applied to the “servile” class of, technically free, serfs and servants. Theologians in the twelfth century argued over biblical precedent: should they follow 1 Peter 2:18 that urged servants to be submissive to their masters or Galatians 3:28 that there was no free or unfree in Christ?36 Analyzing English marriage litigation in the fourteenth century, Helmholz discusses this “error of condition” as an impediment to marriage. Despite the growing number of love matches and increasingly individual nature of marriage contracts in the late Middle Ages, the choices of the servile class were still limited by their masters’ approval, as shown in Pedersen’s examination of a case illustrating the power of a master in the marriage choice of an apprentice.37 As late as the fifteenth century, examples of disputes regarding servants’ freedoms to marry can be found. McSheffrey analyzes the case of a servant woman, Katherine Pekke, who was denied marriage on two different occasions for failing to gain the permission of her employer.38 One of the justifications for a lord’s control over marriage was to maintain peace: Henry I of England promised that the only situation where he would refuse permission was “if [the vassal] desires to marry [his kinswoman] to an enemy of mine.”39 The bond of marriage was routinely used in peace treaties in the hope of giving additional strength and longevity to an alliance through ties of kinship. This strategy, and its limits, are reflected in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. The king of the Danes (whose own queen is described as “peace-pledge of the nations”) agrees his daughter should be married so “by means of this woman, he should settle their share of the slaughterous feuds” although “it seldom happens … that the deadly spear rests for even a little while—worthy though the bride may be!”40 Real life examples of marriages for peacemaking or defense against mutual enemies abound in Europe and the Holy Land, even in the face of hearty objection. For example, the marriage of 14-year-old Judith (843–870), daughter of Charles the Bald, to the 61-year-old King Aethelwulf of Wessex (d.858) was a diplomatic alliance forged in

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the face of Viking attacks. The age gap shocked the Carolingians, but the alliance was so important that after the king’s death, Judith was married to his son Aethelbald (d.860). She was his stepmother and their marriage was in contravention of every contemporary incest bar. Such was the association of marriage alliances with political alliances that the behavioral language of marital love and cohabitation could be used to signify peace when a marriage alliance was not available. In 1187, the future Richard I, allied with the French King Philip Augustus: “they ate every day at the same table and from the same dish and at night their beds did not separate them (Figure 4.3).”41 Given that marriage symbolized Christ’s union with the church, creating an inseparable, indivisible union through Christian love (caritas), it was appropriate that diplomatic marriages should bring lasting bonds of peace and love between warring factions. According to Joinville, Louis IX answered his barons’ objections to peace with the English king saying: “You see … our wives are sisters and consequently our children are first cousins. That is why it is most important for us to be at peace with each other.”42 Perhaps it took a saint-king— Louis was canonized in 1297—to follow through on the obligations of peace through marriage networks.

FAMILY TIES The power of parents over the marriage of their children reinforces the image of marriage not only as a tie between two people but as a tie between families, dynasties, communities, power networks, and even cultures. In the early Middle Ages this was evident when the Gallo-Romans of the south and the Franks of the north were brought together under Merovingian control. While the appeal of Roman custom and law that dominated the marriage law within the Pactus might be hard to understand at first, it was the power dynamic within the family and control over how the family was expanded via marriage that proved to be undeniably attractive. It gave increasing authority to fathers over their daughters and a husband over his wife. Under this appropriated Roman law, a young woman did not reach her majority until the age of twenty-five, unlike boys, whose majority was established by Germanic custom at fifteen.43 Roman law was similarly used for girls in arranging their marriage: fathers held this right for their daughters and if the father should die, the girl’s brother or paternal uncle held the right to determine her marriage. While the church insisted that the marriage vow must be given willingly, the law did not allow for daughters to go against their parents’ wishes in this matter. Betrothal was legal and binding, even if the girl had been an infant or child at the time of its creation. While boys could break a betrothal and only suffer the loss of a bridal gift, the law made the breaking of a betrothal by the girl or her family almost impossible and certainly economically devastating. Most girls, especially from noble families, were betrothed by the age of twelve. First marriages for girls over the age of fifteen were rare.44 The family’s permission to create a marriage bond was so important that penalties for marrying without it were harsh and the guilty parties could even face excommunication. While women could be forced into marriage without parental consent by being abducted, such an act was only acknowledged if the woman was taken from outside the kingdom, as illustrated in the abduction of the Thuringian princess Radegund (520–587) who was subsequently married to Clotaire I, King of the Franks (c. 497–561).45 Abduction of a girl from a family within the king’s jurisdiction would threaten the peace and possibly provoke a blood feud and was, therefore, highly discouraged. It did, however, happen and this may have been behind the early betrothal and young marriage age for girls, in

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order to have them safely secured in marriage before they came of an age to be noticed and possibly abducted into a forced relationship against the parents’ wishes. Though heavily discouraged, clandestine marriages did occur, placing the papacy, which from 866 had argued the marriage tie only required the consent of those marrying, in direct opposition with family, community, and political concerns that often did everything possible to control marriage.46 For example, when Charles the Bald’s daughter Judith (843–870) eloped with Baldwin of Flanders (830–879) in 861, Charles (823–877) had Baldwin excommunicated for flouting his decree that all noble marriages must have his approval. However, the papacy upheld this marriage and overturned the excommunication. While Charles’s objections proved ineffectual, other families often found success in less aggressive but equally powerful measures, such as the denial of dowry or the threat of disinheritance in order to make a clandestine marriage unappealing or impossible. Still, some couples were willing to risk all in order to be together, as the young, widowed queen of Jerusalem Theodora (b.1145) proved when she eloped against the wishes of the ruling king and lost her dowry of the city of Acre.47 Indeed, as evidence from civil courts illustrates, couples attempting to escape an unwanted betrothal, unable to secure a divorce from an unwanted or unsuccessful marriage, or unwilling to wait until the death of a divorced spouse, sometimes chose to uproot from their community and family ties and begin life as a new family elsewhere.48 Mazo Karras’s work shows that large cities, such as Paris, were especially popular destinations for such couples for the anonymity they provided.49 Families wanted to maintain control over marriage as they often used the bond as a means to increase prestige by securing more impressive lines of high-status ancestry for the children of the marriage and safeguard the future reputation of the dynasty. Marrying outside your social rank met with disapproval: Caesarius of Arles found especially men marrying above their rank distasteful, while nobles’ fears of relatives marrying below them is illustrated in the Magna Carta’s promise that “Heirs shall be married without disparagement.”50 Maintaining aristocratic status was so important that Rosenthal recounts how one fourteenth-century aristocrat sought a dispensation for consanguinity before even going onto the marriage market as he believed he would not find someone suitable in his own class who was not related to him.51 The importance of ancestral ties can be seen in the ubiquitous medieval genealogies showing the descent of contemporary kings from key historical, mythical, or even sacred ancestors: Trojans, Adam and Eve, King David, Woden/Odin, etc. New royal lines, established by usurpers, were keen to establish their legitimacy and shrug off the image of the parvenu through marriage. In eleventh-century France, the Valerian prophecy declared that the Capetian dynasty would die out within seven generations of Hugh Capet unless the usurper Capetian blood was reunited with the original Carolingian royal line. This was later used by rival families in the empire and Flanders to undermine the legitimacy of Philip II Augustus of France (1165–1223).52 However, it seems that the prophecy itself was a concocted response to eleventh-century accusations of usurpation and illegitimacy, and, as all Capetian royal brides, with the exception of Anna of Kiev (1024–1075), could claim Carolingian blood, it was easy enough to show the successive kings born of these marriages overcame the prophecy with their admixture of Capetian and Carolingian blood. Nevertheless, demonstrating the link between the two blood lines was still key in the rearrangement of the tombs at St. Denis in the thirteenth century.53 The importance of claiming and exhibiting ancient and holy pedigrees is shown in the crown commissioned by Henry III (1207–72) of England for the marriage

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of his sister Isabella to the Emperor Frederick II at Worms in 1235. According to the chronicler Roger of Wendover, it was “most elaborately constructed out of pure gold adorned with jewels, and on it were carved likenesses of the four martyr and confessor kings of England, to whom the king had especially assigned the care of his sister’s soul.”54 Through her descent from Anglo-Saxon kings, the English bride could claim a holy and ancient lineage. While family marriage strategy became a very serious concern in the High Middle Ages, the female contribution to this important element of the ties that bound medieval society was largely overlooked, until recent works by scholars such as Lois Huneycutt and Theresa Earenfight whose work reappraises the place of queens within the institution of monarchy and the unique power of women as daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers, to manipulate the ties of marriage.55 One of the most powerful examples of marital strategy in the High Middle Ages was that of Agnes de Courtenay who, as a young widow with an enviable pedigree but little else, was able to secure a marriage to the brother of the king of Jerusalem. When her husband succeeded to the throne, it was decided he needed a better match than Agnes and their marriage was dissolved on the grounds on consanguinity. However, through her own subsequent marriages and those of her daughter and future queen, Sibylla, her status grew to the extent that she secured the appointment of nominees to the chief positions at court, wielded great territorial power, and was even able to refuse Raymond of Tripoli entry to the kingdom to see the king in 1182.56 Family control over marriage bonds was not only a concern of royalty and nobility, however, and nor was it only a Christian preoccupation. Middle-class Jewish marriage, for example, reflected the corporate nature of Jewish communities and was highly strategized. While endogamy was accepted practice and cousin marriage was common, marrying outside the family was an opportunity for families to widen their political, business, or cultural connections. While material advantage was a component of marital strategy, so was compatibility. The pairing of children with similar passions and abilities, or the pairing of children from families with similar backgrounds, such as scholars, artists, merchants, etc., was thought to enhance not only the bond between husband and wife and the two families, but also to influence future bloodlines due to the common belief that children often favored the personalities of their mother’s brothers.57 Just as in the Christian families, the importance of parental, especially paternal, consent and the tension between theories of free choice and actual practice is also clear in medieval Jewish and Islamic communities. Legally, Jewish women contracted their own marriages. As soon as a Jewish girl reached puberty, which was determined to be twelve and half years old, she could marry whom she wished. The Damascus Talmud, 933, describes such a girl as being “under her own jurisdiction.”58 In reality, such a young woman acting on her own was rare. Girls often had family members or trusted members of the community help them make such an important decision. Legally, the young woman had to grant her father a power of attorney in the presence of two witnesses. He could then act as her representative in selecting a husband, or he could appoint others to do so. This is in sharp contrast to the Islamic tradition in which women could not contract their own marriages; a male guardian would automatically take on this role, or if there was none available, the woman became a ward of the local government and a marriage partner would be found for her. In Islam a father could negotiate a marriage contract for an underage girl, but this was strictly forbidden by Talmudic law in Judaism. Only in the case of an orphaned girl with no family could the local elders arrange a marriage for an underage Jewish girl.59

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THE COMMUNITY The stability of marriage has always been of importance to the community, but the role of community ties in shaping marriage became even more prominent over the course of the period. While many aspects of marriage remained the same over time, several developments in the later Middle Ages become apparent: the age at first marriage increased dramatically, as did the number of self-contracted marriages, and the community took on a regulating and advisory role helping to form, regulate, and preserve the marriage bond. These apparently dramatic changes may reflect the survival of more sources from this period at the village level than at any other point in the Middle Ages, or could be due to the destabilizing nature of the Black Death and the need for the community to stand in as civil authority as well as in loco parentis for those who had lost family to war and illness. However, it is clear that despite the church’s insistence that only the consent of the couple created a marriage, in social practice the role of community certainly continued, even strengthened.60 In the fourteenth-century etiquette text How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, a young woman, likely of the merchant class, is instructed to consult her friends for advice, while in Langland’s Piers the Plowman, a girl who is considering a marriage match is advised to first consider her “father’s will, then her friends’ counsel, and then finally her own consent.”61 Not only is family, and specifically the patriarch, still of key importance but so is the community, for when one examines who the “friends” most often are, they commonly include uncles, mentors, members of the community, employers, and neighbors.62 The advice of friends and neighbors was not only an informal process in the seeking of a marriage mate or the forming of a marriage contract but was formalized through the “banns,” introduced as an essential part of marriage at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.63 The banns were simply announcements of forthcoming marriages from the pulpit on three successive holy days with at least one normal day in between, giving opportunity for any who knew of previously contracted marriages, inappropriate degrees of relation, etc., to come forward. Through the banns the church enlisted community interest in creating legitimate, appropriate, and lasting matches to help enforce ecclesiastical rules. The reading of the banns was the clearest way to avoid accusations of a clandestine relationship and became such an expected part of the marriage process that even those who knew there was a problem with their union, wanted this endorsement, even if obtained under false pretenses. The Council of London (1342) ruled that any couples who temporarily moved “to cities and well-populated towns in which they do not have an advance reputation,” so the banns would be read to a community who did not know them so they could marry without an impediment coming to light, should be excommunicated, along with any priest who solemnized marriages for anyone other than his own parishioners without special permission.64 This London Council described this type of runaway marriage as a “very common vice,” especially for couples who knew they were related to each other within the church’s definition of incest. Clearly, by this date banns were such an expected part of a legitimate marriage process that these intentionally deceitful couples went out of their way to have them read. Despite the Council’s concerns, other evidence shows many lay people were genuinely troubled by consanguineous relationships and very keen to avoid them.65 The community’s interest in the marriage bond did not cease with the wedding ceremony however; it had a vested interest in the stability of marriages to maintain peace within the community. A fractured marriage bond could stress or break a multitude of

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other ties within the community, and it was in the community’s best interests to address challenges within the marriage tie such as adultery and domestic abuse. To this end, the community of friends, relatives, neighbors, and employers actively engaged to support secular and ecclesiastical courts in their actions against such infringements and provided shelter for the abused spouse while attempts at arbitration were made.66 Besides giving testimony in secular and civil law cases, people took direct action to uphold their own community standards regarding the marriage bond. Barbara Hanawalt notes that “the village community could intervene in cases involving property or physical damages.”67 As the marriage tie fused two families’ property, goods, and business, and marital problems affected this literally as well as figuratively, by breaking up the home, the community was the rightful justice in such matters. Members of the community often acted as a kind of social police to intervene and stop perpetrators from committing or recommitting an act after arbitration had taken place. They even took on the role of punishing those guilty by holding public shaming rituals. Punishments could include whipping, shaving the adulteress’ head, a public ride in a cart, public beatings, enforced pilgrimages, and almsgiving.68 While communities in the rest of Europe did not have the power and authority of those in England, similar acts of intervention, arbitration, and punishment carried out by the families of those involved took place, sometimes in direct conflict with secular law that forbade such action.69 However, the community’s role in upholding its standards was so pervasive, that by the early sixteenth century, local courts were commonly in control of cases that threatened the stability of a marriage and thus the community.70 While “community” is often thought of as a geographic entity, community was also very much a construction of social class. In the late Middle Ages, guilds for the rising merchant classes and chivalric orders for the aristocracy created communities that, at least initially, helped conform to the church’s demand for exogamy, most people’s concern with avoiding social miscegenation and unions between people of different classes. Joan of Kent’s marriages give an excellent example of this status bound community.71 Joan’s first husband, with whom she had a secret clandestine marriage, and her second, familyapproved, husband both fought on the Crécy campaign alongside her future husband, Edward, the Black Prince (1330–76) and all three men became knights of the new, ultraelite, Order of the Garter. However, naturally, marrying within a limited status group for several generations, led to precisely the type of family blood ties which prohibited marriage. Unlike in Christianity, marriage in Judaism was considered a necessary aspect of faith as well as community. The biblical command found in Genesis 1:28 to multiply and conquer the earth was a command for men. Interestingly, in the Jewish tradition it was not seen as a command for women, as the wording of the scripture demanded conquest, which was interpreted as a masculine action.72 As such marriage became part of the male life cycle and was seen as the natural state of adult men. Although women were not commanded to marry, there was no place in the Jewish community for a woman who did not marry. While widowhood was an accepted state of unmarriage for a woman, there was not even a word for “spinster.”73 Marriage was part of the order of the universe itself, establishing the hierarchy of men over women. And while differences in marriage custom between the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews existed, each heavily influenced by the dominant culture in their geographic areas, there are enough similarities to discuss overall models of Jewish marriage in medieval Europe.74 Marriage was achieved through engagement, betrothal, and consummation, similar to Christian practice. Unique to

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Judaism, however is the ketubah, or marriage contract. While the ketubah detailed the dowry that the bride would bring to the marriage, the cost of the wedding, the wedding gifts, etc., it also revealed much more. The ketubah resembles a business contract or charter; it details the exact place and time of marriage and under which individual’s or institution’s jurisdiction the marriage is performed. It confirms that both parties were in full command of mental faculties, entered into the marriage of their own free will, and that each step of the marriage process has been conducted under the law, therefore negating any future attempts to find loopholes or other possible excuses for annulment. The names of the fathers of the bride and groom and representatives who may have negotiated the marriage are recorded. The groom’s occupation is listed and marriage gifts are described, itemized, and accounted for, with certified annotation if any amount remains unpaid at the time of marriage and installments are scheduled (Figure 4.4). Beyond economic concerns, the ketubah also outlines the exact nature of the bond and agreed duties of the husband and wife. Marriage in Judaism had a strong sexual element and it is common to find vows of regular intercourse. There are often stipulations listed in the ketubah from both sides regarding reputation, or abuse, the husband promising fidelity, to keep only one wife, have no unapproved maids, not force his wife into oaths, etc. Protection clauses are common, including financial protection of familial goods should one of the partners die before they have children. These clauses often guarantee the marriage goods will return to the families, unless otherwise stipulated in the ketubah. Other protection clauses reflect the challenges faced by wives, including time limits imposed on husbands who travel overseas. These clauses often mandated that the husband draw up divorce bills before leaving so that if he died, never returned, or placed his wife in long-term hardship by repeated or extended absence, she could divorce him. Common in many ketubahs were clauses that stipulated if the wife were raped, the husband must still live with her and treat her “without a grudge.”75 Once the negotiations were settled and the ketubah drawn up and signed, the document continued to be a presence in the marriage. The backs of ketubahs were left blank so they could be used in accounting for outstanding marriage gifts, areas for further marriage negotiation later in the marriage, perhaps after an infringement of one of the agreed clauses, or to add addenda of the requirements of the original document. Strategizing can, of course, go wrong. In Goitein’s collection of thousands of sources for the history of medieval Jews throughout the Mediterranean, there are many cases in which even the most explicit ketubah was unable to secure a safe marriage. While the ketubah is a powerful document, it relies on the community nature of the Jewish marriage to be enforced and is ultimately only one part of a complex marriage strategy. While Jews always had a written contract stipulating their marriage bond, Christians, who could marry by word or gesture alone, did not require one. Pope Nicholas I in 866 does refer to written copies of the agreements made verbally and through gesture (ringgiving) by Christians at betrothal and marriage, but states that only consent is required: “since so great a lack of property limits some people so no help is available to support these preparations … on this account, let their consent alone … be sufficient.”76 Although written contracts were not required, and the lack of surviving examples suggests they were rare, in the later Middle Ages couples increasingly turned to written contracts to formalize expectation of what the tie involved.77 While bride-gifts and dowry were common at Christian betrothal, tokens that were exchanged at time of contract began to mimic the practices of commercial contracts, such as exchanging coins or a drink.78 Practices reminiscent of civil contract were common, such as breaking a ring at the time of

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FIGURE 4.4  Ketubah, Contracting Marriage, fourteenth century. © ART Collection/Alamy Stock Photo.

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marital contract with each partner keeping half. This practice immediately calls to mind the use of tally sticks or the chirographs used in the drawing up of indenture documents.79

MARRIAGE AND CHRISTIAN DEVOTION Medieval marriage ties helped further Christianization and conversion. The marriage tie could be a strategic tool to accomplish a wide variety of goals, often concurrently. This is especially clear in the early Middle Ages in Clovis’s political strategy to replace the Gallo-Roman aristocracy with a Franco-Norman court nobility and a church strategy to Christianize the emerging kingdom through a top-down conversion of its leaders and people. Germanic families were eager to marry their sons to Gallo-Roman women in a play for power. However, many of these wives came from families that insisted upon the husband’s conversion to Christianity as part of the marriage pact, as illustrated in Clovis’s own marriage to Clotilde, the Christian princess of Burgundy. This established new sociopolitical ties as well as a new religious tie to the community of Christians. Shared faith provided a second kind of family tie and resulted in the acceptance of Catholic Christianity by the King of the Franks and ultimately, the conversion of the entire kingdom. The marriage strategy of the Merovingians to secure borders and reinforce trade relations with their neighbors also had far-reaching consequences for Christianizing other lands. For example, when Bertha (564–601), the daughter of Charibert I, married Aethelberht, the Anglo-Saxon King of Kent (589–616), her marriage contract stipulated she be allowed to continue practicing Christianity. While Aethelberht was not required to convert to Christianity as part of the marriage, illustrating his own power and autonomy from the Frankish court, he did eventually convert and helped to promote the Augustinian mission to bring Christianity to southern England. Their daughter, Aethelburgh (d.647) married King Edwin of Northumbria (d.632) and was responsible for his conversion, establishing not only familial and Christian bonded relationships between the Franks and the two Anglo-Saxon kingdoms controlling the entrance to the Channel but also creating a tie between the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms themselves through marriage. Faith was one of the most powerful bonds of the Middle Ages, yet marriage proved to be a tie of almost equal power. The question of how commitment to one’s spouse or to one’s faith was to be honored was usually resolved by supporting the bond created first. St. Monegund (d.570), a Frankish hermit and later a saint, provides one of the first cases of this conflict within a Christian marriage. A married woman, Monegund initially attempted to become an anchoress in a private room within the marital home but later received permission from her husband to move out, first to Chartres and ultimately to Tours. However, as Monegund’s reputation spread, her husband “assembled his friends and neighbors and came after her and brought her back with him and put her in the same cell in which she had lived before.”80 Even though he had granted permission for her to pursue life as a holy recluse, her husband was within his rights to bring her home, as established in 1 Corinthians 7:39 which asserts a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. Interestingly, breaking conjugal bonds does not appear to be a problem in the hagiography of male saints but does figure often in those of female saints.81 Despite the many changes marriage underwent as an institution from the early Middle Ages through to the fifteenth century, the husband’s right to expect cohabitation and demand sex remained constant, as illustrated in the Book of Margery Kempe (1373–1438), the biography of a merchant-class English woman who sought, like Monegund, to end her marital responsibilities and embrace a life of pilgrimage and holiness. A key theme

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is Margery’s struggle with her husband John, who does not want to give up sex and continues to have intercourse with her for three years after she tells him she no longer wishes to do so. Although he eventually agrees to live chastely with Margery, the threat of resumed intercourse looms over the marriage. She is finally able to secure a vow that he will release her from the marital debt, if she clears his monetary debts and eats with him on Fridays. Unlike Monegund’s husband, John released Margery from this expectation of marriage, conferring his privilege to God, when he declares “May your body be as freely available to God as it has been to me.”82 While many women, such as Monegund and Margery, had not been given the choice to remain chaste, but due to the dictates of their sex and social class had been expected to marry, other conflicts arose, especially for men who had entered the priesthood but wanted to marry and have families. One of the most contentious relationships was that of a priest and his wife or concubine, revealing later medieval attitudes about the inability of marriage to coexist with other ties, such as a priest’s tie to the church. Before the eleventhcentury reforms, and what Brooke terms the “Cult of Celibacy,” only the major orders (monks) were required to stay chaste.83 Previously, marriages of priests may have been frowned upon but were valid marriages and recognized as a human reality, if not the ideal of the faith. However, the First Lateran Council in 1123 forbade clerical marriage and required those already married to separate while the second, in 1139, declared that any union of a priest and a woman was invalid. As Mazo Karras points out, the enforcement of clerical celibacy was not so much about the sexuality of priests, but it was about the nature of the ties that bind. The priest was already in union with God and the church, any other relationship could only be a concubine.84 d’Avray sees the reforms of clerical life as an essential step in the church establishing authority over lay marriage.85 Concern over the nature of the union constantly brought to the fore the expectations of the marriage, including payment of the conjugal debt. While absence from the home and suspension of sexual activity was often a necessary part of trade for a merchant, in the High Middle Ages a new and sustained period of military action began to call men for prolonged periods of duty: the Crusades. Crusading placed the family in the path of many dangers: physically, economically, and maritally. Crusading put both partners in a place of temptation, as neither spouse would be able to fulfill their marital due for months or possibly years at a time. Because of this threat of sin and the other hardships a Crusader was bringing upon his wife, husbands initially had to get their wives’ approval to go on crusade. However, Innocent III removed this requirement in his Ex multa of 1201, most likely because men were not fulfilling their initial vows to go on crusade due family commitments and fear for their wives. For while the church had granted crusaders’ wives special protections against incursions on their bodies, lands, businesses, and protection for the inheritance of their children, stories of lost lands, disenfranchised heirs, and murdered and deprived wives were too common for comfort.86 Under pressure, the marriage tie was more powerful and enduring than even vows to the faith. Perhaps it is the power of the marriage bond, when pushed, to defy even the ties of society and faith that made interfaith marriages the most suspicious. In most areas of Europe, Christians were harshly discouraged from entering such a union, as the nonChristian partner was not only of a different faith (meaning it would be impossible for the couple to forge community ties together) but would have been considered a lower class because of their religion. Most laws about such relationships do not even consider interfaith marriage but only sex, laying out punishments from fines, to enslavement, to death for transgressing such boundaries, with harsher penalties for Christian women

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taking non-Christian lovers or spouses than Christian men doing the same.87 The almost complete lack of laws pertaining to marriage between members of different faiths seems to imply that one mate would convert to the dominant faith rather than living in a multifaith household. In Spain especially, where the three Abrahamic faiths lived side by side, penalties for sex between unmarried interfaith couples were severe. However, there is evidence that couples could use the differing laws of the faiths to their advantage, converting to a faith that allowed closer degrees of marriage, for example, if they were considered to be within prohibited degrees of relation in another. Karras also notes that some of the cases of Jews who were prosecuted for circumcising Christian children may be evidence of interfaith households where conversion may have been in name only and a Jewish parent was still practicing their faith while married to a Christian spouse.88 These marriages were threatening and highly problematic. Since the usual community ties of faith were not secured and the marriages were adrift, with no bond to a wider group to regulate the marriage, sexual activity therein, the place of children and the couple’s standing in society. In conclusion, marriage was one of the major bonds an individual could make in the Middle Ages, affecting their status, security, and hopes of continuing their family line. Christianization and the church’s development of, and insistence on, a trinity of monogamy, indissolubility, and freely given consent changed the union significantly. The marriage bond was at its strongest when fully aligned within a web of other social ties and demands. The marriage bond’s roots in faith, family, community, and authority were some of the most powerful within medieval society—so powerful that even when problems within the church, the economy, or the marriage itself threatened to tear it apart, it was seldom successfully undone. While marriage was only one of the many bonds a person would enter into in life, it was the bond upon which all others were modeled and upon which many derived their own authority or power and upon which the hopes of the church and society were based.

CHAPTER FIVE

The Family Economy FREDERIK PEDERSEN

INTRODUCTION: THREE TIME PERIODS Family economy is the term that signifies the internal organization of production and consumption within the family unit, the familia. Throughout the millennium covered in this chapter, the main unit of economic activity was based around a familia, but, as one would expect, the meaning of the word changed and meant something different at the end of the period than it had at the beginning. The familia of the late Roman Empire and the early Middle Ages was comprised of large numbers of people who were not necessarily related by blood, who were engaged in numerous economic activities, and whose members were subject to the authority of one person, the paterfamilias. By the end of the period, the predominant unit of economic activity was still akin to a familia, i.e., a group of economic agents that were subject to the authority of a head of the household (who was most commonly the senior male member of the unit), but the family group had shrunk in size to include only a small number of people, whose membership was primarily defined by their place in a hierarchy of blood relations. As the family groups became more exclusive, they gained an advantage in being able to respond more quickly to the economic opportunities and challenges brought about by social, legal, and demographic change. It therefore makes sense for the purposes of the present analysis to divide our treatment into three distinct periods which correspond to these changes. The earlier period, from the sixth to the eleventh century, was characterized by the gradual diminution of the Roman familia and similar Germanic groups. As production became increasingly specialized and market-oriented, the units of production became smaller, and individuals took on more sharply defined roles. By the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the legal, theological, and philosophical framework of the most influential governmental institutions, i.e., the church and the government administrations of European rulers, increasingly defined the body that was economically active as what we today would recognize as a “family.” This smaller (and more agile) body of producers was able to weather the demographic crisis of the fourteenth century and, as a concomitant, enabled an even smaller group of producers, essentially consisting of individuals, to flourish, at least until toward the end of our chronological period.

THE EARLY MEDIEVAL AGE, C. 500–1000 The change from large units to smaller units is reflected in the changing meaning of the word familia. The Roman jurist Ulpian defined family as “the many persons who by nature or law are set under the authority of an individual, such as the paterfamilas.”1As

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late as during the reign of Charlemagne, estates as large as 2,000 to 4,000 acres would be cultivated by servi, of whom maybe 10 to 20 percent were what we today would call slaves.2 When the Venerable Bede used the word familia around 700 CE it referred to the lands controlled by a paterfamilas rather than the persons under his control, as did its use in the same century in Eadmer’s Vita sancti Wilfridi. Thus, the great Roman villae worked by large gangs of slaves was gradually replaced by smaller peasant holdings worked by families, whose members were bound together by ties of kinship and who enjoyed a larger—though still not total—degree of freedom. These ties could be based both on blood relationships and by spiritual relationships, such as affinity or adoption. This reorganization of the social structures of society, which was largely in place by the beginning of the twelfth century, encouraged the development of a relatively uniform system of production over the succeeding centuries. This has led some historians to characterize it as a system of “commensurable households,” i.e., that there was one, dominant unit of organization which could be found across social and geographical boundaries. By the end of the eleventh century, the living arrangements of the rich show more similarities with than differences from the homes of the less fortunate.3 Consequently, the word family needs to be understood in context: at certain times and in certain areas it encompassed all persons inhabiting farmsteads or peasant holdings found both within and outside the Roman Empire, and, as time marched on, these “family units” became increasingly uniform and more similar to the definitions familiar to modern historians. Peter Laslett suggests that a historian should focus on all those who contributed to the household’s income. The family group should include those inhabiting “the accommodation provided by a building, or in certain cases a number of conjoined or contiguous buildings, [for example] a farmhouse with a yard surrounded with outhouses which can be made suitable for occupation by people.”4 Laslett emphasized the importance of including all persons resident on a holding because they functioned for most purposes as a coordinated workforce working toward the promotion of its group-interest, even when such a workforce consisted of members of more than a single kin group or indeed if they maintained separate arrangements for consumption and housekeeping. Direct and reliable information on the internal organization of work in these familiae is rare and practices varied significantly across Europe’s regions. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the words for family and family members were applied to different groups of people according to context and that the use of the word both by modern historians and archeologists and in contemporary written sources is far from consistent. The lack of an agreed definition of the word familia meant that it never formed the basis of a census or even taxation. Theologians or philosophers went so far as to define it, not as consisting of persons but developed the definition that it consisted in the possessions of the paterfamilias or, as mentioned above, in the lands under his control. We have already mentioned that the Venerable Bede, whose use of the word is the earliest recorded use of the word familia in the British Isles, mean “lands” and this meaning, or the alternative meaning of “(monastic) community,” dominated its use in the British Isles well into the eleventh century. It was not until 1057 that William of Malmsbury used the word for the first time to signify a “family related by blood.”5 Most slaves would have been owned by men, but both slaves and land could be owned by women as well. In England, Æthelgifu, an elite woman who left a bequest of 70 oxen, 34 cows, 760 sheep, 3 herds of pigs, and rents in kind, had more than enough people to work her estate: she freed 70 slaves (including her priest) and bequeathed a number of other slaves to her friends and family.6

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The archeological record of continental northern Europe demonstrates that a fundamental change took place in the organization of society at the beginning of our period. The basic unit of habitation and of production, which used to be located in longhouses, developed into farmsteads and, driven by technological changes such as the introduction of heavy plows and crop rotation, farmsteads were increasingly organized into villages consisting of habitations of ever smaller numbers of people. Minor farmers and landless workers entered leading farmsteads’ households as clients or as slaves. These new farmsteads offered much better opportunities for organizing production effectively and centered around a household comprising both free and unfree laborers.7 The typical habitation at the beginning of the early Middle Ages consisted of a main house and outlying buildings. Humans and livestock shared the main building, which was divided in two sections: one for livestock and another for humans. It is likely that all humans lived under the same roof but also that there was a certain amount of social stratification, particularly between slaves and freemen. The main house would be surrounded by smaller huts, which were used for storage or housed workshops for the manufacture of cloth or minor iron works. These houses were often dug into the ground, which meant that they were easy to construct and relatively well insulated.8 These fairly simple habitations gradually changed: the animals were moved out of the habitation area and into purposebuilt stables which could house up to one hundred cattle. The main building also changed to support larger and more complex living quarters, sometimes with several floors. In the later part of the period, farmsteads were often distributed around a central square and covered a large area. Their status as the centers of production for a well-defined group of inhabitants is confirmed by the fact that such habitations and their outhouses were commonly surrounded by fences. As these settlements became larger and concentrated in recognizable villages, the physical, internal organization of farmsteads became more complex. Large groups of individuals lived, worked, and consumed goods under the same roof. Iron age farmsteads, which had been easily accessed from the main roads of the village, became fenced off from their neighbors in the fifth to sixth centuries, indicating an increased awareness of private property and the farmstead as a focus of production and consumption. They also carried out more diverse economic activity than previously. For example, in Scandinavia the oldfashioned rubbing stone-querns used for grinding flour were replaced during the fourth and fifth centuries by more efficient rotary querns while new, more complex weaving patterns and a relocation of the activity of looms indicate that cloth was becoming a more important product, which was produced not only for domestic consumption but also for the market.9 Such changes in the internal organization of production affected both men and women. The increasing market orientation was reflected in the relocation of looms from the main living areas of the farmstead to separate (and better-lit) outhouses. A concomitant to this development must have been the establishment of a class of itinerant merchants and artisans who provided access to markets and provided specialist goods for the farmstead.10 Despite the relative scarcity of written evidence to document changes in social practices in the period 500–1000 CE, several scholars, including Karl Schmid and Georges Duby, have argued that a fundamental “feudal mutation” took place around 1000 CE.11 Although they do not argue that social change brought about this “mutation,” it coincided with the refinement of the church’s teaching and legislation on marriage. In turn, this intellectual change brought about the birth of a narrower definition of family and kin. Perhaps going farther than the evidence allows, they also argued that this brought about an emphasis

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on patrilineage and primogeniture in western Europe.12 Consequently, Europe saw a mingling of Germanic and Roman customs which took different shapes and progressed at different speeds across the various European regions. We do not know the details of how inheritance was passed from generation to generation in the early Middle Ages, nor do we know the extent of female inheritance rights. But later eleventh- and twelfth-century evidence points to women having some inheritance rights: in England, the Domesday Book (1086) shows that daughters could inherit land if there were no surviving male heirs; among the Normans women took inheritance and maintained rights over their inherited lands; and in Scandinavia women enjoyed inheritance rights, although not at the same level as their male siblings. The archeological record suggests that there had been a gradual erosion of female inheritance rights: Danish archeological evidence shows that, in pre-Christian times, women had commonly been buried with as many (and as valuable) grave goods as the men, indeed, some of the most opulent, such as those in Himlingøje og Årslev, were women’s graves.13

THE HIGH AND LATE MIDDLE AGE (c. 1100–1500) The twelfth century marks a watershed in European economic and social life. Not only did the period see what some historians have characterized as a legal and economic “revolution” which caused profound economic and cultural change.14 It also saw the development of a system of fairs and markets that facilitated regional and international trade, and the emergence of cities as centers not only of consumption of goods but also as the focus of new, proto-industrial modes of production in certain sectors of the economy. Mediterranean cities became entry points where merchandise of all kinds was imported, stored or traded and usually exported to other parts of Europe. In northern Europe the economy was generally based on agriculture but was supplemented in coastal areas by fishing on an industrial scale and, in the fertile and densely populated Low Countries, by industry. This made for a vibrant economic climate which benefited from the agility of smaller family units that were more flexible than past family organizations and thus encouraged the consolidation of a smaller, more sharply defined family based around the conjugal unit as the basic unit of economic production both in towns and in rural areas. The long twelfth century also saw the culmination of two separate developments: the European familia completed its transition from a loosely defined community of producers to a unit of producers bound together by well-defined bonds, either based on relations of blood or of spiritual affinity, and the church refined its legal thinking in areas of family law. Since the time of Augustine marriage had been an essential part of the regulation of human sexuality, but it had taken almost six hundred years for the focus to shift from the regulation of sexuality to providing firm rules regulating how the conjugal unit was established and maintained.15 After a period of uncertainty lasting from the ninth to the eleventh century, during which the church was unable to provide clear guidance on matrimonial matters, the combined effect of the rediscovery of Roman law, the rise of centers of learning, and of the academic reexamination of the church’s legal corpus, which the new centers of learning engendered, combined with an increased activity in papal courts in matters of matrimony, made the conjugal unit the nucleus of family life and economy. But it was not just the Christian community that discussed what constituted a conjugal unit. Jews had established a strong presence in several areas of Europe. Stealing a march on the Christians, they had developed centers of learning and academic analysis by the

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early eleventh century. Both Jewish and Christian scholars engaged in a lively debate on marriage. Both traditions regarded marriage as a contract and tried to define the limits of acceptable behavior in marriage. The influential rabbi Gershom ben Judah of Mainz (c. 960–1028) issued prohibitions of polygamy and involuntary divorce which came to be generally accepted in medieval European Jewish society.16 His decision may be seen as a Jewish response to the Christian prohibition of divorce, but it also reflects the reality of the relatively high status of Jewish women in their families. Rabbi Gershom’s analysis of the conjugal unit also provided a number of protections of the woman’s economic interests. Although Jewish law allowed divorce, Gershom’s decisions provided a number of improvements to women’s status: a wife could not be divorced against her will after the eleventh century and in Muslim areas she could expect her contract to prevent her husband from taking a second wife against her will. She could prevent him from beating her, traveling abroad without her consent, he could not force her to move to foreign lands, and in some cases, her ketubah—a written agreement which outlined the rights and responsibilities of the groom in relation to the bride—even inventoried her dowry.17

The sexual division of work Apart from the pictorial record, evidence of the work involved in the family economy during this period is mainly drawn from manorial accounts of hired labor, which means that direct and reliable information on women’s work on the holding is relatively scant. Although men and women shared responsibility for maintaining the family economy, they rarely performed the same tasks. Historians argue that this pattern of differences reflected a principle which located women’s work in the household and men’s outside it.18 Women fed and clothed the household and men concentrated on field work.19 Even among rural gentry a similar division existed, and in cities women specialized in work carried out inside the family dwelling or manor while men normally monopolized work that took them away from the home. The majority of the medieval population lived in the countryside, and in rural areas the household was the most important center of production—for internal consumption as well as for distribution via the market. Family members worked both for subsistence and for the market. Their work most often took place within the household itself. But even when it did not, for example, in the case of merchants and tradespeople, the members of a household formed an economic unit which worked to sustain its members as a group and many legal systems reflected this reality. The kind of family economy through which women gained high labor status can usefully be distinguished from the family economy which produced for subsistence. While the two were similar in their demographic characteristics and in their aims, the “surplus production unit” that we are considering here differs from the subsistence activities that dominated the rural countryside: it did not produce solely for household use but participated actively in the marketplace.20 It should also be distinguished from the family economy in which members worked for wages to meet household subsistence needs. The market-oriented family economies did not sell the labor of its members. Instead, it produced goods for sale in a monetized economy. Martha Howell names this the “family production unit,” but a more appropriate name for such a unit could be a “surplus production unit.”21 These units were prevalent where money rents were paid out of marketed surpluses and the gendered work of women made a significant and direct contribution from both cultivation and home manufacture.

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The surplus production unit could earn its members high labor status in a market economy because it alone could have full control over the economic resources of production and distribution in a market society.22 Men and women of such units more easily worked independently of one another than men and women of family economies concentrating on subsistence. In the latter, a strict division of labor by sex was the rule. Some historians attribute division of labor to the fact that it insured the most efficient allocation of production time and thus best served the consumption needs of the family, others see it as an expression of patriarchal norms and practices.23 It is certainly the case that cultural norms continued to distinguish between masculine and feminine work—perhaps because of a need to maintain cultural gender distinctions. Eileen Power may have been the first medievalist to suggest that women’s physical capabilities and their roles as mothers made them less suitable for certain work, and this analysis has become commonplace in the discussion of the assignment of gender roles.24 Christopher Middleton raised a number of issues with this commonplace: while no one can argue that the biological imperatives of pregnancy, childbirth, and wet-nursing may have restricted the mobility of mothers with young children, this does not explain the extension of tasks such as domestic housework, the rearing of older children, cleaning, and cooking to the unmarried, the widowed, and the childless wife. Nor does it explain why the manufacture and repair of utensils and agricultural implements were typically a male responsibility.25 Family economies were defined not only by the common participation of their members in one productive effort but by the way their members shared economic, social, and political resources. In some families all members joined in a common task but each assumed a different aspect of the task. In other families, tasks were shared or interchanged as needed. In still others, each member might engage in a separate business activity, such as fishing or trade (Figure 5.1). In rural societies based on agriculture and animal husbandry adult tasks tended to be divided along recognizable gender lines. Evidence can be produced from numerous sources, literary, pictorial, and legal. Extensive pictorial examples of gendered work can be found in medieval frescoes and manuscript illuminations, and the slogan of the English 1381 rebels, “when Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” emphasizes the existence of a gendered labor division. A more detailed contemporary source is The Ballad of a Tyrannical Husband, an (incomplete) late fifteenth-century version of an older poem, which contrasts the chores of a poor but “good huswyfe, curteys and heynd goodwife” with those of her husband. The poem originated in the High Middle Ages, but there is little reason to doubt that the theme and the description of the wife’s contribution to the family economy would not be much different across time and space—at least since the early period of the medieval agrarian revolution of the tenth and eleventh centuries. In the poem the husband complains that although he has been performing the heavy labor of plowing the fields with his “lade” and that he had “to walke in the clottes that be wette and mere” all day, his idle wife has not prepared “owr dyner.” He claims that his wife spends her time doing nothing but gossiping with neighbors. She responds and defends herself with a litany of jobs that she has to perform around the house: when she wakes up after a sleepless night with the newborn baby, she finds her husband asleep and the house in a mess. While her husband and the children sleep, she milks the kine26 and sends them into the fields. When her husband leaves, she makes butter, wakes the children, feeds the chickens, hens, capons, ducks, and looks after their geese who are on the green far away from the house. But that is not all: she bakes and brews ale, she combs the pounded but unworked flax, she separates the chaff from the grain, and she stirs the pot in the kitchen.

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FIGURE 5.1  Limbourg brothers, Très riches heures de le duc de Berry, 1412–1416. Photo R.M.N. / R.-G. Ojéda courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

She combs, cards, and spins wool on the wheel. When her husband objects that these chores cannot be enough to fill her day, she adds that she also makes linen and woolen cloth to make clothes for the children so the family does not have to purchase these things at the market. In addition to all these chores, she has to feed the livestock for a second time before her husband returns: no wonder she has no time to put dinner on the table.27 Male tasks on the farm included plowing, hedging, ditching, reaping, mowing, spaying, and gelding while women’s farm work included planting, winnowing, gathering straw, stubble and chaff, and weeding. Women also took care of the poultry and the dairy, as we saw in the poem mentioned above. But arrangements varied with the seasons and, when the demands of the agricultural seasons demanded it, the sexual division of work could be forced by necessity to be more flexible and gender nonexclusive.28 A rich variety of female tasks can be found in contemporary pictorial representations: the aristocratic manuscript of Les tres riches heures de le duc de Berry shows women

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engaged  in most of the seasonal male tasks listed above—such as reaping, binding, mowing, and carrying corn. The Roman des Girart von Roussillon,29 a Flemish illuminated manuscript from 1447 shows female stone masons and building workers. Heavy plowing appears to be the only task from which women were almost totally excluded, but even in this regard there is evidence that women were accustomed to drive the plow oxen on some estates.30 Frescoes in numerous Scandinavian churches, whose intended audience was of a much lower social status than that of illuminated books, show women harvesting, churning butter, spinning wool, cooking, and looking after children. Hanawalt’s analysis of coroners’ reports of death by misadventure in thirteenth- to fifteenth-century England adds more documentary evidence that peasant men and women not only undertook different tasks but had separate spheres of activity. She found that most women died in or around their homes, for example when fetching water, whereas men were more likely to die in fields or forests, or while harvesting or carting. Women’s main sphere of work was the home, whereas men’s was fields and forests. However, she also found that, during certain times, men and women performed many of the same tasks outside the home, and manorial records show that women did undertake some of the same work as men for pay, such as reaping, binding, thatching, and shearing sheep.31 Whether rural or urban, households were not only affected by the seasons. Their organization also varied depending on their type of land tenure or rent arrangements. For most of the Middle Ages land-holding fell into two categories. One method was by feudal tenure, where the landlord provided the means of production, for example livestock and seeds, and the tenant provided the labor necessary to cultivate the land and rear the livestock, and where the peasantry worked the lord’s demesne.32 The other form

FIGURE 5.2  Master of the City of Ladies, 1400–1415, Bibliothèque nationale de France, The Yorck Project (2002) Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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FIGURE 5.3  Daily Life, Eve Spins Wool and Adam Ploughs, c. 1475–1550. © Photo: Kirsten Trampedach, 2010. National Museum of Denmark, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

of tenure was land-holding for a fixed money rent. The period from around 1100 to 1500 saw an increasing number of peasant holdings converted from feudal tenure, where rents were due in kind, to rents paid in cash, or paid by providing laborers to do assigned boon work. The change toward a more monetized economy facilitated a move from simple selfsufficiency to production, often on a considerable scale, for the market.33 Those families which consisted of larger households or held land for a monetary rent were at a distinct advantage in this development. Their tenurial arrangements enabled them to hire labor to undertake the necessary boon work on the lord’s manor and to employ their members in activities at the optimum time when the “core” household members would otherwise have had to perform boon work. They could thus maximize their productivity and produce a surplus that could be sold for money in the marketplace and that money could be used to purchase additional agricultural land or farm implements, which would further the household’s productivity.34 However, this did not mean that the rural population produced exclusively or even predominantly for the market. Historians have argued that there was a certain conservatism in the peasant population, but no sensible head of household would gamble on a particular cash-crop which would expose his family to the vagaries of fluctuating and unpredictable market prices.35 Peasants were also limited by the prevailing relations of production: the head of household was bound by a number of obligations to his neighbors. At times, these restrictions could appear unnecessarily restrictive—even exploitative—for example, when the village limited the number and kinds of livestock that could be owned or restricted the times when pigs could be put out to forage in the commons, or when a lord imposed restrictive levies on certain

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activities, such as erecting new buildings, employing new equipment, or purchasing new livestock.36 But at other times, these restrictions, though onerous, were imposed with the best intentions. Two examples of these are the payment of tithes to the church, a third of which was destined for the poor, and the Icelandic system that deputized for the ecclesiastical tithes, the hreppr, which provided a complex system of exchanges of produce in cases of localized famines and poverty.37

FIGURE 5.4  Eve spins wool. © Photo: Kirsten Trampedach, 2010, National Museum of Denmark, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

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Smaller households also benefited from gradual shifts in inheritance practices during the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Two areas contributed to this change: an increasing number of regions abandoned or diluted the inheritance rules of primogeniture (under which the oldest son took possession of the family lands) in favor of partible inheritance (under which all heirs took possession of a part of their family’s possessions) and a wholesale change took place in the nature of feudal rents, which increasingly were paid in money rather than in kind. An increasing number of landholders saw fit to endow their younger sons—and often also their daughters—with smaller parcels of land which could form the nucleus around which sons could build larger land-holdings by selling or exchanging their lands for money or fields with better soils. This development is seen most clearly in patterns of English land tenure, but it is clear from the manner in which Scandinavian law codes separate categories of land into patrimony and “bought lands” that such changes were not limited to England. This development of a pattern of smaller land-holdings encouraged the formation of smaller but more intensively managed households and a more active market in land. Chesterton in Cambridgeshire, where onesixth of sons purchased land during the lifetime of their fathers, is an example of the increasing flexibility in land transfer.38 In rural areas the performance of daily tasks, for example, raising crops, producing textiles, and making clothing, were performed by family members and split along gender lines.39 Among the rural population, married women looked after the family’s pigs and poultry and tended the family’s orchard, a plot of land near the house where the family grew useful domestic produce, such as apples, kale, and even wheat. Married women also produced for consumption outside the family: eggs, cured meats, bread, and other domestic produce that was abundant enough to be sold at local markets, and brewing ale was virtually a female monopoly.40 The simultaneous development of urban centers of industrial production and a rural hinterland with strong market-oriented manufacturing combined with an increased access to cash to allow women to take a more active (or at least a more visible) role in manufacture and trade. The interpretation of the voluminous material produced by medieval city authorities has been the subject of many, varied studies. Merry Wiesner attributed the decreased visibility of women in early modern sources to cultural factors: women’s lack of skill and education, and an increased competition from men who refused to work alongside women, combined with the new moral concerns of the Reformation to push out women from the labor market.41 Martha C. Howell, on the other hand, attributed the same trend to a change in the relations of production, while acknowledging the importance of the social relations of production, i.e., the linkage of male political power to a protection of guild interests.42 In an ambitious study of women’s changing economic activity in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century York, P. J. P. Goldberg argued that the natural disaster of the demographic crisis brought about by the Black Death in the fourteenth century was the cause of changes. Initially, these improved the position of women and increased their economic choices. But the demographic recovery of the fifteenth century enabled men to reclaim the money-based sectors of the economy that had flourished and brought new independence to women in the century after the Black Death, and the improvements in women’s freedom brought about by the previous century’s demographic and consequent economic changes were reversed.43 Ultimately, as Judith Bennett has pointed out, the analyses of this material have tended to reflect the political and social outlook of the historian performing the analysis.44

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FIGURE 5.5  The Devil interferes in a woman’s work of churning butter. © Photo: Kirsten Trampedach, 2006, National Museum of Denmark, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

Much of the monetized wealth released in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was in activities traditionally considered to be female crafts. Ale-making, spinning, and clothmaking were oriented toward the more profitable monetized market and allowed women a solid foot-hold in the market economy. Not only did these activities bring much-needed cash into a household economy where men predominantly worked to provide produce in kind for the sustenance of the family, including its children and dependants, but there are clear indications that the increasing dominance of urban centers also played a crucial role in internationalizing domestic production (or at least production methods). Developments in the international trade in cloth have been traced in numerous works, and it is clear that this trade played a crucial part in the commercial revolution of the Middle Ages.45 We are used to seeing the production of ale as being at best a regional activity, but, as is the case of the medieval production of wine, there are indications that ale produced in one European region was exported and not consumed locally. This point is vividly illustrated by the story of the thirteenth-century Danish Bishop Gunnar of Viborg who took the ale-

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induced stupor of a peasant who had fallen asleep under his pulpit as an occasion to warn his flock of the dangers of consuming the recently introduced, much stronger Saxon ale in its new and larger measures.46 What we can see from surviving English manor court records is that the brewing of ale was a profitable side-line in the family economy that could provide a substantial supplement to the family and sometimes even provide its main income. The sale of 43 gallons (about 190 liters or 50 US gallons) of ale per week could provide an English alemaker with a profit of around 10 pence; in other words, enough to sustain the alemaker and her family with enough money to purchase the necessities of life.47 The most complete and detailed sets of contemporary records for the medieval urban family and its economy is the 1427 Florentine tax survey known as the catasto.48 The catasto included information on the age and gender of the household head, his (or her) trade, the value and status of their property, the number of their dependents and their relation to the householder. By offering reductions of 200 florins for each dependant to heads of households the catasto encouraged a comprehensive and detailed listing of household members.49 The catasto gives evidence of a dynamic and ever-changing household structure, but also confirms male dominance in the family economy: men headed households, sons remained with their blood-kin (at least until their marriage after the age of twenty-five), and sons may have been encouraged to look after their aging parents. The catasto demonstrates how a high proportion of married men were not counted as heads of their households but were listed as dependent on an older male head of household. This older male was often their father or father-in-law. This trend was most pronounced in rural areas where less than 10 percent of households were headed by men under twenty-eight years of age.50 As a consequence, the Florentine household might often extend over three generations. Virtually all Florentine young women married, but remarriage on the death of their husbands was rare.51

The family economy in secular law (twelfth and thirteenth centuries) The household was managed by its senior members who both resided with the household and had legal control of its assets. Ideally they employed the household wealth to support all the members of the household. Under English common law, no community of goods between a husband and wife existed; but it should be emphasized that, although the husband controlled virtually all the assets owned by either his wife or himself, he could not legally alienate these without the consent of his wife. Lands acquired by wives either before or during marriage were jointly owned by the original members of the family, i.e., the husband and wife. But joint ownership did not imply equal control. Perhaps women are best described as subordinate co-tenants with their husbands who acted as the guardians of their property, but medieval wives were not only workers but also managers who supervised the other members of the household: children, servants, laborers, and adopted members of the family. In towns, the married couple also shared responsibilities. Although women appear to have had limited rights to enter into contracts and to alienate the family’s property, economic actors often found ways to circumvent the legal limitations imposed on women in order to enable women to participate to an almost full extent in their husband’s business. English laws allowed them to declare themselves feme sole for the purposes of business transactions and the limitations placed on Danish women’s rights to enter into business were rarely enforced.52 Sometimes women even continued to run a family business in what we would today call heavy industry when their husbands died.53

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English law thus made the family into a unit in which the husband controlled the joint wealth of a group of producers. This utilitarian approach to family wealth was explicit in Scandinavia where an institution, the felág or fællig, which originated in commerce was adopted in the late twelfth century to provide a framework for inheritance rules. Originally the fællig had been a temporary business partnership: a group of investors nominated a single member to conduct all transactions with their joint wealth. This fællig was established when a merchant set out on a business venture and it was dissolved when the venture came to an end. Individual partners were prohibited from entering legally binding contracts on behalf of the fællig, and, should they wish to withdraw from it, they were obliged to withdraw their entire share and not only a fraction of their contribution. A fællig also extended into contracts of employment in some areas. For instance, according to the Swedish Östgötalov, the bryde (reeve) was in a temporary fællig with his master: rather than receiving wages for his work, his payment consisted of a fixed proportion of the annual surplus of the estate. By the late twelfth century, Danish law adapted the fællig to a new use, namely to define the people who had rights to inheritance of movable goods. The innovation in Danish law was twofold: (1) the fællig came into being automatically when a couple married, and (2) the fællig excluded patrimonial land and included only movable goods, i.e., chattels, lands that the family unit had purchased during the parents’ lives, and, in some areas, gold.54 Based around the conjugal unit, membership was not defined by blood ties or by ties of affinity. Although the conjugal unit, consisting of spouses and their children, formed the core, the guardian (husbonde) of the fællig (the husband of the original conjugal unit) could adopt members who henceforth became full members. In contrast to earlier Scandinavian uses, membership of the fællig was intended to be for life, although the husbonde could protect his wealth: if a member’s criminal activity threatened to seriously harm the financial standing of the unit the husbonde could expel a member, regardless of whether he was related by blood or adopted. Land remained the property of the families of the spouses, and if a marriage was without children, the family of the spouses resumed possession of the ancestral lands. If the union had produced children, ancestral land was divided among the surviving children and the surviving spouse.55 These laws were written down in the late twelfth to late thirteenth centuries, a time of rapid legal development, when the church established firm control over some aspects of marriage and most European kingdoms codified legal practices. Though the texts originate in the north, they show trained legal minds familiar with the latest European jurisprudence at work, both in terms of sophistication and in terms of the institutions that developed in the laws. For example, echoing previous centuries’ use of the word familia, Anders Sunesen’s early thirteenth-century Latin paraphrase of the Law of Scania, Liber Legis Scanie, defines the fællig as those “who were partners of a community of goods” (qui fuerint commvnium bonorum consortes).56 In its composition and its function it shows a remarkable similarity not only to the family defined by English law but also to the Mediterranean business unit known as the commenda.57 But it broke new ground when it was applied to a conjugal unit. Thus, by the thirteenth century, secular laws across Europe worked on the assumption that the core of the family unit was the married couple and that, once established, their household served as a unit where goods and services were prepared for sale and where the preparation of goods and services for domestic use took place. Most family units were producers of agricultural goods intended principally for subsistence, but in urban households the emphasis was on market production. However,

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even in the rural economy many goods made for domestic use were also sold in the market: ale, textiles, and clothing—goods that were often produced and not needed by the household—while goods intended for sale were consumed by household members in times of need.58 As the family changed, grew, and contracted individual family members moved back and forth between the two spheres despite some attempts by local customary rules to limit the impact of this change.59 Commercial brewing of ale was a virtual female monopoly, but as the Middle Ages progressed women increasingly found alternatives, for example, making cloth for the market or spinning woolen yarn for merchants. Within the medieval family economy specialized labor was performed by individual family members who would share the fruits of their labor with their family or household. Thus, the family can be said to be a multigenerational group producer in which capital and land was provided by the older generations and labor was provided by the younger generations. Initially, especially in rural areas, this kind of “family” appears to have produced mainly for the subsistence of its members. But, as the European economy grew in size and complexity, members produced goods not only for domestic consumption but also to sell and trade in a monetized marketplace. The Low Countries and northern France were part of a complex economic circuit built around trade and the manufacture of cloth, while the lands and cities that were part of the sphere of influence of the Hanseatic League engaged in both bulk international trade (which was at a steady level throughout the year) and hectic seasonal trade based on the migration of fish which, in the case of a single fair in Scania, produced an estimated annual 300,000 barrels of salted herring and provided seasonal work for thousands of households and individuals in the months just after the summer harvest.60 Family economic activity was thus not limited to agricultural products: the family engaged in the provision of fish also fished, manufactured barrels for transport, filleted and salted fish, and provided other services for a larger marketplace. Although we know that intensive fishing took place from the early eleventh century, the markets and fairs only leave documentary evidence from the early twelfth century. From this we can see that fishing was truly international: in coastal areas in the Baltic and in English towns such as Scarborough, King’s Lynn, Whitby, and Ravenser fleets of Danish, German, Flemish, and French fishing boats landed prodigal amounts of fresh fish to be prepared locally for export. In the Baltic, the fishing industry attracted large numbers of workers eager for the cash that could be earned in the preparation of fish. These markets and fairs were dominated by men, but the fishing industry also attracted its fair share of women, either as fish gutters or prostitutes.61 Though there are indications that the attraction of the fishing industry was strong enough to interfere with agricultural production when the seasonal work of the fairs coincided with the demands of the agricultural year, tensions between the two sectors were mostly limited to skirmishes.62

The demographic crises of the late Middle Ages (c. 1300–1500) The demographic crises of the fourteenth century can be seen as the proving ground for the relatively new family economy. The short period of economic realignment that followed the famines of the early part of the century and the plagues of the middle of the century demonstrated the economic benefits and flexibility of the family economy based on the conjugal unit. Encouraged by an increasingly monetized economy and demonstrating that the old system of feudal tenure in which a reluctant tenant peasantry provided compulsory work on the lord’s demesne was no longer fit for purpose, the thirteenth century had seen the beginnings of a major change which became dominant in

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the readjustments of the fourteenth century. This was the change from feudal tenure to freehold and caused the development of a lively market in land, which, on the one hand, enabled peasants to assemble much larger holdings and, on the other hand, created a large population of laborers who worked the land for money and thus could be employed in the most productive way within the overall economy.63 When a series of plagues hit Europe in the later part of the fourteenth century a readjustment of the family economy took place. There are a number of indicators of this change. For example, English sources indicate that life expectancy fell during the fifteenth century despite the fact that staples, such as bread, were more abundant and the diet generally healthier than before, and yet mortality rates indicate that the population was aging and that family sizes decreased. An example of this is that a sample of English wills shows that the average family size in Kent declined from 4.08 in the fifteenth century to 3.90 in 1501 to 1530. This might have been caused by several traits in English population patterns, including a high proportion of the population remaining celibate or a rise in the age at which women started their reproductive careers, or an increased mobility among the peasantry, which saw heirs increasingly selling their land rather than continuing to cultivate family lands in a particular area.64 Whatever the causes, the symptoms were clear: after the plague, peasants expected improvements in their lots and in several ways their demands were met. The most famous expression of this trend is the passing of several instances of legislation which limited wages to pre-plague levels: the “Statute of Laborers” 1349–1351 in England immediately followed the start of the plague, and similar statutes were enacted in France and Castille in 1351 and in Bavaria in 1352.65 While they were temporarily successful in suppressing wages, a series of uprisings across Europe ensured that the trend in wages was generally upwards. The plague also caused a weakening of family bonds and a realignment of the family economy. Young people were increasingly able and willing to find work or land away from their homes, and women in particular were able to take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the demographic contraction.66 P. J. P. Goldberg has argued that recovery after the onset of the plague occurred in several stages, some of which offered new opportunities for women. By extension, this meant that for a time the family economy went through a period of reorganization before ultimately returning to the status quo ante. Thus, immediately following the first outbreaks of the plague, work opportunities were relatively good. The high mortality created a shortage of labor which encouraged a, largely successful, demand for higher incomes, as evidenced by the need for repeated wage-restriction legislation. It also offered new opportunities for women as the manufacturing sector of the economy grew. As repeated outbreaks of plague disproportionately affecting the young swept across Europe, women were increasingly freed to join the labor force. Increased female economic independence led to a lower rate of marriage and a higher age at marriage. Women increasingly took over better paid roles in the economy and the pay gap between men and women decreased, though it was never eliminated. As late marriage became more common, the birth rate failed to keep up with mortality and this delayed a demographic recovery. A contraction in the market for their goods eventually pressed women out of the labor market by the middle of the fifteenth century. After more than a century of falling marriage rates, and as a consequence of decreasing mortality from epidemics, a smaller European population, but one with the same age structure as pre-plague populations, could not sustain the consumption of the relatively expensive goods produced in the sectors where women had increased presence. Women were then gradually pushed out

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of manufacture and into service and marriage and the previous structure of the family economy, in which men mostly produced for the market and women were mostly active in activities related to the internal household economy, reasserted itself.67

CONCLUSION The millennium from 500 to 1500 saw substantial changes in the organization of the wider economy and the family economy. At the beginning of the period, it would have been impossible to identify a specific European family pattern, but by the beginning of the thirteenth century family structure and family production were recognizably similar across all of the continent. From 500 to around 1050 Europe saw unparalleled diversity in the typology of household organization. Modern historians have struggled to make sense of these and have suggested words such as “households” or “housefulls” to describe the units contemporaries described as familiae, a single word that covered a multitude of meanings regarding land ownership, power relations, and forms of slave labor and serfdom. But from around the middle of the eleventh century the word was increasingly used to signify similar principles of household organization. Twelfth- and thirteenthcentury Europe saw an almost universal adoption of the meaning of the word defined by the church as an ecclesiastically sanctioned conjugal unit and its progeny. This intellectual change in meaning mirrored a trend in the economy toward smaller units of production and consumption. The word family combined eleventh- and twelfth-century refinements in legal thinking to reflect the transformation from the early medieval familia, which had consisted of a multitude of unrelated persons, to a family based around the conjugal unit. Reorganization into smaller units of production made it easier for individuals and families to respond more effectively to economic and social change. The demographic crises of the fourteenth century bear witness to this efficiency. The family unit responded to rapid fundamental changes in the economic base. The relatively new conjugal family unit based on the intellectual understanding of twelfth-century legal scholars responded well to the challenges of that century. New ways of organizing the economy, including boosting the manufacturing sector and increasing the participation of women in the labor force, ameliorated the worst consequences of the famines and plagues of the fourteenth century. When demographics changed in the fifteenth century, the family unit absorbed the previously economically active female labor force into the domestic sector of the economy. Although the latter development may not seem desirable from a twentiethcentury perspective, it set the scene for further growth in the European economy in the early modern period.

CHAPTER SIX

Love, Sex, and Sexuality RUTH MAZO KARRAS

Love, sex, sexuality—ideally in the Middle Ages these went together, as many people think they still should today. While it is always dangerous to make blanket statements about human cultures, it is probably safe to say that married people are generally happiest when they love the person to whom they are married (whether that love precedes marriage or grows after an arranged marriage), when they have sex with the person they love, and when their sexuality is such that they desire the person with whom they have sex. Once one moves beyond this gross generalization, however, “love,” “sex,” and “sexuality” have no universal meaning. Here I will take them one by one, in reverse order, and discuss what they meant for the history of medieval marriage.1

SEXUALITY “Sexuality” refers to a field of discourse. As David Halperin put it, in a passage written nearly thirty years ago but still eminently clear, “sexuality … does not properly refer to some aspect or attribute of bodies. Unlike sex, sexuality is a cultural production: it represents the appropriation of the human body and of its physiological capacities by an ideological discourse.”2 We can therefore talk about how sexuality was configured in the Middle Ages. It is also possible to speak of “sexualities” or “his/her/their sexuality,” meaning heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, and so on. There are some parallels to be drawn between these terms and the ways medieval people thought about different types of individuals and their characteristics. However, the parallels are not exact, and medieval people would not have spoken of themselves as having “a sexuality.” Mass Western culture today tends to think of sexuality as a binary between homo- and heterosexuality. These are the two (bi-) terms in bisexuality. But this is a distinction that was rarely made in the Middle Ages. People could be classified by the kinds of acts they performed and for their preferences as to whom to have sex with. But medieval people did not divide themselves into “homosexuals” and “heterosexuals.” First of all, sex between men and women in the Middle Ages was very much a matter of reproduction as well as of desire. This was true in marriage, where having children was a major goal, but also outside of marriage. It is not that people hoped every sex act would lead to offspring; there were many poor people, both married and unmarried, for whom the birth of a child could bring economic or emotional disaster. But fathering a child outside of marriage could contribute to a man’s masculine identity. There was a great deal of variation in how the community in which a couple react to such parenthood.

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The Christian church preached that sex outside of marriage was a sin for both men and women, and certainly many men tried to deny fatherhood especially if they did not want to support a child. But in many Christian communities, as for example among the Carolingian nobility3 or in urban Italy in the later Middle Ages,4 it would not demean a man in the sight of his peers to have fathered a bastard and might well enhance him. Islam frowned on adultery by a married man—for a man to have sex with a woman he was not married to or did not own was zina (forbidden sexual activity), but having sex with his own slaves was not, and a slave’s children fathered by her master were free and legitimate. Presumably people in any of these communities did not often enter into nonmarital relations specifically in order to have children—except for Muslim men of high status who did not have children with their wives and hoped to have someone to inherit—but the link between sex with a member of the opposite sex and reproduction was very close. In an era before effective birth control this could hardly help being the case. Thus people may have desired children rather than desiring the particular sex partner, and their behavioral choices did not always reflect something called their sexuality. Of course, not all sex acts were reproductive, and this rather than the homo/hetero binary tended to be the defining factor in medieval people’s conceptualizations. To many churchmen, reproduction was the one thing that redeemed the evils of the flesh, any nonreproductive sex was a sin.5 If the woman was beyond childbearing age, or one of the parties was known to be infertile, that did not make sex a sin; the act only had to be potentially reproductive. But any attempt actively to prevent conception—whether through withdrawal, pessaries, or “spilling semen elsewhere than in the place assigned to this by nature”6—was wrong. This was true both within marriage and without. Indeed, St. Augustine, whose writings had so much to say about Christian marriage, wrote that, while for a married couple to engage in sexual intercourse beyond what is necessary for procreation was a pardonable sin, a wife who allows her husband to commit unnatural acts with her sins far more than a prostitute does who allows the same. Augustine frames it in terms of the woman’s degree of sin, but one can easily imagine husbands preferring to visit an already corrupt prostitute rather than corrupt their wives.7 One name applied to nonreproductive intercourse was “sodomy.” This term has a complicated history. It could refer to nonreproductive acts regardless of the gender of the parties involved; these could be labeled “unnatural,” in a clear reference to the fertility of nature.8 More commonly, sodomy was understood to be what two men did together. The sodomites who appear in Dante’s hell are all men.9 But, as Mark Jordan10 has argued, the term should generally be understood not as referring to the particular acts the men did but to a vaguely defined quality that was associated with sin. The terms “sin against nature” and “unspeakable sin” also formed part of the same semantic field as “sodomy” but were not identical with it. To discuss in full the meaning of this set of terms is well beyond the scope of this chapter. The point here is that although “sodomy” did mean a variety of things, it did not mean “homosexuality,” and “sodomites” were not the same thing as “homosexuals.” And many “sodomites,” whatever their personal preferences, did marry and father children. In late medieval/Renaissance Florence, as Michel Rocke11 has shown, there developed something akin to a gay subculture, with particular taverns as meeting places for men seeking sex with other men. But it is not entirely clear how these men’s identities related to their marriages. The typical pattern was for boys (under seventeen or eighteen years old) to be the passive partners of older men and then to switch to the active role once they became more mature. The age at which men married tended to be fairly late in Florence, and they married younger women or girls, the same pattern that appears in opposite-

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FIGURE 6.1  Melusine and Her New Husband in Their Marriage Bed, on the Night of their Honeymoon, c. 1476. © Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images.

sex relationships in the court records that Rocke used. Some men continued their activities with other men after they married, but in general they seem not to have. The question arises, then, whether the pattern of late marriage caused men in their twenties and thirties to seek sex elsewhere, with younger women or men, or whether the pattern of late marriage was due in part to a Florentine acceptance or valorization of samesex relationships. The Florentine authorities thought it was the former, establishing a communal brothel in order to give unmarried men a sexual outlet with women.12 In other words, men’s sex drive was thought to be labile and could be directed toward various outlets. Cases from other times and places also show men claiming the same thing: that they resorted to sex with men or boys not because they were not attracted to women but as an alternative. For example, according to the friar Pierre Recort, interrogated by the Inquisition in the south of France in the thirteenth century, Arnold of Verniolles told

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him he had suffered from a swelling after having sex with a female prostitute, and “as a result he was afraid of becoming a leper. He therefore swore from then on not to know women carnally; and, in order to keep that oath, he carried on in the above manner with those youths.”13 This, of course, could be an excuse given to the authorities to mitigate an offense. But the relevance here is that people did not get married because they were heterosexual or refrain from marriage because they were homosexual. Nor did they marry and carry on same-sex relations as well because they were bisexual. They simply did not define sexuality that way. This was true for women too. In same-sex relations of either sex, medieval people tended to think of it as gender inversion: a man was playing the woman’s role or a woman was playing the man’s role.14 If medieval people did not divide themselves into homosexual and heterosexual, that does not mean that they did not divide themselves according to desire. The big divide in medieval Christian culture was between the sexually active and the chaste.15 Virginity (or chastity in marriage or widowhood) could be seen as a sexual orientation or a sexuality. People spoke of it as involving a call, not inborn but something that God might send at quite a young age, parallel though not identical to the way people discover their sexual identities today. And in a further parallel to today, one identity was taken as the societal default and the other was marked out as different. It was assumed that the goal was to marry and reproduce, unless a call to chastity intervened. The difference is that in medieval Christian culture this different or other form of behavior was admired and valued. The church preached that virginity was the highest calling, although marriage and widowhood were not as good, they were not sinful. As Augustine wrote, “Marriage and fornication are not two evils, the second of which is worse; but marriage and continence are two goods, the second of which is better.”16 Virginity or chastity was not like today’s asexuality. It did not always involve an initial absence of desire. Rather, it meant heroic attempts to overcome fleshly desire, while at the same time turning one’s erotic energy toward God. Christina of Markyate, a twelfth-century English anchoress, had great difficulty overcoming her feelings of lust for a clergyman; however, these feelings were cured by a vision of Christ. “For in the guise of a small child He came to the arms of His sorely tried spouse and remained with her a whole day … And with immeasurable delight she held Him at one moment to her virgin breast, at another she felt His presence within her even through the barrier of her flesh.”17 Christina was God’s spouse and her relationship with God permitted her to preserve her chastity in this life. For those Christians who were not called to chastity like Christina was, and for all women and most men in Judaism and Islam, marriage was the only legitimate option for sexual activity. Admiration for those who became monks, nuns, friars, or priests was not universal in medieval society. By the end of the Middle Ages there was a serious critique of monasticism and of the celibate clergy on the grounds that too many people who were not called to chastity chose that path, and fornication ensued. Reformers such as the Lollards in England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the Lutherans in Germany in the sixteenth, called for an end to monasticism and to clerical celibacy, and praised marriage for all except a tiny few.18 And of course Christianity was unique in holding virginity up as a virtue. In Jewish (both Ashkenazic and Sephardic) and Muslim societies in general, marriage was the expectation. If a woman did not find a husband, she was merely unfortunate, not holy. Some Jewish movements, such as the Hasidei Ashkenaz or Rhineland Pietists, or some Kabbalists in Spain, encouraged chastity as promoting purity, but this chastity was not total. As the Zohar, the thirteenth-century Kabbalistic work from Castile, suggested,

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when disciples of the wise part from their wives all the days of the week to engage in Torah, supernatural coupling couples with them, not parting from them, so that they be male and female. Once Sabbath enters, disciples of the wise should delight their wives anew for the sake of the splendor of supernal coupling, focusing their hearts on the will of their Lord, as has been explained. Men can also benefit from “supernal coupling” on their wives’ forbidden days.19

SEX From sexuality, we turn to the second term, sex, which I take to mean sexual practices, here practices within marriage. Despite the positive valuation of chastity within Christianity, all three medieval religions not only permitted sex within marriage but treated it in a positive light. Marriage made sex a good deal more than acceptable. It became a way to keep the partners within the marriage satisfied and at peace with one another. The Qur’an (2:223) is quite clear on the acceptability of men’s having sex with their wives as they pleased: “Your wives [or, women] are your fields; go into your fields whichever way you like.” This has been taken as approval for nonreproductive sex within a marriage (or in a master-slave relationship that was permissible in medieval Islam). A hadith found in the influential ninth-century collection of al-Bukhari and elsewhere holds that this verse was in response to a Jewish opinion that sex from the rear, even though still reproductive, would lead to squint-eyed children.20 In this interpretation, then, God through the Prophet told Muslims that any position was acceptable; the field metaphor still implies, however, that the sex is supposed to be reproductive. There were minority Muslim opinions that anal sex within marriage was permissible, but most authorities forbade it, sometimes on the grounds that it was filthy and sometimes on the grounds that it did not bring pleasure to a woman, which a husband was obliged to do for his wife.21 The Qur’anic passage is sometimes interpreted as “whenever you like” but this hadith suggests differently; in addition, the Qur’an agrees with the Bible, and with the generally accepted medical theory of the time, in forbidding sex during menstruation. The question of whether the Qur’an means “whenever you wish” or “in whatever way you wish” is key. The text is directed at men; from the woman’s point of view her husband’s dictating either the time or the position of sexual intercourse could be coercive or violent, but not the same. While this Qur’an passage told men what they were allowed to do, another told men what they were required to do in regard to marriage: a man was allowed to marry up to four women, but if he feared that he “will not treat them justly” he should restrict himself to one (4:3). The Prophet was scolded for refusing to have sex with his wives (Qur’an 66:1). The clear implication is that women were entitled to their husbands’ sexual companionship.22 If we move beyond the Qur’an itself to later Islamic juristic texts we find that nonreproductive sex was permitted within either marriage or concubinage. Birth control was allowed under Islamic law and not just for medical reasons but for any reason; it might be considered blameworthy but was not forbidden.23 It was widely accepted within Islam, then, that married people were allowed to have sex with each other for reasons of reproduction or enjoyment. Both men and women were entitled to marital sex, although not to reproduction: a man was permitted to practice coitus interruptus without his wife’s permission, and many jurists also allowed a wife to use various contraceptive methods without her husband’s permission. Arabic sex manuals took notice of the legal permissibility of birth control and provided information on various methods.24

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Judaism had similar rules. Only a woman was entitled to sex from her husband, however, not the other way around. Onah, or the right to sexual intercourse at particular times, was one of the three things a husband was required to provide his wife according to Jewish law, the other two being food and clothing. This was not necessarily saying he was responsible for giving her pleasure—a woman may want sex for purposes of having children—but the woman had the right to it even when she was unable to conceive because she was pregnant or past menopause.25 While onah was a right of the wife alone, the husband also had a claim to sexual intercourse with his wife. If she refused, she could be considered “rebellious” and her husband had the right to divorce her for cause (i.e., without the financial settlement to which she would otherwise be entitled).26 But sexual relations between a married couple were not merely a matter of individual obligations; it was also an obligation to the community and to God. The early rabbis held that procreation was necessary for hastening the coming of the Messiah.27 A woman who took the initiative in intercourse with her husband would produce remarkable children.28 Because being fruitful and multiplying was a commandment, or mitzvah, married couples were expected to have sex regularly, typically on Shabbat. The Sefer Hasidim, a compilation from the early thirteenth-century Rhineland Pietist movement, tells the story of a man who cheated on his wife. His relatives asked a rabbi for some sort of herb that would make him impotent so that he would not be unfaithful; the rabbi denied the request because it would affect his having sex with his wife as well. “It is not permitted to administer such a potion even to a man who already has children.”29 Similarly, a poor man who wanted to avoid marital relations because he can’t afford another child was told that God will provide.30 Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical movement that became widespread in the south of France and Spain in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, glorified sexual intercourse between husband and wife as a mystical act that resulted in the creation of a child with the participation of the divine. According to an anonymous thirteenth-century text, the Iggeret ha-Qodesh (Holy Letter), whose stated intention is “to show you the way in which a man may consummate sexual union with his wife [lit. “fulfill his need”] so that it will be for the sake of Heaven, and thereby merit sons learned of the law”;31 sexual intercourse when properly done is a union with the divine light. When a man has intercourse with his wife and his thought cleaves to upper things, that very thought causes the upper light to descend and it hovers over that drop [of semen] that it had thoughts about and concentrates on it and thinks of it. … For the brilliant light has already been joined to the drop of that righteous man at the time of coitus, because the thought was already merged with the higher sources, and it draws this clear light downward.32 Scholars disagree on whether the point of this text is to discuss marriage or whether marriage is used here largely as a metaphor. However, leading Kabbalists, including some of the possible authors of this text, were married and had children. Unlike Christian priests who used marital union as a metaphor, they knew whereof they spoke, and the text celebrates marital relations, for the purpose of begetting sons and mystical union with God. And even for Jews who did not belong to the elite group reading the esoteric Kabbalah, the rabbis had made clear that sexual pleasure between spouses was permissible and even desirable even when not specifically reproductive, even though the husband takes the lead: “a man may do whatever he pleases with his wife, just as meat from the butcher shop may be eaten salted, roasted, cooked or seethed, and so with fish from the fishmonger.”33

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Intercourse was prohibited during a woman’s menstrual period and for a certain number of “white days” afterwards; when the period of niddah was completed, the woman had to go to the mikveh or ritual bath to cleanse herself, and it was assumed that the couple would have intercourse that night. The Sefer Hasidim tells of a woman who refused to go to the mikveh and immerse, in order to persuade her stingy husband to be more charitable by denying him sex. The rabbi he consults suggests that she find another way to persuade him: “But don’t pressure him by withholding marital relations, because he will have sinful thoughts, you will inhibit pregnancy, and you will only make him more furious with you.”34 Menstrual purity was also a major issue for the Jewish community whose documents survived in the geniza of the synagogue at Fustat (Old Cairo).35 Despite the great emphasis that Jewish tradition put on childbearing, it did not prohibit contraception. Rather, the rabbis permitted the use of a contraceptive sponge so that a couple could have intercourse without conceiving, whether because the woman’s health would be jeopardized by childbearing or because the household economy could not support another child.36 Religious authorities promoted desire and pleasure between the married couple. The eleventh-century French commentator Rashi wrote “When your husband caresses you to arouse the desire for intercourse … give the breasts [at first] to increase his passion and do not give him the place of intercourse too soon, until his passion increases and he is in pain with desire.” Some thirteenth-century Jews, however, under the influence of Maimonides, were more critical about married couples enjoying sex, suggesting that a circumcised man “will find himself performing his take quickly … she has no pleasure from him when she lies down … his heart will be strong to seek out God.”37 It was Christianity that put the most restrictions around marital sex. According to Augustine, in the Garden of Eden before the fall of humankind, sex, like eating, was engaged in for biological reasons and not for purposes of pleasure; “sexual desire was not absent, but it coincided perfectly with the conscious will.”38 Adam and Eve did not feel uncontrolled desire or concupiscence, and they could have moderate pleasure in reproductive sex, like moderate pleasure in food, without sin. With the Fall, however, concupiscence raised its ugly head and made the desire for sex a sinful one. This sinful nature meant that sex was redeemed only by reproduction. If reproduction needed to be avoided, for the sake of the woman’s health or the family economy, the

FIGURE 6.2  The Christian story of Adam and Eve as depicted in a medieval wall painting in Easby Church. © Peter J. Hatcher, Alamy Stock Photo.

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couple were supposed to avoid sex. The church largely prohibited birth control throughout the Middle Ages. It is clear that some people did attempt to prevent offspring,39 using methods such as pessaries, herbs (either contraceptive or abortifacient), and fumigations; and coitus interruptus. Still, these methods were not formally acceptable; abstinence was the only permitted method. When married couples did engage in sex, any pleasure they took in it was at worst a venial sin, to be expiated with penance. Pleasure experienced while trying to reproduce might not even be a sin at all. James Brundage, in his Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe, created a flow chart of when sex was permissible, based on early medieval penitentials. Any form of sex other than that between married couples, in their home, in bed, at night, with nightclothes on, on certain days of the week, leads you to a “Stop! Sin!” notice. If all conditions are met, the sex is permissible—but with the caveat “try not to enjoy it!”40 This often-cited chart does not (and does not claim to) represent all of medieval church teaching, and in particular a spouse who had sex only to fulfill the wishes of the other spouse did not sin. Couples who made a mutual decision to avoid marital sex, remaining chaste, could be considered saints. But such a decision had to be completely mutual. Each spouse was permitted to demand that the other render the “marriage debt,” and the other was required to do so, for the most part regardless of the circumstances (although Peter the Chanter in the late twelfth century considered that a woman might be justified in refusing if a pregnancy would be life threatening.41 The cases we know about mostly involve men demanding the debt from their wives, although in theory they owed it equally. A famous fifteenth-century story involves the mystic and autobiographer Margery Kempe bargaining with her husband: if she will pay his financial debts (she was the one with the inheritance) and stop fasting on Fridays (it was important to his social standing for her to eat with him and entertain guests), he would release her from the obligation to have sex with him.42 If a partner refused to render the marriage debt, he or she would be responsible for whatever sexual sin the other committed outside the marriage. A partner who agreed to sex only in order to render the debt would not incur sin, even if the spouse demanded it for the sake of pleasure and not reproduction. One feature all three traditions had in common was the restriction of sexual activity among the married to the spouse alone, at least for women. Adultery was punishable in all three traditions, but it had its most serious consequences for the women. The way it was defined often depended on class distinctions: married men who had sex with women of a lower social group might not be considered as violating law or custom, and even if they were their transgression might be overlooked. Many medieval Islamic societies held slaves, and the Qur’an permitted men to have sex with their own slaves, whether or not the men were married. A woman who bore her master’s child was freed, and indeed the claims to freedom of slave women in Christian lands who bore their masters’ children may have been based on this Muslim custom or law.43 Married women, it goes nearly without saying, were not permitted (in any of the cultures discussed here) the same latitude in having sex with their slaves. Jews living within Muslim majority cultures tended to follow some of the same patterns; in the Jewish communities of Muslim Spain a man keeping a concubine was frowned upon but this nevertheless seems to have happened not infrequently.44 In the Egyptian Jewish society whose letters are preserved in the Cairo Geniza, marriage contracts often specified that the husband could not have a second wife, or purchase any female slave without his wife’s approval; if he did, the first wife could demand to be divorced and retain her ketubah, or dower.45

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Jewish men, unlike Muslims, were not allowed to have sex with their slaves, which of course does not mean that it did not happen. Cases of adultery, including those in which a wife gave birth when her husband had been away for more than a year on business, were dealt with matter-of-factly and relatively even-handedly; there is little evidence that Jewish communities were obsessed with the sexual behavior of wives, even where married women were secluded.46 Jewish communities under Islam also allowed plural marriage or concubinage for longer than did those living within Christian society.47 But aside from concubinage in some Jewish communities, both men and women were prohibited from having sex with anyone other than their spouse, and both could be and were punished. The restrictions on women’s lives, in theory, were more serious: a woman who was secluded with a Gentile man was suspected of adultery simply by having been alone with him, with no corresponding provision for a man with a Gentile woman (or for a woman with a Jewish man). However, this halakha most likely had very little actual force. In Muslim regions, customs promoted the seclusion of Jewish women in their homes, but this was far from exclusive, and Geniza marriage contracts requiring women to leave the house only with their husbands’ permission are relatively rare.48 In Ashkenaz, women conducting business (which they did) often had to meet with men who were not family members. They may have taken a companion or a child with them, but if they happened to be alone with a Gentile man they would not actually be divorced for it. And servants, of course, did not always have the option of taking someone with them as they did their daily tasks. One of the main consequences in Judaism for extramarital sex is that a resulting child would be a mamzer, a bastard. In halakha a child of a single Jewish woman and a Jewish man was not a mamzer regardless of the man’s marital status. The child of a married woman with a man other than her husband, however, was. That child could not marry within the Jewish community or have legitimate children. Regardless of the strictures of the law, however, medieval Jewish intellectuals tended to frown upon adultery by men. In a rhymed Hebrew book of fables by a late thirteenthcentury Spanish Jewish physician, a rooster who has many “wives” boasts that he has fathered many children in marriage but that he has never gone after other women: “contented I remain / with mine own cherished wife.”49 This text provides exempla of women’s sexual sins and of men’s as well; it encourages marital fidelity on the part of both. A man who has sex with a married woman, regardless of his own marital status, was to be punished severely. The Sefer Hasidim suggests the following punishment: “If penance is to be done during the winter, he should chop a hole in the ice on the river and stay immersed in the water up to his nose for the length of time he was with the woman. In the summer he should lie in a ditch that is crawling with ants.”50 The pietists’ idea of penance bears clear similarities to Christian ones. This is an act of personal repentance not a legal penalty to be imposed by a court. Yet it does indicate that men could not behave with impunity. As in many other areas, practices around marital sexuality in Christian Europe drew heavily on those of the Romans. Under Roman law, adultery was sex between a married woman and a man who was not her husband. There certainly were male adulterers, but they were the partners of married women, not men who violated their own marriage vows. A married man who had sex with slaves or prostitutes committed no crime. If he had sex with a young unmarried woman he might have an irate father or brother after him, but he was not an adulterer. Christianity in theory changed this, eliminating the double standard and demanding fidelity from men as well as from women.51 This theoretical position was not universally practiced.52 It was not even theoretically universal: Thomas Aquinas in

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the thirteenth century defined adultery in much the same way Roman law had, from the male point of view: sex with a married woman. Throughout the Middle Ages it was fairly common for male aristocrats to have multiple sexual partners even after they married. These partners were often servants, who were in a vulnerable position and who also may have seen a path to a more comfortable life if they became long-term lovers of a wealthy man. In some parts of Europe these were slaves; in Italian towns there were laws against men having sex with the slaves of other men but not with their own. Adultery in the sense of infidelity by married men did not go entirely unpunished by any means. The church courts did punish men as they did women (with shame punishments) and particularly later in the Middle Ages so did some secular legal systems.53 But the expectation that adultery by men is more excusable than that by women has been a remarkably durable one.

LOVE It is fair to say that all three medieval traditions expected spouses to love one another, but not with the sort of romantic love that much of the contemporary world expects or idealizes as a prelude to marriage. Love could grow between the partners after they were betrothed and after their marriage. We know that desire certainly did, as cases of betrothed couples (or couples who thought they were only betrothed, although technically they may have been legally married) having sex. In regions of northwestern Europe where marriage tended to be relatively late (in their twenties) for both men and women below the level of the elite, and where a period of service outside of the natal family often preceded it, it is not surprising that couples would have made more of their own marital choices than when they were married off by their families in their teens, and that they would and likely did make those choices based in part on passionate love—or that at least one of the partners thought it was love.54 We cannot read exactly where they drew the line between sexual desire and love—but that is likely because the line was not entirely clear, as indeed it may not be clear today to young couples (or older ones). Scholars have long considered the twelfth century to be the great age of love. This is the period when poets in the south of France, the troubadours and trobairitz, were writing love poetry and are sometimes considered to have invented romantic love.55 A similar genre of love poetry, the Minnesang, also appeared in Germany in the twelfth century. We now know that the love poetry of Languedoc was not an entirely new genre but developed in relation to a cultural world that included Muslim Spain.56 The question remains as to how the love between men and women depicted in this poetry relates to marriage. Some of the poems, by both men and women, refer to the woman being already married: for example, the Countess of Dia writes to a lover: Handsome friend, pleasant and good friend, When will I have you in my power? And lie with you for an evening, And give you a loving kiss? Know that I would have a great wish To hold you in the place of my husband.57 Scholars have generally assumed that the poems are addressed by young, single knights to great ladies, whether they really involved love for them or were a roundabout way of breaking into a closed aristocratic system.58 This assumption is based in part on the poems

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themselves but also in part on a twelfth-century work by the cleric Andreas Capellanus, usually translated as The Art of Courtly Love.59 Andreas was likely commissioned by Marie, the countess of Champagne, to set out a guide to proper love, or at least to the game of love, between knights and ladies. He explains that women are obliged to accept the love of a worthy man, and marriage is not an excuse for not loving. However, should the couple marry, they can no longer love each other, at least not in the same romantic way. “If the parties concerned marry, love is violently put to flight, as is shown by the teaching of certain lovers.” Indeed, in a decision attributed to Ermengarde of Narbonne, a couple had been married and then divorced, and the man sought the woman’s love. She replied, “If any two people have been married and afterwards separate in any way, we consider love between them wholly wicked.”60 It is very problematic, however, to claim Andreas’s work as a guideline for understanding how love worked in the twelfth century. It is likely to have been written largely tongue-in-cheek.

FIGURE 6.3  Bernger von Horheim (late twelfth century), German poet of the court of Henry IV. © Photo by Prisma/UIG/Getty Images.

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Certainly from later on in the Middle Ages we have men writing love poetry to their fiancées.61 And when we start getting personal letters (rather than those written for public consumption) they include expressions of love between such as the famous “Valentine letter” from Margery Brews to her fiancé John Paston in 1477 in which she writes to him in poetry: “Right reverend and worshipful and my right wellbeloved Valentine, I recommend me unto you full heartily.” She notes that her mother has been unsuccessful in getting her father to increase the size of her dowry: But if you love me, as I trust verily that you do, you will not leave me therefore … And if you command me to keep me true wherever I go, indeed I will do all my might you to love and never any more. And if my friends say that I do amiss, they shall not prevent me from doing so. My heart bids me evermore to love you truly over all earthly things.62 ‍Other Paston couples wrote to each other affectionately after their marriages. Love poetry or letters that express love between spouses, even if not the passionate romantic love that we might imagine precedes marriage, can also be found in the other cultural/religious traditions. In Muslim society, Abū Muhammad ʿAlī ibn Ahmad ibn Saʿīd ibn Hazm (994–1064), writing in Andalusia, dedicated his Ring of the Dove, which may have been one of the sources for Andreas Capellanus, to the subject of love. Most of the love that he discusses is not marital—much of it involves men’s love for slave women or to other males—but he does include some stories about marital love. For example, his brother Abu Bakr and his wife Atika quarreled all the time, but “meanwhile she had become quite wasted by love and worn out with passion for him.” When he died young, at twenty-two years old, she wasted away and died a year later.63 He also tells a story about Al-Muzaffar, son of al-Mansur, vizier to the last Ummayad caliph of Cordoba who fell in love with the daughter of a cheese-seller, “a grand passion which so transported that great nobleman that he actually married the girl,” and a sheikh who fell in love with and married the daughter of the manager of a caravanserai in Baghdad.64 Such love marriage was not necessarily considered a good thing for leaders, whose dynastic survival might depend on making appropriate alliances through marriage, but paradoxically the existence of plural marriage might have made love matches easier; where a man could take more than one wife he could make both a dynastic marriage and a love match. Ibn Hazm explains that the happiest life is when lovers “union is lawful and blessed by Allah’s approval, and when their association endures long and unbroken even to the day of death.”65 This long-term and licit love, however, is not specifically stated to be marriage, and he also refers to such loves as being clandestine. Similar stories of love matches can be found in medieval Jewish literature, although there was a similarly ambivalent attitude toward individuals making their own marital choices.66 Many collections retold the story of Rabbi Akiva, one of the most famous sages of the rabbinic period, who lived in the first and second centuries CE. Akiva, according to the tale, was a poor shepherd when the daughter of a rich man fell in love with him. They became betrothed; she was disowned for her refusal to marry a man of her father’s choice, and supported herself and him by her own work while he studied. Eventually he returned a learned man and her father allowed them to marry, giving them half his fortune.67 Another exemplum told of a girl lost in the desert who got stuck in a well. A man who passed by fell in love with her, and they married with the heavens, the well, and a weasel as witnesses.68 The later events turn on the validity of this marriage; the point here is that the story involved a spontaneously self-chosen love match. Letters between

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Jewish spouses found in the Cairo Geniza reveal real partnerships, not just economic but also personal, even if they do not use the language of love. The wife of the rabbi and poet Dunash ibn Labrat (920–990), whose name we do not have, wrote a poem for him upon his departure from Cordoba, again using language that resembles romantic love and indicates that she expects to miss him deeply: “Will her love remember his graceful doe, / her only son in her arms as he parted?”69 As the examples indicate, love did not spring into existence in the twelfth century. St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430), the most influential Christian theorist of marriage, listed the three goods of marriage as fides (fidelity), proles (offspring), and sacramentum (the sacrament). What he meant by fides was not, however, far from what we might think of as love: not sexual passion but a deep affection and regard. He also used the idea of love to explain the importance of exogamy, the prohibition on marrying one’s near relatives (as opposed to the practice in much of the Mediterranean world where marriage to a first cousin was acceptable, sometimes even preferable). Christians already had bonds of love with their families; through marrying someone who is not a relative they can spread the bonds of relationship around. Augustine seems here to have assumed that the choice of marriage partner should not be based on sexual attraction; in fact, basing it on attraction is precisely what led in pre-Christian times to incest.70 His own pre-conversion life, in which he had a concubine but apparently no thought of marrying her, opting instead for a young woman of appropriate social class chosen by his mother, points in this direction (although she died before they actually married). But in an apparent reference to this concubine in his later writings, he suggested that her relationship to him, if not his to her, could be considered a valid marriage since it included intention and fidelity.71 By the ninth century, as the church was beginning to exert control over marriage (although not yet entirely effectively—see Engh, Kuehn, Dixon-Smith and Harper, and Butler in this volume) the question came up as to whether a love match could be considered a marriage. The famous story of the Frankish king Lothar II of Lotharingia (855–869) and his wife Teutberga is the example from the early Middle Ages about which we know most.72 Lothar did not want to be married to his wife Teutberga, who had been chosen for political reasons. In order to get the marriage declared null he brought shocking accusations against her. But one of his arguments was that his previous relationship with a woman named Waldrada was actually a marriage, and therefore he was not free to marry Teutberga in the first place. It was not uncommon for men of the Carolingian ruling house to have a concubine before they married, often a woman of the lower nobility. Such a woman may have, like the later wife, been chosen by the family. But Lothar clearly had a deep and lasting affection for Waldrada, even though he died before the case could be resolved. Some Jewish traditions held that children were predestined to marry each other, well before their birth. “Sometimes you find a strong affinity between two families. The reason for this is that it is preordained that at some point in the future their descendants will marry each other. Their representative angels know this, and a mystical feeling of love and affection enters the hearts of their ancestors of the current generation.”73 It is not clear what sort of love is meant here, whether it is affectionate or passionate, but the Sefer Hasidim certainly includes tales of passionate love that could come right out of the troubadours. One involves a young man obsessively in love with a woman he has never seen. Another involves a man who fasts in order to induce God to let him marry the woman he loves, and when that does not work, to induce God to make him love the woman who is destined for him. This is not effective either, and his impossible love is said

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to be a punishment for his sin in gazing at women. Eventually he marries a woman whom he does not love. His rabbi, however, encourages him: Nevertheless, your fasts and prayers were not wasted; they will benefit you and your children. And because of your supplications and fasts, you will yet come to love this woman, and you will have a happy marriage.74 The suggestion here is not that he will feel the same passionate love for his wife that he did for the woman he wished to marry but that marriage partners could, with appropriate prayer, come to feel an affectionate love for each other. In most Jewish communities, based on evidence of letters from the Cairo Geniza and on responsa literature from both Ashkenaz (Germany/France) and Sefarad (Iberia), it was families who chose spouses for both their sons and daughters, with or without the assistance of a matchmaker,75 but there still persisted the idea that couples might make the choice themselves because of love. And even if this were not often the case, love was expected to grow after marriage.76 Scholars are often eager to identify particular turning points for historical processes, and love is no exception. Certainly many things did change in Christian society in the twelfth century. This era marked the culmination of the process of making marriage a sacrament, and a much stricter enforcement of the idea of the indissolubility of Christian marriage (divorce remained easier under the law in Judaism and Islam, although it could have serious economic and social implications) (see Pedersen, “Introduction,” and Kuehn in this volume). It is more difficult to know whether an upswing in the creation of love literature caused a change in the nature of marriage. I would argue probably not. The flowering of love poetry may have glorified romantic and even erotic love at a certain social level, but it did not change the fact that most people were expected to marry and did so. It may have created expectations about the way people expected to be treated in marriage, the level of passion they wished to have for someone they married, but the idea that one should desire the person one was to marry was not far from absent in earlier literature.77 Families who chose marriage partners for their children may have done so to shore up alliances or to join property holdings together, but also to find companions and helpmeets for their children. Already in the Talmud, Jews were told that at the time of a child’s conception God already decrees whom that child will marry; the process of matchmaking was an attempt to find that foreordained partner. Finding the right person was not, then, a matter of romantic love as we know it, but the idea of the right person was definitely present. The troubadour poetry of the twelfth century was not directed toward marriage formation, but we can find many medieval stories both earlier and later in which the love between two young people persists through obstacles until they can finally be married— the story of Floire and Blanchefleur in the late twelfth century, in which the lovers narrowly escape being put to death by the emir of “Babylon,” is one example.78 And the development of the genre of the love lyric was taken up at least by the aristocracy to write to potential marriage partners. By the fifteenth century we certainly see love poetry as a part of courting. It was of course heavily ritualized, of course, and we cannot assume that in any given case it reflected deeply held personal feeling. It was a convention, as was writing such poetry to a queen. It is hard to say that there was more love in marriage later than there was earlier, because it may be largely a question of available literary genres. Did people feel love more because they wrote about it more, or did they write about it more because the poetry expressed other things besides the love that was its ostensible occasion? It is also worth remembering that more individual choice in the selection of

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marriage partner does not necessarily lead to more love within the marriage; people can make short-sighted choices as easily as others can make bad choices for them. The appropriate gauge of marital love may be social class rather than time. It is in bourgeois households in the later Middle Ages that we get widespread and consistent literary expressions of marital love. The classic example is the Menagier of Paris, by householder who married a young wife and wrote a handbook for her use. She is directed to obey him and love him, but he her as well: “it is of course true that every man must love and cherish his wife and that every woman must love and cherish her husband, for man is the origin of woman.”79 This does not mean that love was a bourgeois creation; it was certainly around before, and the examples the Menagier provides are biblical. But it may be that this is where it became an ideal.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Breaking Vows SARA M. BUTLER

In divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII is often seen to be a pioneer in the history of Christian marriage, initiating a new phase in which divorce as we know it today came into being. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doubtlessly, if Henry’s rift with the Roman Catholic Church had introduced an easily accessible form of divorce at will, there would have been no need for Henry to behead two of his later wives (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) on trumped up charges rather than simply divorce them. When Henry created his own church, he brought with it the entire corpus of canon law, which saw marriage as a monogamous and permanent union, sacred because it symbolized Christ’s holy bond with the earthly church. The only innovation launched by Henry’s Reformation was in who headed the church. In place of the pope, who refused to ignore the papal dispensation granted by his predecessor eliminating any impediment that might threaten the validity of Henry and Catherine’s marriage, Henry slid easily into that position himself. Under his direction, “The King’s Great Matter” finally drew to a close: the archbishop of Canterbury declared Henry and Catherine’s marriage null, and Henry was free to remarry.

FIGURE 7.1  Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Henry VIII, c. 1537, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Google Art Project via Wikimedia Commons.

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Since the time of St. Augustine of Hippo (d.430), the church had been a solid defender of marriage in its humblest form. In accordance with St. Paul’s dictum that “it is better to marry than burn,” the medieval church facilitated the matrimonial process by imposing few legal requirements to contract a valid marriage. The church encouraged couples to publicize their upcoming nuptials through announcement of the banns three Sundays prior to the wedding as well as solemnization of the marriage by a priest at the church door, known colloquially as the “marriage-portal,” going so far as to punish those who failed to engage in these public activities.1 Yet, an exchange of vows in the present tense is all that was mandatory under canon law. If a couple adhered to this minimum requirement, the marriage was indissoluble. Marriage created a union of flesh, and, as Matthew 19:6 affirms, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” What the church meant by “indissoluble,” though, was not quite the unbreakable bond it is often made out to be. While the church courts shared a strong “presumption in favor of marriage,” the church dissolved countless marriages throughout the era and across the social spectrum.2 The upper ranks were particularly eager to exploit the provisions, as is evident in the conjugal history of the kings of France. Robert the Pious (r.996–1031) was divorced twice, and every French king from Philip I (r.1060–1108) to Philip II (r.1180–1223) divorced at least once.3 It is not a question whether divorce existed in Europe prior to Henry VIII’s break with the church. It did, even in name: the church employed the term divortium. Nonetheless, divorce in the Middle Ages differed essentially from divorce today in its rigid application. A couple could not apply to dissolve a marriage on the grounds of simple incompatibility; rather, a person involved in an incompatible marriage had to plead a suit at law that conformed to the church’s narrow list of rationales for marital dissolution.

LAWFUL SEPARATION There were multiple ways to break one’s vows in medieval Europe, although the church sanctioned only two lawful forms of divorce.

Annulment Divortium a vincula matrimonii (divorce from the marriage bonds) is the Latin phrase that describes what today is referred to as an annulment. It was awarded in situations where there was conclusive evidence of a preexisting diriment impediment to the marital union. The premise behind a divorce of this nature is that the marriage had never been valid since one or both of the spouses were not in fact eligible to marry. Thus, while the couple had lived together, sometimes for years at a time, engaged in a sexual relationship, and maybe even had children together, at no point in time had their marriage been lawful. Here, it should be stated clearly that the “intention of the law and courts was not for those impediments to serve as an instrument for divorce.”4 However, the church’s vision did not govern how the laity made use of those provisions. Plaintiffs in divorce litigation sought to validate the existence of a canonically sanctioned impediment to marriage. A variety of impediments existed in theory; however, the following five are the most visible in litigation. 1 Incest  The early medieval church enforced a system of forbidden relationships in which marriage within seven degrees (generations to the common ancestor; thus, to a sixth cousin) was prohibited. Without any inkling of the genetic dangers of inbreeding,

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the church’s prohibition was founded instead on fears that households might otherwise become dens of lust.5 Yet, rather than preserving the sanctity of marriage, by the late twelfth century it became apparent that such a far-reaching definition of incest fostered the likelihood of divorce. Members of Europe’s royal class, who were more often than not related within seven degrees, exploited this condition to its fullest, seeing it as a “convenient escape-hatch.”6 They pointedly entered into marriages that they knew might be dissolved if a more suitable political alliance came along. Recognizing this propensity, Pope Innocent III was instrumental in narrowing significantly the number of degrees. Under his leadership, legislation produced at Lateran IV in 1215 dictated that those related within four degrees by blood (consanguinity), by sexual relationship (affinity), or by sponsorship (godparentage) were precluded from marrying. To foster greater awareness of impediments before they became a problem, the church encouraged two distinct practices. Firstly, reading the banns at church on three consecutive Sundays before the ceremony was to take place permitted ample opportunity for those who knew of a lawful impediment to come forward with information.7 Secondly, for the elite hiring a proctor to scrutinize the couple’s genealogical tables in advance of the wedding verified that no impediment existed (see Figure I.2, in this volume).8 The father of English legal history, Frederic Maitland, once wrote that, “spouses who had quarreled began to investigate their pedigrees and were unlucky if they could discover no impedimentum dirimens [diriment impediment].”9 Courtroom evidence invariably does not support such naked cynicism. Because of the nature of the legal record, it is not easy to discern whether the parties involved were legitimately distressed after an impediment had come to light, or manipulating the system in order to exit gracefully from a cheerless marriage. Constricting the prohibited degrees of relationship to a more reasonable number obliged the elite to turn to alternate means to control their marital lives. For the lower ranks, because incest extended beyond blood relationships to include also spiritual ties and sexual liaisons, it remained the most popular reason to seek an annulment.10 A civil suit concerning the unlawful seizure of lands and tenements in late medieval Essex illustrates the remarkable creativity of spouses determined to procure a divorce. John Banastre protested that his mother, Agnes, manufactured an impediment of incest by sponsorship to a preexisting valid marriage between her husband and herself by standing as godmother to her own daughter at her confirmation.11 Alice Palmer actually hired a man for five shillings to play the role of a previously jilted husband come to reclaim his wife from a subsequent marriage.12 Others produced all-too-convenient guilty confessions of sexual escapades now long past between their spouses and family members, standing in the way of a valid union. More often, the impediment simply acted as a bar to marriages designed to keep property in the family. It also sometimes threatened the unions of happily married couples who were divorced against their wills if they could not afford the papal dispensation needed to stay married once word of their impediment reached clerical ears, although many couples continued to live together despite their marriages having been declared void.13 Papal dispensations, ideally sought prior to marrying, furnished a convenient work-around for those who wished to marry despite the stricture of kinship bonds: during the pontificate of Pius II (1458–64), the papal Penitentiary registered 4,040 requests for dispensations on these grounds, signaling the willingness of Europeans to pay their way around obstacles established by the church.14 2 Pre-contract  Pre-contract, in which a marriage is dissolved because one of the parties was found to already be contracted in marriage to someone else entirely, was one of the

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most common reasons for annulment in medieval Europe. Such an impediment attests to a lingering custom of “self-divorce”15 in which unhappy couples simply divorced themselves and then went on to remarry. This practice conforms to Georges Duby’s image of Christian Europe as a sparring ground between rival models of marriage. One, a clerical model, in which the matrimonial bond symbolizes the relationship between Christ and the church, and is thus a permanent, monogamous union; and two, an aristocratic model that sees matrimony as a private, lay contract, founded on the ideal that out of political necessity, marriage vows must be easily broken.16 Since the publication of Duby’s work, the “aristocratic model” has given way to a secular one in scholarship. While the marital foibles of the aristocracy are certainly more visible, a competing interpretation of the role of matrimony, frequently in conflict with the church’s vision, existed at all levels of society, and self-divorce was merely one manifestation. While we today might refer to this practice as bigamy, Philippa Maddern argues persuasively that the more precise description is in fact “serial monogamy.”17 To the modern reader, do-it-yourself divorce may seem somewhat peculiar; however, it is a mirror-reflection of how medieval marriages were often initiated. Because the church permitted couples simply to marry themselves, a process usually described as clandestine marriage,18 it empowered the laity to believe (erroneously) that they might just as easily divorce themselves. However, once church officials became aware of a previous union, sometimes at the suit of the former spouse who had since experienced a crisis in conscience, canon law required them to test the legitimacy of the first marriage and, if valid, to dissolve any subsequent marriage(s) and reunite the original spouses. As Anne Lefebvre has acknowledged, “the difficulties of proving the promises of marriage constitute a marvelous divorce instrument.”19 Certainly, discontented individuals sometimes manipulated allegations of pre-contract to obtain a divorce. Although because release from marriage resulted in resumption of a previous bond, it is hard to imagine that spouses regularly exploited this condition. What is apparent is that the church’s casual approach to the making of marriage made it far too easy for one party to refute the existence of a marriage altogether. Seemingly, the courts spent an inordinate amount of time analyzing vows to make sure that they were in fact in the present tense and signaled an unambiguous intention to marry. The church’s willingness to tolerate conditional vows further loosened those already precarious ties.20 Unscrupulous individuals were more likely to abuse conditional or dubious vows to contract marriages that they knew might easily be dissolved than to finagle a divorce by claiming pre-contract.21 The hazards of travel in medieval Europe unwittingly created Odyssey-esque scenarios where a spouse remarried, thinking her husband dead, only to discover some years later that she had been mistaken and her second marriage was in fact invalid. Husbands regularly traveled for business, war, and pilgrimage. A wife whose spouse had not been home for several years might suspect he had perished, may even have heard rumors of his death, but without a corpse to prove her case she was left in a marital limbo. Until Pope Celestine III (r.1191–98) interceded to reduce the waiting period to a more manageable seven years, the church’s official stance had been a demonstrable absence of ten years.22 The sixteenth-century cause célèbre in which Martin Guerre abandoned his wife and child then returned to resume his marriage nine years later, only for it to be revealed after three years that he was not in fact Martin Guerre but a fellow soldier envious of Guerre’s landed wealth and instant family, is instructive.23 The marriage of Martin Guerre and his wife Bertrande de Rols shows that couples and communities were at ease with the reality that a marriage might sometimes be interrupted, only to be resumed years later. Cordelia

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Beattie sees that “the line between the single and the married might be blurred” in the medieval world. A married woman might be understood as single when convenient (for example, with feme sole status); a singlewoman might also be understood as married (as in the case of a nun, married to God). These are not the only instances of “blurriness”: How do we classify abandoned wives? Divorced spouses? Unmarried but cohabiting couples? As Beattie explains it, marriage needs to be understood as existing on a “continuum” rather than in a constant state.24 3 Underage marriage  The language of business employed to discuss marriage in the medieval context (“contract,” “negotiation,” “dowry”) is a valuable reminder that at its heart, marriage is an exchange of property between families intended not only to establish a new couple but also to cement family alliances, shore up political relationships, even to bring peace to warring nations. Thus, among the elite where financial stakes were highest, early marriage was desirable, even if one or both spouses were far too young to take up the sexual and reproductive responsibilities that go along with matrimony. In an effort to construct marriage as a consensual union, the church set firm guidelines: a couple could be betrothed as early as the age of seven, although upon reaching the age of puberty, both parties had the choice of confirming or rejecting the contract. This consent to or rejection of the marriage was expected to take place at the age of twelve for a woman, fourteen for a man, unless, in the words of a decision by Innocent III included in the Decretals of Gregory IX, “[the girl’s] good sense compensates for her age.”25 Any child married before the canonically sanctioned age might take his or her case to court and request an annulment, although this, too, was infrequent and complicated by the fact that living together and carrying on a sexual relationship transformed an unenforceable marriage into a valid union. The elite regularly ignored the church’s instructions without fear of repercussion. Ecclesiastical authorities did not step in when Ludovico Sforza negotiated an engagement with Beatrice d’Este’s father in 1480, even though at five she was two years shy of the minimum age of betrothal. Isabella of Valois was a child of seven when she wedded 32-yearold widower Richard II of England in 1396: neither the age difference, nor Isabella’s tender years were a cause for concern. Because medieval marriage was very much a family affair, typically arranged by parents and involving a high degree of coercion at the best of times, it is unlikely that many underage brides and grooms saw their parents’ actions as unacceptable or unusual. The degree to which a marriage was arranged depended on at least four variables: geography, rank, age at marriage, and whether this was the bride’s first marriage. Using the example of London marriage litigation, Shannon McSheffrey has argued that though many young women chose their own husbands, they made their choices from a group of men who were socially acceptable and under the guidance of local patriarchs.26 Once again, we discover a rift between ecclesiastical sensibilities and long-standing secular traditions. The church’s contention that only the consent of bride and groom was necessary to create a lawful marriage conflicted with a matrimonial culture in which consent was concerned instead with parents, lords, and family circles. Because marriage involved the exchange of hard-earned family land and goods, it is not surprising that parents believed they should take the lead in spousal selection. Similarly, since marriage brought new workers onto his land or removed their line altogether, a feudal lord might justifiably assert that he had the right to approve an impending union. In the medieval mentality, leaving such important decisions in the hands of children surely seemed absurd.

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4 Force and fear  Today, marriage by capture is most closely associated with third-world countries. However, because primogeniture established a society in which land and wealth was concentrated in fewer hands, younger sons ousted from the patrimony saw abduction as a fast track to a prosperous and stable future.27 Fear of coercion was at its worst among the upper ranks of medieval society. Heiresses and widows of means were in perpetual danger28 from roving bands of aristocratic youths. When the church declared her marriage to King Louis VII of France void, Eleanor of Aquitaine narrowly evaded kidnapping attempts by both Theobald V, count of Blois, and Geoffrey, count of Nantes, brother to her eventual second husband, Henry Plantagenet, duke of Normandy and later king of England.29 This practice was no doubt invigorated by long-held cultural traditions directing violated women, who may have believed they had few feasible options available to them, to marry their rapists,30 although occasionally secular law intervened in an attempt to curb the practice.31 An annulment on the grounds of force and fear was predicated on the exertion of “enough force to move a constant man,”32 although ecclesiastical judges had few recommendations from canonists on how to apply this ideal in practice.33 The degree of violence suffered by women at the hands of their abductors was sometimes remarkable. Alice widow of Nicolas Crome appealed to a variety of courts not only to annul the marriage into which she had been coerced but also to retrieve the land stolen by her abductor, John Williamson. She alleged that she spent five weeks shut up in a locked house, mostly chained to the wall, and beaten repeatedly. At one point, Williamson summoned a priest and ordered Alice to confess her sins because he was going to kill her if she did not give up the location where she had stashed the deeds to her lands. Alice’s mother became her savior. She knew something was amiss when John wrote to her saying that Alice wanted to sell her former husband’s lands, even though Nicholas had expressly forbidden it. Her mother immediately alerted the mayor of Norwich, who engineered Alice’s rescue.34 5 Impotence  From the standpoint of the Catholic Church, vaginal penetrative sex is central to marriage. Again, going back to the time of Augustine, the church argued that the conjugal relationship satisfied three distinct goals: first, it was the only licit outlet for the relief of lust and thus a safeguard against fornication; second, procreation, as without children in mind even marital sex was sinful, and third, the “sacrament.”35 These priorities did not hold equal weight. As Ruth Mazo Karras recently observed, Christianity “never put so great a value on marital fertility as to allow the dissolution of a barren marriage, let alone forbid the formation of one.”36 Impotence and frigidity acted as a serious impediment but only if the condition was preexisting and undisclosed,37 thus indicating that the marriage had been contracted dishonestly. If it developed after the couple had consummated the union, it was regrettable but not an impediment. Proving sexual dysfunction, however, required time, money, and a loss of dignity. Canon law prescribed a three-year waiting period to certify that a man’s incapacity was in fact permanent. The English courts summoned matrons or physicians to testify to the nature of the man’s disability,38 airing publicly his inability to fulfill his duties as a married man: presumably, an experience that not many men willingly endured. As the case of Ely Office c Poynaunt, Swan, Goby and Pybbel (1378–80) demonstrates, divorce on these grounds was decidedly precarious. The church awarded John a divorce from his first wife because of his impotence; however, rather than remain unmarried, as the church recommended for those who suffered from natural impotence (as opposed to impotence by sorcery), he married again. When it came to the authorities’ attention, his second wife testified

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that “he was potent enough, not only to have intercourse but also to beget a child.” Accordingly, the church dissolved the second marriage and forced John to return to his first wife.39 Other impediments existed but rarely produced litigation. These included the impediment of crime (impedimentum criminis), error of person, and error of condition. The first among these, the impedimentum criminis acted chiefly as a deterrent. When a married man took a lover, and then wed her after the death of his wife, an impediment of crime came into being if it could be proven that there was “‘machination’ in the death of the first spouse or a sworn contract of marriage during the life of the first spouse.”40 The same applied when the roles were in reverse. While litigation was rare, the occasional request for a dispensation on these grounds surfaces in the papal penitentiary: such as that of Hermann Reychenberger, who hoped to marry his former lover, Barbara, after the natural death of her husband Osvald Baumgartner, even though the two had promised to marry each other during her first marriage.41 Error of condition was a consequence of a misalignment of canon and Roman law. Until the thirteenth century, marriage as an institution was only available to those with free status. While historians differentiate between the status of “slave” and “serf,” medieval canon law did not. It adopted the Roman laws on slavery and applied them to both slaves and the unfree alike. The church gradually came to support marriages between the unfree, as long as they had the permission of their masters (which, in practice, often translated into a feudal marriage fee, such as the merchet in England).42 The Decretals of Gregory IX, published in 1234, issued stiff penalties for lords who prevented their slaves from marrying.43 At the same time, it was determined that any free person who wed, believing mistakenly his spouse to be free, had grounds for divorce.44 The third impediment in this group is error of person. The Decretum Gratiani (completed in the mid-twelfth century) asserted that error of fortune (rich or poor) and error of quality (chaste or unchaste) could not nullify consent.45 When Gertrud von Lakendorff, a noblewoman from Constance in Germany, agreed to marry Markus von Pfalheim, it was because he had presented himself as a prosperous nobleman with various properties and castles in the Baltic region. She applied to the papal Penitentiary for a divorce on the grounds of error of person in 1470 after she learnt that he was in fact a “swindler and an apostate of the Teutonic Knights.”46 Thus, in Gertrud’s case, the soundness of her assertion was because her husband was an imposter (and, as an apostate, a particularly undesirable one) rather than that he was not as wealthy as she originally thought. Taken together with the impediments of impotence and error of condition, honesty takes center stage in the negotiation of marriage. If marriage was indeed to be a permanent bond, it was vital that both parties grasp the long-term implications of their commitment before taking their vows. Effecting a divorce came with its own difficulties. Because an annulment declared that the marriage had never been valid, the two parties did not have to concern themselves with negotiating alimony or child support: rather, they were to walk away with whatever they brought to the marriage. The reality was not as easy as it sounded. Few husbands were happy to relinquish the property they had acquired through their wives. It is not surprising then that most legal systems developed some mechanism for women to retrieve their property after an annulment. The English used the writ of cui ante divorcium (“whom before the divorce”) to commence legal proceeding.47 Mediterranean Europe accommodated dowry restitution petitions.48 The Scandinavian world had its own rules about marital property. In Sweden, because a woman’s kin group never renounced

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ownership upon marriage, they sidestepped the issue altogether;49 in Norway, whichever party was to blame for the dissolution lost rights to the dowry.50 Property was just one matter for consideration, however. What happened to the children? If the couple had married in good faith and believed their marriage to be valid (what canonists referred to as a “putative marriage”), the children remained legitimate, providing the couple had gone through all the formal requirements of marriage, such as the banns and solemnization.51 Fear of bastardizing one’s own children, however, was probably incentive enough for some couples to work through their problems rather than divorce.

JUDICIAL SEPARATION Introduced by the courts, not the canonists, a divorce from table and bed (divortium a mensa et thoro) is in effect a judicial separation granting a couple the right to live separately but not the ability to remarry. Therefore, it is not a divorce in the modern sense. Whereas multiple impediments existed as pretense for annulment, when it came to separation, there were only two acceptable grounds, adultery and cruelty. The church’s distaste for adultery reflects an age-old controversy over marriage as a monogamous institution, looking back to the early medieval period when polygamy and concubinage were normal practices in Germanic society. As a result, when it came to judicial separations, adultery was not defined to include the proverbial “one-night stand.” Rather the church reserved awards for those whose spouses were engaged in relationships of a quasi-marital nature. Thus, few instances of adultery resulted in judicial separations because the courts set such a high bar. Enforcement by the canonists of the “clean-hands rule,” in which “an adulterous husband was legally unable to charge his wife with adultery, no matter how she flaunted her extramarital affair” (and vice versa) must also have deterred many couples who might otherwise have sought separation on these grounds.52 Andrew Finch interprets this to mean that adultery in fact masked incompatibility: “dissatisfaction with an existing spouse led first to adultery, which in its turn led to further tensions and finally to separation.”53 While either spouse might be blamed for adultery, cruelty was an accusation most frequently leveled at husbands. How exactly the courts defined saevitia, though, is once again a difficult question to answer. As with the impediment of force and fear, the maxim guiding decisions was “enough force to move a constant man.” Yet, because both canon law and secular law permitted husbands to use a reasonable degree of force to discipline their wives, the difficulty lay in determining the boundaries between reasonable and unreasonable violence.54 The “rule of thumb,” once thought to be an English custom limiting the thickness of stick a man might use to beat his wife, has been proven an urban myth.55 However, there is reason to believe that wives tolerated a good degree of violence before turning to the courts for a judicial separation. Requests for separation typically alleged extreme violence. In 1349, when Margery de Devoine sued Richard Scot of Newcastle upon Tyne in England, she claimed that he had beaten her “with a staff about the head and shoulders, wounding her severely and knocking one of her eyes from the socket.” She left his home soon after out of fear for her life.56 Avraham Grossman has advanced a compelling argument that feudalism normalized beating, because you were always under someone’s rod.57 At the very least, for women, domestic violence had its spiritual benefits. Across Europe, women such as Angela of Foligno in Italy, Yvette of Huys in Flanders, and Dorothea of Montau in Germany “rose to higher planes of mystical experience through the pain they suffered at the hands of

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their husbands.”58,59 Indeed, marriage was thought to be proof of God’s mercy, “for it is the greatest purgatory on earth.”60 In practice, failure to offer material support might also fall into the category of cruelty. For example, in 1319, when María wife of Guadlard de Briva (Aragon) asserted that she feared living with her husband, the court’s main concern was that she “not be reduced to begging.”61 A material side to cruelty appears also in the rulings of French church courts. When denying applications for separation, the church courts issued two inhibitions: (1) that the husband not beat his wife “beyond the conjugal manner,” and (2) “that the husband is not to dissipate or sell or remove the community property.”62 In law, spiritual fornication (heresy or apostasy) might also be grounds for a judicial separation, although there are few instances on record. Couples might separate in order to join religious orders. If both parties consented and took vows or entered a monastery, much like the abbess Heloise and her philosopher-monk husband Peter Abelard, there was no need for litigation. Indeed, chaste marriage, in which husband and wife together renounced all future sexual activity, was the church’s ideal for couples past the age of childbearing.63 Presumably, Margery Kempe’s heroic struggle for chastity in marriage after fourteen children, if not the rest of her eccentric behavior, was common. Judicial separation was not the optimal solution to an incompatible marriage. While the church no longer required the couple to coreside, they were still married and might even be expected to accommodate their spouses’ sexual needs. A court-awarded separation did not end a husband’s rights to his wife’s property. If a wife hoped to support herself from that property, she needed to return to court and make this request part of a suit for alimony. While canonists supported an abused wife’s right to alimony, the church courts encountered difficulty in compelling husbands to make regular payments. Finally, any hint of sexual incontinence by the plaintiff, if it came to the attention of the court, was reason enough to force a reconciliation.64

Self-divorce Divorce rates across medieval Europe were consistently low. In England, divorce suits constituted between 10.2 percent and 21.7 percent of all matrimonial causes,65 in Flanders, between 15 and 35 percent;66 in Paris, 2 percent;67 in Regensberg, 20.4 percent;68 and in Sweden, 5.8 percent.69 The actual numbers of cases represented by these figures are generally quite small. For example, the medieval records of fifteenth-century Paris contain only ten annulments: surely, there were more than ten desperately unhappy couples in a city as densely populated as Paris? The reason why rates of divorce were so low is because most laymen avoided the courts altogether: litigation in a church court was expensive, publicly embarrassing, and the courts were pro-marriage, thus unlikely to produce the desired result. Self-divorce, as Richard Helmholz has described it,70 especially when accompanied by a cross-county move, was a far more viable option.71 Both the clergy and the laity of medieval Europe were well aware of the dangers brought about by self-divorce. Few clerics were willing to solemnize a marriage without evidence of the parties’ freedom to marry, nor was it unusual to expect a bride’s father to request letters testimonial from a suitor’s previous parish in order to prove his eligibility before granting permission to marry.72 Quantifying the scope of the practice in medieval Europe remains unlikely, largely because only those couples whose bigamous state became notorious have left us documentation. However, after marriage certificates became a more normal affair in the early modern era, outraged authorities turned their sights on the problem of bigamy.73

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TURNING POINTS IN THE HISTORY OF DIVORCE Marital dissolution in the ninth century was a far different experience to what it became in the sixteenth. An increasingly legal-minded church wised up to the matrimonial strategies of the laity. Using the formality of canon law, it worked to safeguard the sacramentality of marriage as well as the reputation of the church and especially the pope for upholding it, while still supplying the royal class with some marital flexibility.74 To return to the case that began our discussion, Henry VIII’s dilemma was that his plea for divorce arrived at the end of the process rather than the beginning. The ninth-century papacy surely would have sympathized with a man married to his older brother’s wife. However, by 1532 the papal dispensation which Henry and Catherine acquired before they entered into marriage had become such a fixed and incontestable document that only death or establishing a new church were practicable options for marital dissolution. The story of the medieval church’s campaign for permanence of the marital union begins in the ninth century with the great-grandson of Charlemagne, Lothar II of Burgundy, and his notorious attempt to divorce his wife Theutberga after only two years of marriage. Lothar rejected her in favor of Waldrada, his long-time lover and the mother of his only child. The allegations against Theutberga were caustic and sundry. Not only did Lothar claim that Theutberga engaged in sodomitical incest with her brother Hubert but he also claimed when she found herself to be pregnant she turned to abortion. Theutberga denied the allegations outright, and in 858, a surrogate who undertook the ordeal of boiling water on Theutberga’s behalf, cleared her name. However, this was not the end of the dispute: Theutberga was forced to flee and take shelter with King Charles the Bald. Meanwhile, the charges against Theutberga multiplied to include also sterility and an inner yearning to become a nun. In 862, the Synod of Aachen granted Lothar a divorce and he married Waldrada. Disappointed by the turn of events, Theutberga appealed to Pope Nicholas I, who immediately voided the synod’s decision, drawing him into what eventually became an international and highly political debacle. Involving the pope meant not only pitting church against state but also the pope in Rome against provincial prelates more accustomed to obeying their king than their spiritual overlord. Under these circumstances, protecting marriage came to mean defending the authority of the church and of the pope as St. Peter’s vicar. Nicholas’s vehement opposition was a key moment in the “churchifying” of marriage,75 but it also signaled an all-out war, fought mainly by lawyers in courts, against opponents of the sacramentality of marriage, especially royalty who jeopardized it with their capricious whims. Lothar resumed his marriage with Theutberga in 865, but did not give up hope for an annulment. Lothar died in 869, soon after meeting Nicholas’s successor, Pope Adrian II, whom Lothar had hoped might be more amenable to the cause. Lothar’s behavior acquired great significance when it became the focal point of his contemporary, Bishop Hincmar of Rheims, in the treatise “On the Divorce of Lothar.” In this treatise, Hincmar explained to the Christian world that Lothar’s marriage was not just another royal scandal. Kings were subject to the same rules of marriage as were all Christians with one exception: they were expected to set a moral example for their subjects.76 The campaign for the indissolubility of marriage that began in earnest with Lothar’s divorce reached its apex at the Fourth Lateran Council under the lawyer-pope Innocent III. Not only do the canons issued by the Council consistently underscore the sacramental nature of marriage but they eliminate reasons to sue for divorce by amending the marriage process. The canons declare:

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FIGURE 7.2  Matthew Paris, The Fourth Lateran Council. © The Picture Art Collection, Alamy Stock Photo.

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not only virgins but also married laymen and women may obtain salvation (canon 1); incest (consanguinity, affinity) is prohibited within four degrees (canon 50); only upright and reputable people can present evidence on forbidden degrees (canon 52); clandestine marriage is forbidden: all marriages should be preceded by the reading of the banns and solemnized at church door (canon 51); and Jews and Muslims must wear identifiers on their clothing so that Christians do not marry them unwittingly (canon 68).

As David d’Avray has noted, in doing so, the church closed the “loopholes subverting the system.”77 Asserting its jurisdiction over marriage because of its sacramental nature opened the door for the Catholic Church figuratively to enter the bedrooms of Christians across the known world. Yet, because marriage in the medieval context was tied inextricably to inheritance practices, political alliances, and royal succession, doing so permitted the church to gain the upper hand in the power struggle between church and state and the developing papal monarchy. Admittedly, the struggle for control over marriage continued well into the modern era; even the strident approach adopted at the Council of Trent (1563) toward marriage did not draw wayward Christians easily into line. Within the church, clerical marriage became an issue of heated contention during the period of Gregorian reform, although the origin of the debate extends back at least as far as the fourth century and became increasingly sensitive after the Synod of Pavia in 1022 denounced unchaste clergy as “the root of all evil.”78 Pope Gregory VII (r.1073–1085) argued that reform must begin with the clergy, urging them “to live in the manner of angels.”79 The era witnessed monastic values seep beyond the bounds of convents to act as a model for all clergy. Accordingly, secular clerics were divorced en masse by Council decree. While previous councils had targeted clerical marriage for reform, it was only at the First Lateran Council in 1123 that the church declared that ordination to major

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orders constituted a diriment impediment to marriage (i.e., it invalidated an attempted marriage). This legislation effectively dissolved the marriage contracts of all clerics in major orders at once. In a massive wave of divorce across Christendom, clerical wives were reduced to a state of concubinage and the children of these unions tainted with illegitimacy.80 Despite ecclesiastical prohibition, priestly marriage continued in one form or another and was often the preferred state of communities who saw a married priest as a lesser threat to parishioners’ marriages. In medieval Iberia, priests and their families were such a common sight that they were “considered normal,” even two hundred years after the ban came into effect.81 The church’s stance on clerical marriage expanded the categories of impediments upon which a divorce might be granted, but it also stigmatized women across Europe who continued to engage in relationships which were accepted as marriages within the communities where they lived but rejected by the church.

THE EXPERIENCE OF DIVORCE Gender, region, and religion all played critical roles in shaping the experience of divorce. Marriage did not mean the same thing to women as it meant to men. For women, marriage was a necessity. Inheritance practices across much of northern Europe excluded women from the majority of the patrimony, and in the south where dowries were weighty, marital property laws prevented women from gaining access to their dowries without the assistance of a man. In addition, a “breadwinner ideology” cultivated a wage gap in which a woman earned on average 71 percent of a man’s wages.82 As a result, with few exceptions, women were rarely able to support themselves financially outside marriage. Men and women’s patterns of marriage litigation diverged accordingly. At the consistory court in York, male litigants appeared in court chiefly to find release from marriage vows, while female litigants sought to keep their marriages together at all costs.83 The same trend crops up in documentation relating to self-divorce. In fifteenth-century Flanders, men who abandoned their wives and went on to remarry monopolized the court’s time, with eighty-six of the ninety-four cases of self-divorce.84 Runaway men and the misery they left in their wake also became a target of the campaign led by ecclesiastical authorities in late medieval Champagne.85 The increase in women’s economic prosperity brought about by the workforce crisis following the Black Death furnishes the most compelling evidence for a link between women’s matrimonial fates and the availability of employment opportunities. Fostering what has sometimes been depicted as a “Golden Age” for women in northern Europe’s towns and cities,86 freshly independent women wielded “girl power”87 when it came to the decision to marry. Not only did they delay marrying until their early twenties, leading to the onset of the European marriage pattern (EMP),88 they defied parental authority by choosing their own spouses, which P. J. P. Goldberg has argued surely produced more companionate marriages89 and may even have decreased rates of divorce.90 The lesson to be learned from all of this is that, with the exception of this post-plague anomaly, for the majority of the medieval period women likely stayed in marriages that they found unsatisfactory because divorce was not a viable option. Regional variation in law and custom ensured that the divorce experience differed sometimes quite dramatically. Despite the purportedly universal nature of canon law for Christian nations, regional values directed how the courts applied the law. While canonists did not recognize simple incompatibility as sufficient justification to separate, the court

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of the official of Brussels from 1448 to 1459 awarded fourteen judicial separations on these grounds alone and another seventy-five cited incompatibility in addition to other causes.91 Where a bigamist in England was reunited with his first wife against his will and risked also punishment for adultery by whipping in procession around the parish church three Sundays in a row, the church courts in Champagne would sentence him to life in prison or even execution,92 and in Sweden beheading.93 Canon law also coexisted with regional custom that might take precedence over canonical prescription. In Wales, grounds for divorce expanded drastically to include also leprosy and even foul breath.94 While the Welsh endeavored to discourage divorce by making it a publicly shameful experience, there were situations in which a divorce was socially necessary. For example, a wife who did not leave her husband after his third infidelity “lapsed into shame.”95 In Gaelic Ireland, gender expectations guided the court’s decisions. A man had the right to divorce his wife if she failed to carry out her wifely duties; if she brought disgrace upon him; or if she attempted to procure an abortion. A woman’s bases were much more constricted, including if he took a second wife; if he was a homosexual or too obese to have sex; if he mistreated her; if he had become a vagrant; or if he destroyed her good name.96 At times, regional laws sprung up to circumvent the church altogether. In Venice, for example, judicial separations were effected by notarial instrument. Believing that marriage was a “private contract” that should “be controlled privately,”97 Venetians turned to notaries to draw up acts of separation, in which even incompatibility was sufficient explanation for separate residences.98 In Christian Iberia, with the help of a notary, a couple might contract a temporary marriage intended to last only a few years through a “letter of company of bed and board.”99 Proximity to Muslim Spain may have inspired this practice. Iberian Muslims practiced a form of temporary marriage (mut`a), a contract with a fixed term, ranging anywhere from a few hours to several years at a time.100 Secular law might also complicate a marital separation with additional strictures. In both England and Venice, an adulterous wife forfeited part of her marriage portion (in England, dower; in Venice, dowry),101 although the situation might be rectified by reconciliation before the husband’s death. This added burden made separate living untenable for many women. Joanne Ferraro contends also that the law was ripe for abuse: husbands concocted false allegations of adultery in order to retain their wives’ dowries upon separation.102 Further, while the lex Julia made it difficult for a cuckolded husband to justify killing his adulterous wife, the law protected her father’s right to do so, providing the act was carried out in a fit of rage.103 Pockets of Christendom hosted substantial populations of Jews who were exempt from Christian marriage laws. Forced to pay the price for autonomy, Jewish communities obtained approval to form Jewish chapters (betai din) for the resolution of religious disputes, including litigation arising out of marital disputes. Jewish toleration of divorce, admittedly within an unmistakably patriarchal framework, stands in stark contrast to Christian hostility. The rabbinic court awarded men bills of divorce at will: there was no need to conform to a prescribed list of acceptable rationalizations. Not so for women. A Jewish wife could sue for divorce on limited grounds: infertility, spousal abuse, desertion, or “pronounced incompatibility.”104 The regularity of divorce in Jewish communities is reflected in the matrimonial process. Negotiations for marriage typically included ketubah provision. The marriage agreement outlined the precise nature of the dowry in addition to a specified amount from the husband’s resources set aside at the wedding to maintain the wife in the event of death or divorce.105 Men who beat their wives might

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also expect to be penalized for doing so. Jewish sages advocated corporal punishment for abusive husbands, from beating to amputation of the hand with which he struck his wife.106 Once again, the Gentile community in which Jews resided had an impact upon the experience of the divorce, as we learn from the case of Muriel Jew of Oxford. In 1240, after twenty-three years of marriage to David, an eminent Jewish financier with ties to the crown, Muriel’s husband sued for a divorce citing his wife’s infertility. In court, Muriel fought the allegations and the divorce, cleverly drawing out proceedings for two years, so that David took the unprecedented step of appealing to the royal curia for backing. The king appointed the archbishop of York to intercede on David’s behalf. Somewhat unexpectedly, the archbishop supported David’s plea—perhaps because marriage was not a Jewish “sacrament”?—declaring the marriage null. In doing so, the archbishop made a cogent argument for dissolving the rabbinic court as having outgrown its usefulness, hinting that this may have been his underlying motivation all along. David went on to marry Licoricia of Winchester, a fellow financier, who bore him a son before David passed away in 1244. After the divorce, Muriel descended into “dire financial straits,” implying that ketubah provisions were not always adequate to sustain a jilted wife.107 Al-Andalus, the shrinking Muslim domain in Iberia, was one of the few regions in Europe with a substantial population of Muslim residents. Marriage laws there differed in some rather fundamental ways. For example, following Muhammad’s example, a man might marry up to four wives at a time, while a woman was restricted to one husband. Men might also supplement their wives with various concubines and female slaves without fear of reproach. A woman’s extramarital sexual activity, however, was defined as fornication and punished harshly. Iberian Muslims did permit divorce (talaq); although Muhammad

FIGURE 7.3  Jewish couples dancing at a wedding, c. 1460–1480. Seriform via Wikimedia Commons.

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claimed, “of all things permitted by God, divorce is the one he hates the most.”108 Much like what we see in marriage, divorce law sustained a substantial gender imbalance. A man might divorce his wife at will, providing he furnished her with adequate compensation. A woman faced multiple restrictions. Unless her contract specifically stipulated grounds for divorce (for example, if he beat her), she had to petition a judge, and she might only do so if her husband failed to maintain her properly, or he was impotent.109 Intermarriage between faiths, as rare as it was, might also pave the way for divorce. Both Christian and Jewish sacred texts forbid intermarriage. Islam permitted it, providing it was a Muslim man who married a Christian or Jewish woman, and the children of such a union were considered Muslim. Tancred, the medieval canonist, made it clear that because divorce was an acceptable practice in Jewish law, any union between a Christian and a Jew failed to qualify as a marriage.110

CONCLUSION If the Christian clergy and laity seemed to defend competing ideals of marriage, we should not draw too firm a line in the sand. As James Brundage has argued, secular values often crept into the decisions made by ecclesiastical judges. “The courts granted divorces with the right of remarriage when the law said they could not do so, they granted separations on grounds that the canons did not recognize, and conversely some of the grounds that are most elaborately discussed in the commentaries appear infrequently in practice.”111 Deviating far afield from legal prescription, the courts sometimes awarded judicial separations by reason of habitual drunkenness,112 reminding us that what was probably most important to an ecclesiastical judge was a workable solution for the couple standing before him. The church courts have long been described as the “marriage counsellors” of the Middle Ages. Admittedly, they were “heavy-handed,”113 eager to uphold a marriage if there was even a glimmer of hope but, as one suspects, realistic when there was not. Knowledge of the common law of marriage was widespread, and those who wished to escape an incompatible marriage knew how to exploit the system to their best interests. While Henry VIII found himself boxed into a corner when he hoped to divorce Catherine of Aragon, many others made creative use of a complex system of marriage law to find ways to break their vows.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Representations of Marriage Iconographical Origins and Trends HARRIET M. SONNE DE TORRENS

This chapter offers an overview of the representation of marriage through a selection of works which date from the fourth to the fifteenth century. An assortment of pictorial compositions on a diverse range of works and media (manuscripts, liturgical vessels, paintings, metal artifacts, and wedding gifts) are reviewed in relation to the changing perspectives on Christian marriages. A selection of works from the Latin West and Byzantium, each with different functions, are presented chronologically in the following three broad, art historical periods.1 The first section is the early medieval period from the fourth to the eleventh century. This is followed by the combined section of the Romanesque and Gothic periods which includes works from primarily the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries. Lastly, there is the late medieval period which reviews works attributed to the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries. Each section of this chapter highlights iconographic features which portray some of the dominant topics in the historical discourse on the different types of marriages (carnal, spiritual, symbolic, mystical), the developing laws associated with marital agreements (licit or irregular unions), the ceremonial customs, and the sacramental nature of what constituted a legal or illegal marriage in the eyes of the church and families. Given the regional scope and the brevity of this chapter, this is a synopsis of the main pictorial developments in marital iconography, which have been identified from a growing but still fragmented collection of scholarship on the subject.2 Representations of marriage scenes are complex. Different gestures, stances, accessories, symbols, and contexts define a range of situations and perspectives in the different periods and geographic regions. A marital scene may narrate a biblical, literary, secular, or historical event; or it might symbolize and personify a theological or legal concept. As a result, marital portraits are often difficult to decipher; furthermore, medieval imagery was ideological in its construct and often intentionally ambiguous to evoke multiple meanings for instructional purposes. As evidenced by the growing corpus of scholarship on the subject, there was no definitive composition nor a fixed iconography for representing the many ideas associated with marriage. And yet, there are common iconographical features, unique to the representation of marriage, that were shared, known, and sustained through the centuries, despite the inevitable loss of works or absence of examples in some periods. For art historians, the recovery of past meanings

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requires in-depth research on the background, provenance, purpose, and function of individual works when interpreting an image. For artisans, the challenge was to create a pictorial language that was understood and resonated with both the patron and the viewers. A composition could relay a specific meaning in time or a totally new idea. Nevertheless, discernable patterns, especially concerning hand gestures, do emerge in the timespan covered in this chapter.3

THE EARLY MEDIEVAL PERIOD This section examines works dated from the fourth to the eleventh century and attributed to the art historical periods known as the early Christian, the Byzantine, the Ottonian, and the Pre-Romanesque. In the Latin West, it was a time when Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Germanic, and Frankish cultures, their religions and laws coexisted and commingled as Christianity spread northward. The formulation of a doctrine on Christian marriage and the role of the church was a gradual process that did not fully evolve until canonists and theologians were in agreement in the later Middle Ages. This mingling of cultures resulted in an environment of inconsistent practices and laws concerning betrothal, the marriage ritual, customs, the role of the family and the church. Nevertheless, this was the time when artisans established the core features of matrimonial iconography, a repertoire of gestures and stances that continued through the later centuries.

The origins of nuptial iconography The medieval depictions of marriage are indebted to the Greco-Roman and the Judaic legacy of art and marriage practices. It is impossible to discuss the later representations in medieval art without briefly examining the first centuries of Christian art and their Roman models. The earliest works from this transitional period retain mixed motifs, pagan and Christian, and integrate practices from the old world with the new religion as theologians sought to define what constituted a Christian marriage and how that differed from pagan customs.4 Christianity adopted monogamy and with it, three key features from Roman marriage laws: the idea of mutual consent, civic contractual agreements, and the judicial role of witnesses. In Christian doctrine, marriage becomes indissoluble, except if one of the partners dies, whereas in Roman law, divorce—i.e., the dissolution of a legally valid marriage, which left the parties free to contract a legally valid marriage with another spouse—was supported. Mutual consent to marry was recognized from the start by Christian theologians as a core requirement, whereas consummation, the act of sexual intercourse, was not considered necessary nor always a desirable requirement for a marriage. In the beginning, Roman gestures and stances were transposed into Christian contexts to represent a marital state. These included the handclasp, both the left-handed clasp (the joining of two left hands or the right and left hands) and the dextrarum iunctio (the joining of two right hands), variations of marital embraces, and the representation of the tabula nuptialis, the long-standing custom of marriage contracts, which in the early Christian theological texts is also referred to as the tabulae matrimoniales.5 Roman attributes were gradually modified to convey Christian meaning. The earliest extant works are funerary works, sarcophagi, which depicted Christian couples. This was followed by representations of biblical couples on wall mosaics in the early churches and in manuscript illustrations commissioned by the church. And from the sixth and seventh

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centuries there is an array of extant Byzantine jewelry, such as rings, pendants, belts, coins, and crowns that have survived, and imperial decorative objects, which portrayed nuptial blessings and marriage as a divine institution. These early works established the basic nuptial iconography that would continue in succeeding centuries.

The double portraits: Dextrarum iunctio, veils, and crowns Christian couples, double portraits of the deceased often portrayed in their youth, are represented on numerous early Christian sarcophagi, either as bust portraits or standing with their hands clasped. On the early Christian sarcophagus in San Ambrogio in Milan, c. 385–390,6 a bust portrait of a deceased couple is portrayed in a tondo (a circular frame), affirming their social and legal status.7 The woman’s right hand rests on the man’s right arm. He glances at her, acknowledging their relationship and holds the scroll, the marriage contract, in his left hand.8 Mutual consent, a key Christian criterion is confirmed by the couple’s recognition, while the presence of the scroll provides legal evidence of their agreement. St. Ambrose (c. 339–397) and St. Augustine (c. 354–430) note the tabulae matrimoniales documented the marriage agreement.9 St. Augustine notes the tabula nuptialis was signed by the bishop.10 The Christian faith of the couple is revealed by the Christian imagery that surrounds the portrait on the sarcophagus: the Adoration of the Magi on the right and in the lower register Christ the Philosopher is seated with the two deceased, in diminutive size, kneeling before him. Another early Christian sarcophagus, the Ludovisi sarcophagus, c. 320, renders a deceased Christian couple standing, like the Roman models, with hands clasped in the dextrarum iunctio to indicate their marital status.11 Within Christian iconography the dextrarum iunctio gradually came to symbolize a consummated, legally binding and consensual marital agreement. For Tertullian (c.155–c. 240), the joining of right hands represented the union of body and soul.12 The Judeo-Christian model for dextrarum iunctio was the marriage of Tobias and Sarah (Tob. 7:15, Vulgate Bible): “et adprehendens dexteram filiae suae dexterae Tobiae tradidit dicens Deus Abraham et Deus Isaac et Deus Iacob sit vobiscum et ipse coniungat vos impleatque benedictionem suam in vobis.” The woman is veiled, in keeping with the traditional Roman bridal costume, a feature that continued in Christian ceremonies but with some controversy as it was associated with a pagan rite.13 Tertullian (c.155–c. 240) in De Oratione (21 and 29) discusses the importance of both virgins and betrothed women wearing the veil several times. St. Ambrose reiterates the importance of the nuptial veil, citing the  virtuous nature of Rebecca in the Old Testament.14 The veil became a symbol for the sanctity of a Christian marriage, as St. Ambrose stated: “Since marriage itself should be sanctified by the sacerdotal veil and the blessing, how can it be called a marriage when there is no agreement of faith?”15 The sign of the veil and dextrarum iunctio evoked immediate, powerful meanings for viewers.16 The early Christian use of the veil in the marriage ritual continued to have symbolic meaning in the church. In “Pope Nicholas I’s” (r.858–867) letter to the Bulgars, 866 CE, he mentions the “celestial veil” in the marriage ceremony and specifies a person cannot use the veil if being married for a second time.17 The Roman custom of using floral wreaths for bridal couples continued in the Judaic and Early Christian period with wreaths and crowns, features which persisted to be popular customs in the Latin West.18 The favored custom of crowning received mixed acceptance in the early centuries. Tertullian, for example, rejected the custom because he considered it too closely tied to pagan practices.19 In the Byzantine marriage ceremony, the crowning

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of the couple continues as part of the marriage ritual,20 and in Pope Nicholas I’s letter to the Bulgars, c. 866, he notes that when a newly married couple leave the church they wear the crowns, which are normally kept in the church.21 On  the sarcophagus dedicated to Catervius and his wife Severina (Duomo at Tolentino),22 the  deceased Christian couple in the roundel is blessed with the hand of God extending a crowning wreath over their heads, indicating God’s blessing of the union.23 Even though there was not a consensus that this pagan custom should continue, it must have been widely practiced as Gregory of Nazianzus (329–389) refers to the bridal crown (stephanos) in a baptismal homily, Oratio 40, In Sanctum Baptisma 18. Gregory of Nazianzus noted that some families had requested the priest to perform this rite in the wedding ceremony, demonstrating the popularity of the rite.24 A similar motif is seen on the gold glass vessel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, inv. 15.168), dated to c. 200–499. A couple faces the viewer with a crown between them. The inscription reads, “vivatis in deo.”25

The New Testament: Spiritual marriages26 The Old and New Testament marriages were the models used by early theologians to develop liturgical and sacramental ideas on what constituted a Christian marriage. For artisans, the biblical accounts were opportunities to develop iconography that represented regular and irregular marital relationships, such as spiritual and chaste marriages. The nature and legitimacy of spiritual marriages was a complex topic among leading theologians in the early centuries. In the view of the church fathers, the sole criterion for a legitimate marriage was the mutual consent of the two parties, not consummation. Three spiritual marriages from the Old and New Testaments were discussed as models to confirm the validity of unconsummated marriages. The first model was St. Paul’s description of Christ’s marriage with Ecclesia (Eph. 5:24–32), which was understood as synonymous with the Judeo-architype of God’s marriage with Israel; the second was Adam and Eve’s marriage in the Garden of Eden, prior to original sin and the “Fall of Mankind” (Gen. 2:24–25).27 The third model was Mary and Joseph’s marriage (Mt. 1:18–20), which St. Augustine cited as the ideal, spiritual marriage.28 Representations of the spiritual marriage of Mary and Joseph are usually considered to be a late medieval expression. However, this is incorrect for an early Christian tradition existed. There is a little-known, marble sarcophagus fragment, dated to c. 370–400 CE, with a scene of the marriage of Mary and Joseph modeled on the Roman tradition (Figure  8.1). In the center, Mary stands to the left of Joseph. Her left hand is joined with his right hand. The left-handed gesture, not the dextrarum iunctio, confirmed their agreement to wed and at the same time distinguished their spiritual union from a consummated marriage. A figure, possibly Christ, officiates their union. Immediately to the left of Mary is a diminutive representation of Joseph resting his head on his left hand (Mt. 1:20), signifying his first dream, the moment when the angel tells him to wake and take Mary as his wife. The angel’s right hand is shown in a blessing gesture over Joseph’s head signifying the Lord’s command (Mt. 1:22–23). As was the case in the portrayal of early Christian angels, the angel has no wings, only a halo. In later centuries, Joseph’s dream-pose when rendering the holy couple’s marital agreement is conflated with scenes of the Nativity of Christ. The scene refers to Matthew 1:24, “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.” After the representation of Joseph’s dream and the standing figures of Mary and Joseph,

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FIGURE 8.1  Marriage of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, sarcophagus fragment, c. 370–400, Crozatier Museum, Le Puy-en-Velay, France. Photo: Musée Crozatier © Luc Olivier.

there is a depiction of two men and a haloed figure, possibly an angel or Christ. The fragment (41.5 cm high, 102 cm long, 12 cm deep) was discovered by Abbot Lebeuf who noticed it in the wall of the Baptistery of St. John in Le Puy-en-Velay in 1752.29 Today the fragment is located in the Crozatier Museum in Le Puy-en-Velay, France. Joseph Wilpert presents a reconstruction of the sarcophagus with the three additional fragments showing the four scenes.30 The 1932 reconstruction includes the additional fragments, with two men to the right of the haloed angel and concludes with a scene of the Adoration of the Magi. Evidence of the continued interest in representing Joseph and Mary’s spiritual union wanes in the succeeding centuries but is revived in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries on works in Scandinavia, France, and Spain, when the subject of spiritual marriages reemerges as a topic of interest among theologians and canonists.

The Old Testament: The role of the patriarchs The fifth-century mosaics on the nave wall in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome have some of the earliest biblical representations of marriage scenes. There are two scenes which depict Moses’s marriage to Zipporah (Exod. 2:21) and Jacob’s marriage to Rachel (Gen. 29:10–30:1). The right hands of Zipporah and Moses are joined in the dextrarum iunctio. In this example, the Bible explains how Zipporah’s father, Jethro, gave his daughter to Moses; Jethro, the patriarch, stands between the couple with his hands resting on their shoulders, imparting his blessing and consent to the marriage. Three women attendants to the left of Zipporah and four male attendants to the right of Moses, stand as witnesses to the marriage. The presence of the witnesses are not part of the biblical account and instead they reflect the criteria in Roman law and the early church that required witnesses to validate a marriage and the mutual consent of the bridal pair.31

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Biblical accounts of irregular or clandestine marriages, with components of deceit and betrayal, were portrayed in a variety of ways depending on the individual narratives. On the west wall in the nave of Santa Maria Maggiore is a representation of Jacob and Rachel’s marriage (Gen. 29:10–30:1). Laban, the father of Rachel, stands between them. Jacob and Rachel’s hands are clasped, in the dextrarum iunctio. Standing very close is the representation of Leah, signaling Laban’s betrayal to Jacob.32 Another example is the marriage of Abraham and Sarah, which is rendered in the fifth-to-sixth-century, reconstructed manuscript of the Cotton Genesis (London, British Library, Cotton MS Otho. B. VI). In this case, Abraham grasps Sarah’s right wrist, not her right hand, with his right hand. This subtle difference emphasizes Abraham’s dominance over Sarah,33 but it also signals to viewers that this was an irregular marriage according to the church’s rules on incest, consanguinity and monogamy.34 Sarah was Abraham’s sister (Gen. 12:18; 20:2; 20:12) and she was not his only wife, as Abraham was a polygamist.

Divinely instituted and nuptial blessings The idea that a Christian marriage was divinely instituted (Gen. 2:22–24) permeated the early discourse on marriage and gave rise to questions concerning the indissoluble nature of marriage as well as the role of nuptial blessings in the marriage ceremony. For example, how many nuptial blessings should there be and at what point in the marriage ceremony should they be recited?35 The earliest pictorial references to Christian nuptial blessings begins with the Roman portraits, where a third person, the pronubia, frequently stands behind, between, or in front of the standing couple, personifying Juno, Concordia, or Hymenaeus, who offer their blessings to the couple.36 Gradually this Roman deity is superseded with Christian symbols or a representation of Christ, as on the Solidi dated to c. 450 where Christ is pronubus.37 The betrothal ring was given to the bride by the groom, similar to the giving of arrha or arras, a confirmation of their marriage, whereas, the bride gave a dowry or dos. In the Byzantine collection at Dumbarton Oaks, there are several examples, marriage belts, rings, and solidi, where the standing couple has the figure of Christ between them.38 These motifs, often with inscriptions, offered the bridal couple a kind of apotropaic protection, nuptial blessings, and a visual affirmation of their Christian faith.39

Feudal gestures and family agreements in the eleventh century The depictions of marriage and marital scenarios shift in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The few extant examples from this period illustrate biblical marriages, family arrangements, and introduce feudal gestures into the marriage iconography. The iconography of the earlier centuries continues but with modifications. The presence of the family dominates, reflecting contemporary thought that marriage was a social and political arrangement, not a religious act. In the eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon illuminated manuscript, the Old English Hexateuch, c. 1025–1049 (London, British Library, MS Cott. Claudius B. IV, fol. 12r) known as Aelfric’s paraphrase, there is an illustration of the sons of Noah taking wives (Gen. 6:2).40 The women are veiled and the young men embrace their chosen brides in the presence of their parents, Noah and his wife.41 In the same manuscript (fol. 45r), there is a representation of Jacob and Rachel’s marriage; the duplicity of Laban is portrayed. Laban stands with his right hand raised, but his left hand points toward Jacob and Rachel who are embracing, acknowledging their right to now marry.42 Rachel is veiled. Leah stands off to the right with hands raised in an orant gesture, accepting that her sister is now

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Jacob’s second wife. In the Spanish-Catalonian Roda Bible, c. 1000–1099, the marriage of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 4:9–12) is represented (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS lat. 6. II. fol. 1r).43 Boaz stands with his left palm outreached to Ruth who lays her right hand on his palm. Boaz’s right hand is raised as if taking an oath. And in the marriage of Mary and Joseph in the Bernulfus Gospels (Reichenau, c. 1040–1050), where the holy couple stand facing each other, the artist has used a legal “vassal gesture” between them rather than a left-handed clasp or dextrarum iunctio.44 This gesture usually signified loyalty and feudal allegiance (Utrecht, Rijksmuseum Het Catharijneconvent, ABM MS 3, fol. 7v).45 The later representation of the marriage between Tobias and Sarah in the late twelfth-century Bible (Moulins, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 0001, fol. 288v) also uses the feudal gesture to portray their marriage.46 The feudal gesture does not continue with any momentum in the succeeding centuries. During the Pre-Romanesque period, contractual arrangements between affluent families remained a key part of the marriage ceremonies. The marriage contract from Bari, dated to 1028, illustrates the bridal pair.47 Both the woman and the man, who wear marital crowns, hold a scroll, visually signifying that they are married according to a contractual agreement. The representation of the church, either by the presence of a priest or ecclesiastic setting, is almost non-existent in the meagre corpus of works which illustrate nuptial ceremonies during the tenth and eleventh centuries.

ROMANESQUE AND GOTHIC PERIODS The twelfth and thirteenth centuries heralded a greater interest in the subject of marriage, from the theological perspective and in terms of the artistic production of related imagery. The expansion of ecclesiological power in northern Europe and the prolific construction of monastic complexes and parish churches across the Latin West, generated a wide range of manuscripts, sculpture, wall murals, and liturgical objects. The representation of marriage, as a celebrated concept, gained pictorial momentum as the church sought to enforce the new law.48 The iconography of the earlier centuries reemerged to portray specific ideas. This was the period in which leading members of the church debated what constituted a legal Christian marriage, consent versus consummation, with active proponents of both sides, depending on the purpose of the works produced.

Marital affection In medieval iconography, the timeless gesture of an embrace can have different meanings in different contexts. For example, the embrace which shows each spouse cupping the other’s chin with the free hand was used to reflect a range of relationships, carnal lust as well as marital affection, each meaning defined by the context.49 The gesture is described in the Song of Songs (2:6), “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” On the Tryde baptismal font by the Majestatis workshop in Scania, the southern region of Sweden under Danish rule in the Middle Ages, the representation of four couples embracing or standing side by side on the side of the upper basin, has engaged a number of historians.50 While there has been no firm consensus on the identity of all the four pairs, there is a general acceptance that one of the heterosexual couples depicts the Danish King Valdemar I (r.1146–1198) and his Queen Sofia of Minsk (c. 1140–1198) (Figure  8.2).51 The two couples show their affections by an embrace and caressing each other’s chin. The male figure holds his left hand under the chin of the female and embraces her with his right arm. The affectionate gesture is similar to the

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FIGURE 8.2  Danish King Valdemar I and Sofia of Minsk, baptismal font, late twelfth century, Tryde Church, Scania, Sweden. Photo: Author. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

gesture described in verse 2:6 in the Song of Solomon. Marital affection, as in the gesture of touching the spouse’s chin, is rendered in the Emblem of Marriage (finished before 1213, an artist’s model book, ink on vellum).52 An embracing couple is seated on a bed, the woman on the left and man on the right. The man’s left hand cups the woman’s chin and the woman’s right hand cups the man’s chin. A young girl stands to the right, with her right hand raised pointing to the couple and her left hand cradling the head of a swaddled infant lying in a crib.53 In this example, the composition emphasizes the concept of marital procreation, which the church considered the chief purpose of marriage.54

The sacrament of marriage St. Augustine’s discourse on marriage does not specifically define marriage as a sacrament. It does, however, note that it was a spiritual and divine institution; the benefit of marriage was “fidelity, procreation and sacrament.”55 Marriage as a sacrament is not fully defined until the twelfth-century writings of Hugh of St. Victor and his protégé, Peter Lombard.

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Marriage as a sacrament is given a full treatment in the work of Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica (1225–74).56 The discourse on marriage as a sacrament was hotly debated between the canon lawyers in Bologna and the theologians in Paris. Imagery reflecting both sides of the discourse, carnal versus spiritual marriages, emerges during this period.57 At this time, artisans sought to differentiate the spiritual and the sacramental nature of marriage from the consummated union. In northern Europe, the construction of hundreds of parish churches in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries necessitated the making of interior liturgical furnishings, such as baptismal fonts. The baptismal fonts produced by the Sighraf workshop on Gotland introduced the sacramental nature of marriage in the context of baptism. The Sighraf workshop produced twenty-three baptismal fonts, many with a scene of the Nativity of Christ, which depicted the spiritual marriage of Mary and Joseph.58 In the Nativity scenes, Mary and Joseph’s right and left hands are clasped, not the dextrarum iunctio, as seen for example on the two baptismal fonts at Aakirkeby on the Danish island of Bornholm (Figure 8.3) and Grotlingbo on the Swedish island of Gotland. This left-handed gesture used by the Sighraf workshop recalls the early Christian sarcophagus fragment at Le Puy-en-Velay, discussed previously, which shows Mary and Joseph standing with a left-handed clasp. The Roman manner of depicting standing, married couples, has been

FIGURE 8.3  Nativity of Christ, baptismal font, Aakirkeby Church, Bornholm, Denmark, Sighraf workshop, c. 1200. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

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replaced by a setting of the Nativity scene, a direct reference to the biblical account of Joseph’s acceptance of Mary as his wife (Mt. 1:18–20). Joseph sits to the right in the pose of his First Dream. Not only did the angel’s revelation to Joseph indicate the “validity” of their marriage but as Rupert of Deutz (d.1129) wrote, the appearance of the Lord’s angel was a sign of the “sacramental nature” and legality of the holy couple’s spiritual union. The sanctity of the marriage was not so much the joining of the flesh but the promise of loyalty. The portrait of the couple’s spiritual union on baptismal fonts reflected the contemporary discourse on the shared sacramental “essence” of marriage and baptism. As Hugh of St. Victor wrote: … in marriage a twofold sacrament existed: one in carnal intermingling, the sacrament of that association which exists between Christ and Church; the other in conjugal association, the sacrament of that association which exists between God and soul … that is, it is said to exist in faith and charity, namely in Holy Church and between the faithful. (Hugh of St.Victor, De Sacramentis, II, ii, 8)59 For Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), Joseph’s spousal acceptance of Mary was not only the “essence” of what the church considered a valid marriage but the act, itself, was an affirmation of the incarnation.60 There are several other works attributed to the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries which portray the spiritual marriage of Mary and Joseph with the left-handed handclasp in the Nativity of Christ scene. Variations of the left-handed clasp between the Holy couple were portrayed in England, France, Spain, and Norway. The earliest evidence of Joseph’s affection and acceptance of Mary as his wife is seen in the Winchester Bible in the representation of the Nativity of Christ in the Genesis initial (fol. 5r), dated to c. 1155–85. In France, on the capital in the southern porch of the Benedictine collegiate church of Saint-Laurent d’Auzon, Auzon (Haute-Loire, France), Joseph sits in his First Dream pose at the end of Mary’s bed. His left hand is joined with Mary’s left hand. In Spain, the Missale Vetus Oxomense,61 from the Cistercian monastery of Fitero in Navarra, depicts the marriage of the Mary and Joseph in the historiated initial C, fol. 4v., in the Nativity of Christ (Figure 8.4). The initial C with scene of the Nativity of Christ commences the prayer for the Christmas mass, in which the passages recounting Joseph’s acceptance of Mary as his wife were read (Mt. 1:18–20). In the scene in the Missale Vetus Oxomense, Mary and Joseph jointly hold a small bag, signifying the exchange of arrhae or arras, wedding tokens, a regional custom prevalent in northern Spain and southern France.62 These were blessed as part of the marriage service, which in the later services was followed by the mass of the Trinity.63 This is not the only example that includes a reference to the arras. For example, accompanying Causa 36, the bride is represented handing over a bag of coins at the time of her espousal, to facilitate marriage.64 The motif of the left-handed clasp continues in representations of the Nativity of Christ in the thirteenth century. There is the example of the painted ciborium in the Church of Hopperstad in Norway.65 In the Nativity of Christ, Mary and Joseph hold each other’s left hands. There is a wide geographic acknowledgement that artisans shared a common iconographical feature, the left-handed clasp, to render the spiritual union of Mary and Joseph, that was connected to the early Christian iconography known in France. Analogous compositions with the left-handed gesture were used in the thirteenthcentury, French manuscripts of the Bible moralisée, c. 1208–1300,66 to reinforce the spiritual marriages of Adam and Eve before the Fall of Man,67 signifying their spiritual union in the Garden of Eden and in the representations of Christ’s marriage with Ecclesia

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FIGURE 8.4  Nativity of Christ, initial C, Missale Vetus Oxomense, MS 165, c. 1200, fol. 4v Archivo Burgo de Osma, Spain. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

(Figure 8.5). In the wall mural on the south wall of the choir in the parish church of Keldby on Zealand in Denmark, dated to c. 1325, there is a representation of Adam and Eve’s spiritual marriage.68 Standing between them is a depiction of Christ, wearing ecclesiastic vestments, who joins the left and right hands of the couple (Figure 8.6), reinforcing the idea that marriage was divinely instituted, blessed by God, and officiated by the church.69

Irregular, illicit, and clandestine marriages The church’s involvement in defining and regulating what constituted a “legal marriage” from the perspectives of canon law and theology revealed all the complexities of marital relationships, disputes, and irregularities. Artisans employed a range of stances, gestures, and compositions to differentiate irregular and problematic marital situations from those deemed to be regular and legitimate. The compilation of canon law Concordia Discordantium Canonum (which quickly became known as Gratian’s Decretum), attributed to Gratian in the mid-twelfth century, dealt with marriage from Causa 27 to 36. These causae provided artisans opportunities to express marital irregularities and complexities by modifying a range of pictorial elements.70 An examination of the illustrations for the same causa over the centuries reveals the shift in attitudes, concerns, and priorities. The illustrations demonstrate that what was of primary concern in the twelfth century was not the same in the fifteenth century.71 For example, Causa 29, which narrates the case of a woman, a member of the nobility, who was tricked into marrying not her original suitor, a nobleman, but a person of servile status, was illustrated differently in

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FIGURE 8.5  Adam and Eve’s marriage by Christ, Bible moralisée, Codex Vindobonensis 2554, fol. 2r., c. 1225–1249, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo.

the twelfth century compared to the fourteenth century.72 In the earlier period, a woman is rendered being approached by a male figure73 or presented flanked by two male figures (Douai, Bibliothèque municipal, MS 590, fol. 188).74 In the latter example, her right hand grasps her left wrist held across her chest. This hand gesture commonly signified grief and distress to readers.75 In the fourteenth century, the focus is not on the narrative events of Causa 29 but rather the necessary legal process that must be followed to resolve the case. It is more common to find the participants explaining the case before a seated bishop

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FIGURE 8.6  Adam and Eve’s marriage by Christ, wall painting, c. 1325, Keldby Church, Zealand, Denmark. Photo: Harriet Sonne de Torrens.

in an ecclesiastical court, for example in the Franco-Flemish manuscripts dated to the fourteenth and mid-fourteenth century.76 Irregular marriages, other than spiritual unions, which were not condoned by the church would also use the left-handed clasp. A case in point, is the Old Testament marriage of King David with Bathsheba. In the thirteenth century representations of David’s liaison with Bathsheba, the gesture is used to portray their marriage (2 Sam. 11:1–26). Sculptured on the west side of the right portal at Auxerre Cathedral, St-Etienne, c. 1260–70, a scene of David’s union with Bathsheba is depicted. In this case, David’s left hand holds Bathsheba’s right hand.77 This contrasts with the earlier, seventh-century Byzantine representations of David’s marriage with Michal on a set of silver plates where the dextrarum iunctio was used and Michal’s father, Saul, officiated over the marriage.78 The accompanying text in manuscript illustrations sometimes explains why an artist selected certain stances and gestures in a marriage scene. In the twelfth-century cartulary, the Liber Feudorum Maior (Figure 8.7),79 a scene of the Marriage of Ermangardis and Gausfred is rendered next to a marital agreement that outlines the contractual terms of the bride’s dowry. Ermengardis of Carcassonne and her spouse, Gausfred III de Rosellón, signed a marriage contract, dated to May 11, 1110, in which her father transferred her dowry to her bridegroom. The cartulary includes a representation of the bridal couple, Ermengardis and Gausfred, and the family members.80 Between the bridal couple stands the father of the bride, Bernat Ató de Bézier, in the traditional patriarchal role, authorizing the marriage. Prior to the full involvement of the church in marital unions the patriarchs of the two families were the ones who usually arranged the conditions and terms of the

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FIGURE 8.7  Marriage of Ermangardis and Gausfred, Liber Feudorum Maior, fol. 78v., twelfth century, Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Scala / Art Resource, NY.

marriage contract. The father, not a priest, is shown officiating this marital agreement; but, his arms are crossed as he takes the couple’s right hands in a dextrarum iunctio.81 The mother of the bride, Cecilia, is seated to the left in the composition. Her right arm is raised and points toward the couple. Her right arm is supported by her left hand on her right elbow, again, an unusual gesture. The crossing of the arms was used by artisans in different compositions to reflect discord, negativity, changeability, and contradictions as well as malice and deception. For example, the arms of Adam and Eve are crossed in the Fall of Man rendered on the bronze doors of Hildesheim, c. 1015.82 The terms of the dowry in the marriage contract shed some light as to why the father crosses his arms.

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The contract stipulates the terms under which the groom can keep the dowry. Should his new bride die, in order to retain the property, he must marry one of her sisters. Other terms concerning children and property are carefully laid out in the contract as well as what happens when Bernat Ató de Bézier dies. The gesture of the father reflects the changing conditions of the dowry being given to the new groom: “And if the above Ermengardis daughter is dead, we give you the said Geoffrey, son of Guirardo, all of the above-mentioned by the said conveniencias with another one of our daughters whom you shall have as wife.”83

THE LATE MEDIEVAL PERIOD In the corpus of marriage illustrations, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contributed more definitive statements about the church’s role, the rubrics of the marriage ceremony, the differences between betrothal versus marriage ceremonies, ruling family alliances, and mystical marriages. The presence of a priest in many of the illustrations from this period reflects not just the resolution of what constituted a marriage but also the role of the priest in the services. Increasingly local marriage services in France and Germany introduced the “Ego” formula into the rite, thus endowing the priest with ecclesiastic authority. The focus, however, remained primarily on the conceptual and theoretical views of marriage rather than on marital relationships or specific customs, even in the literary texts. Iconographical motifs and gestures were used more consistently, and there was less innovative exploration regarding the key gestures, stances, and settings in marriage iconography. New topics, however, did emerge in the repertoire of imagery, which shifted the emphasis in the subjects portrayed. The ring, for example, emerged with a prominent role in many illustrations. This corresponds to the liturgical inclusion of blessings for the ring in the marriage rite, albeit sporadically across the Latin West.84 Representations of the giving of the ring appear in depictions of regular marriages, mystical marriages with Christ, and in the initiation ceremonies for clerics. These rites were modeled on marriage rituals. A considerable number of marriage and betrothal rings, with the joinedhand motif, have survived from this period.85 The subject of spiritual unions was a less prominent pictorial subject. Instead, the couples previously rendered with the “left-hand clasp” in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to represent their spiritual marriages, were portrayed more frequently with the dextrarum iunctio, affirming the legitimacy rather than the spiritual nature of their union; and, instead, representations of betrothal adopt the left-handed gesture. The left-hand clasp was still used for marriage illustrations but more frequently to indicate irregular types of marriages.

Betrothals versus marriage ceremonies The role of the bridal couples’ families remain prominent in the art works, either as patrons commissioning works or as witnesses in betrothal and marriage scenes. In the late fifteenth-century fresco at San Martino del Vescovo, a small parish church, the family patriarch officiates at the betrothal ceremony; this stage of the marital commitment did not include a priest. This was the phase in which the couple made a formal, promissory oath of marriage in front of the two families and agreed to the dowry, which was arranged at a previous stage of negotiation.86 An exchange of betrothal rings would have most likely taken place in this phase.87 In the representation of betrothals, the left-handed gesture is adopted as seen in the Arnolfini Betrothal by Jan van Eyck, 1434. The 1994 analysis

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by Edwin Hall refuted earlier suggestions that the left-handed gesture in this painting signified a marriage scene and, instead, he presented convincing arguments for why this work is now considered a betrothal scene.88 The greater number of representations of liturgical and historical marriages in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries offer a glimpse of nuptial practices. In the Latin missal of either French or Italian provenance, c. 1325–29,89 there is an image of a wedding ceremony with the accompanying text for the Votive Mass for a wedding. The scene in the initial E depicts the couple kneeling in prayer before a tonsured priest who holds an open book in front of them. The altar is to the side with three kneeling witnesses.90 The use of a veil or canopy is seen in a number of illustrations for Causa 32, in Gratian’s Decretum. In a Paris manuscript two individuals hold the veil or canopy above a couple,91 who are kneeling before the priest who is reading from a book and blessing the couple, reflecting the use of the canopy in many local services in France after the mass.92 In the fifteenth-century scene in a French Gothic, Book of Hours, the bride wears a floral wreath on her head and joins right hands with the groom.93 The event is taking place outside with the priest between the couple, wearing a blue, hooded robe. Five witnesses are in the background. The additional wrapping of the couple’s joined hands with the stole, is a feature that was popular in France and Italy. In the representation of the marriage of Costus and Sabinella in Guillaume Vreland’s Vie Sainte Catherine.94 The couple joins right hands in front of witnesses. A bishop stands between the couple, with his stole over their joined hands and raises his right hand in a blessing gesture. In the Reims wedding ceremony this was done when the couple was acknowledging the words of consent.95 In the marriage ceremony between the Hungarian king, Bella III, and Margaret of France, daughter of Louis VII of France, in the chronicle entitled Abrégé des histoires divines (1300–10),96 the couple’s right hands are raised, palm to palm, rather than clasped.97 Margaret’s brother, King Philip II of France, stands to the far left as a witness to the ceremony. Bella III wears a crown and Margaret is veiled in the traditional manner. She raises her left hand, palm exposed, in the midst of taking an oath of allegiance, as seen in the earlier eleventh-century depictions which used similar feudal gestures. Representations of marriage introduced different dynamics concerning family connections, the ceremony, and ecclesiastic location for marriages. In the Queen Mary’s Psalter, c. 1310–20,98 there is a representation of the marriage of Thomas Becket’s parents.99 It is typical in several aspects: the bishop stands between the bridal couple and is in the act of joining the couple’s right hands. The context of this image within the psalter and the couple’s history is, however, unusual. The illustration ornaments the feast day for Thomas Becket, December 29, not the usual martyrdom scene, which was the norm. Below the image are the verses from the Canticle of Moses (Exod. 15) which celebrate the triumph of the Christian faith. Gilbert Becket, wearing a cap, marries Matilda, who is veiled and newly converted to Christianity. She was a Saracen, daughter of Emir, who had aided in Gilbert’s escape from prison in the Crusades.100 This scene is one of twenty scenes which narrate the life of Thomas Becket, in a manuscript that emphasized the importance of kinship and family responsibilities, reflecting the corresponding and prevalent theme in the Queen Mary’s Psalter.101 Other marital sentiments and everyday aspects of a marital agreement emerge in the northern, pictorial corpus. In the 1449 painting by Petrus Christus, entitled A Goldsmith in his Shop,102 the very moment a couple chooses wedding rings becomes the focus of the painting. It has been suggested that the goldsmith is St. Eligius, patron saint of goldsmiths, or possibly Willem van Vleuten, a

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Bruges goldsmith who was commissioned to make the gold wedding rings for James II of Scotland and Mary Guelders. The couple in the painting may actually be a representation of the royal couple.103

Spiritual, mystical, and allegorical marriages Although the iconography used to relay the concepts of spiritual, symbolic, and mystical marriages often appear to be similar, there was an attempt by some artisans to convey differences between these concepts in the imagery. The mystical marriage was regarded as a union between the soul and its spouse. This idea can be traced back to the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325, Canon XV, which describes mystical marriage as being the relationship that exists between a cleric and the church in which he was ordained.104 The iconography of spiritual unions, as seen in the earlier periods which included primarily representations of Mary and Joseph, Christ and the church, and Adam and Eve, widened in the later centuries to include depictions of virgin saints in mystical marriages with Christ and even a female alter persona of Christ in marriage with male lay brothers, allegorical marriages, such as the marriage of wisdom and the disciple,105 and the marriage of St. Francis with the personification of poverty in the Church of Assisi.106 The cult of St. Anne introduced depictions of her marriage to Joachim, and on an embroidered altar cloth, the traditional left-handed clasp has been stitched, reflecting the immaculate nature of their union, as parents of Mary.107 As the concept of marriage expanded to include formal and spiritual relationships in the ecclesiastic world, rings and modified marriage rituals served to symbolically marry clerics and nuns to the church. There is, for example, a representation of a nun receiving a ring from the bishop in the fifteenth-century liturgical text by Cristoforo Cortese, Profession of a canoness at Santa Maria delle Vergini.108 The nun kneels before the bishop, in prayer, while he extends a ring and blesses her.109 St. Catherine of Alexandria became a popular saint in the later medieval period; there are numerous depictions of her marriage to the infant child or the adult figure of Christ. In Jacopo di Cione’s painting, The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, c. 1375–80 (Philadelphia Museum of Art),110 Mary, the Mother of Christ, stands between Christ and St. Catherine, holding the right wrists of the pair and presiding over the ceremony, instead of the usual priest. Two diminutive figures flank the scene in the lower left and right corners. On the left St. Louis of Toulouse, shown in bishop’s robes and holding a crozier, is rendered watching the ceremony. On the right, a Franciscan nun is shown kneeling in prayer as she observes Christ placing the ring on the third finger of St. Catherine’s right hand.111 The same finger and hand are used in the marriage scene of St. Catherine and Christ in the painting of the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Siena, c. 1420 (panel painting in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston).112 In the case of Hans Memling’s painting of the mystical marriage of St. Catherine with the Christ Child, Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandrea and Barbara, Bruges, c. 1480s, the infant places the ring on St. Catherine’s ring finger on her left hand.113 In the case of the mystical marriage of the two saints, Cecilia and Valerian of Rome, the Italian Master of the Pesaro Crucifix portrayed an angel placing a crown on each of their heads, continuing the ancient tradition of the nuptial crowning.114 The crowning of a bridal couple was a Byzantine custom, dating back to the sixth and seventh centuries, that continues today as part of the Orthodox marriage ceremony.115 It is reserved, however, for the first marriage only.116

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The popular subject of representing the spiritual nature of marriage declined in the later centuries, as more representations of the dextrarum iunctio emerge. There is a marked shift in representing the legitimacy of a marriage.117 In the parish church of Udby in Denmark, the wall mural painting of Adam and Eve, dated to c. 1300–1350, shows them joined in wedlock with the dextrarum iunctio by God who stands in the center.118 Likewise in the manuscript illustration of The Sacrament of Marriage in L’Art de Bien vivre, c. 1492, directly above the bridal couple, is the divinely instituted marriage of Adam and Eve. Both couples have their right hands joined.119 In this French illustration, the bride wears a crown of flowers and the groom holds a purse in his left hand containing the arras. In the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, c. 1360–70,120 there is a depiction of the marriage of Mary and Joseph with their right hands joined; a mitered bishop presides over the wedding. The presence of a bishop and the use of the dextrarum iunctio affirms the authority of the church and, again, marriage as a divinely instituted union. The intent was not to emphasize the spiritual nature of the holy couple’s marriage or the biblical account of Joseph’s revelation as seen in earlier left-handed representations. Visual confirmation of the church’s inherited authority from the Old Testament is affirmed by the marriage scene of Tobias and Sarah holding right hands directly beneath the marriage of Mary and Joseph. In the lower scene, a rabbi instead of a priest officiates at the wedding. Robert Campin in the Marriage of the Virgin, c. 1420, employs the dextrarum iunctio when rendering the holy couple’s marriage outside the church, a distinct change in context from the twelfth and thirteenth century depictions of their union within the Nativity of Christ.121 In the fifteenth-century painting by Michael Pacher, The Marriage of the Virgin, c. 1495–98 (Vienna, Österreichische Galerie) the holy couple stands before a bishop.122 Joseph is now portrayed as St. Joseph and the Virgin is rendered pregnant with child. The moment represents several ideas simultaneously but within an ecclesiastic environment. The couple’s consent is relayed by the joining of their hands. The joining of their right hands and the bishop standing between them confirms the legitimacy of the marriage from the perspective of the church.123

Illicit, irregular marriages The left-handed gesture continued to be used in the later period for both irregular or clandestine marriages and betrothals.124 For example, the gesture was used in the nuptial scene of the literary figure of Fauvel, a horse-like character, with Vaine Gloire, c. 1314– 17.125 It is used in the fourteenth-century English encyclopedia, Omne Bonum, c. 1360– 75, where there has been a breach in the marriage rules and, hence, an illegitimate union; the right hand of the man rendered is joined with the left hand of the woman.126 When the union was not publicized in advance it was considered a clandestine marriage and a breach in the rules laid down for solemnization.127 Though technically valid if consensual, clandestine unions were regarded as illegitimate. An illustration of Gratian’s Decretum, c. 1318–28, Causa 31128 illustrates the remarriage of a widow after her deceased husband. The widow and new husband are portrayed with two left hands joined, fol. 270, indicating they had not waited the appropriate length of time following the death of her husband. The deceased husband is rendered in the casket next to them.129 In the northern French, fourteenth-century manuscript of the Decretum,130 the illuminator represented a traditional marriage composition as a response; the couple’s right hands are joined by the priest standing between them, who has his right hand raised in a blessing gesture. The left hands of the couple are raised in an oath gesture.131

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CONCLUSION From the early Christian period to the fifteenth century, artisans sought to create a recognizable pictorial language that could express the multilayered dimensions of a Christian marriage related to contemporary theological and legal discourses. A growing corpus of scholarship has accumulated on the diverse and ideological perspectives represented by the artisans working within the evolving framework of the Western and Eastern church. Yet, even within this brief overview and wide geographic scope, it is possible to identify key developments and continuous patterns in the formation of nuptial iconography. Generally, most representations of marriage focused on illustrating the legitimate or irregular marriage, whether it was officiated by the family patriarch or by a representative of the church. From the early Roman-Judeo origins, the dextrarum iunctio was used to portray legal, consummated or endorsed Christian marriages. This remained a fixed, iconographical motif with a recognizable meaning that spread with the dissemination of the Christian faith north and east. By comparison, the left-handed clasp acquired a more diverse, and at times ambiguous, range of meanings through the periods. To a great extent this reflected the fluctuating discourse on Christian marriages. Nevertheless, the early Christian sarcophagus fragment from Le-Puy-en-Velay demonstrates that artisans used the left-handed gesture to represent the idea of the spiritual marriage, as in the case of Mary and Joseph and others, a trend that continued, with only a few interruptions, through to the fifteenth century. This is quite remarkable given the geographic distances between similar works and the timespan framing this discourse. Later, the long-standing, combined meanings of faith and consent in what constituted the spiritual meaning of the left-handed gesture in marriage, was appropriated for betrothal ceremonies, emphasizing the promissory and consensual terms.132 It is evident that artisans, whether working in southern or northern Europe, from the twelfth century onward, shared a common iconographical language that was known and used across the Latin West, whether in the interior parish wall murals in Denmark or in the manuscripts written in Paris or Bologna. As the contexts for rending a marriage, the participation of witnesses and family members, and ceremonial accruements (crowns, canopies, rings, veils) shifted and changed in the pictorial compositions, the role of the core gestures, the type of handclasp, the placement of arms, and the mutual recognition of the bridal couple, remained central elements in the pictorial language used to represent marriage scenes. In the Latin West, the visual presence of the church as a prominent participant gained ground from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, whether it be with the representation of a bishop or priest, or in an ecclesiastic setting. By the fifteenth century, the need to visually teach what constituted a regular or irregular marriage declined, as artisans explored other, more secular aspects of martial relationships in works of art.

NOTES

Introduction 1. d’Avray 2005: 202–207. 2. Brundage 1987: 229–416. 3. For example, in Mt. 10:37–38 (“he that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”). 4. Jn 4:2–11. 5. d’Avray 2001: 71–119. 6. Mt. 19:7–9; Catchpole 1975. 7. Mt. 19:27–28; Jn 8:3–11; Mt. 21:31–33. Cf. Brundage 1987: 57. 8. Lk. 14:20. 9. 1 Cor. 6:9–10; 1 Tim. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:3–7. 10. 1 Cor. 7:9. This is how I read the Latin Vulgate (“quod si non se continent nubant: melius est enim nubere quam uri”). The common English translation of this scriptural authority comes from the post-medieval King James translation of the Bible and transforms the Latin verb uri, which is in the passive voice, into the active English verb “burn.” 11. 1 Cor. 7:10–16. 12. Jn 4:7–20. 13. Eusebius [fourth century] 1965: ch. 8. 14. Origen [second and third centuries] 1857–1866: vol. 12, 192. 15. Tertullian [second and third century] 1954a: 373–374; Tertullian [second and third century] 1954b: 1030–1031. 16. Bugge 1975: 71; Fuchs 1983: 88–89. 17. Clement of Alexandria [second and third century] 2004: 378–379. 18. Jerome [fourth and fifth centuries] 1883: vol. 23, 229–230, 246, 249. Cf. Delhaye 1953. 19. Herlihy 1987: 6. 20. Delhaye 1953: 67. 21. Brown [1969] 2012: 390–391. 22. Augustine of Hippo [fourth–fifth century] 1841–55a: 756, 773–774. Indeed, in this treatise Augustine digressed from his main argument to relate a scandalous story which illustrated his point: “As I was holding this work in my hands it was announced to us that a man of eighty-four years of age, who had lived religiously with a pious wife for close to twenty-five years, has bought himself a music girl for his pleasure” Augustine of Hippo [fourth and fifth century] 1841–55a: 713. 23. Laeuchli 1972: 61. 24. Dale 1882. 25. Laeuchli 1972: 64, 91. 26. Vives, Marín Martínez, and Martínez Díaz 1963: Canons 18, 27, 65, and 33. 27. Brundage 1987: 79. 28. Herlihy 1985: 57–61.

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29. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28) and “[in the New Man] there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11). For a history of this development, see Sheehan 1988. 30. McNamara and Wemple 1977: 97–98, 100. 31. Stafford 1983: 80. 32. Leyser 1995: 45. 33. Pedersen 1999: 102. 34. McNamara and Wemple 1977: 104. 35. Gaudemet 1987: 129. 36. Gaudemet 1987: 126–127; d’Avray 2015: 48–79; d’Avray 2014: 11–42. 37. For two opposing views of Nicholas I’s motives, see Kottje 1983; Esmyol 2002. 38. Decretals are papal letters containing an answer from the pope when he has been appealed to or his advice has been sought on a matter of discipline. 39. For a translation of Valla’s seminal analysis, cf. Valla [fifteenth century] 1922. 40. The best study of the pseudo-Isidorian forgeries is Fuhrmann 1972–1973. 41. Van Engen 1982–1989; Brundage 1987: 171–173. 42. Moorhead 1994. For a still unsurpassed overview of the marriage law that developed, cf. Brundage 1987. 43. Pennington 1976; Silano 1982: 6; Bellomo 1995. 44. Rüdiger 2015; Ubl 2008. 45. d’Avray 2015: 67–68. Ubl characterized this collection as a “handbook for the incest campaign of emperor Henry II” (Ubl 2008: 435). 46. For a comprehensive study of the Decretum Burchardi, see Austin 2009. 47. d’Avray 2015: 69. 48. Austin 2009: 236. 49. Vaux 1958: 35; Neufeld 1944; Lowy 1958. 50. Vaux 1958: 35. 51. Falk 1966: 1–3; Abrahams 1896: 129. 52. For example, Leopold Loew (1893) argues that the mere fact that it was necessary to proclaim a ban was proof that polygamy was still practiced. 53. Many documents in the Cairo Geniza deal with polygamy, cf. Grossman 2004: 70. 54. Falk 1966: 1. 55. Ullmann 2003. 56. Ibid.: 131. 57. Ibid.: 130–131. 58. d’Avray 2015: 69. 59. Gilchrist 1980; Glanvell [1905] 1967: 37–54; Fournier and Le Bras 1931. 60. Rolker 2012. 61. Rolker 2012: 34–39. 62. Martin Brett and Bruce Brasington are currently working on a scholarly edition of Ivo’s Panormia. See The Panormia Project (2008). Available online: https://ivo-of-chartres.github. io/index.html (accessed December 21, 2018). 63. Leclercq 1981: 13, 69. 64. Pedersen 2010; Gertz 1918: 29. 65. Brundage 1987: 183. 66. For an outdated biography of Gratian reflecting the scholarship as it stood in 1909 see Van Hove 1909. This traditional account should be supplemented by Kuttner 1960. The

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67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74.

75. 76.

77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82.

83.

84. 85.

NOTES

reevaluation of the evidence for Gratian’s biography began with Noonan 1979. See also Winroth 1997b and Winroth 1997a. Brundage 1987: 229. Winroth 1997b, 1997a. In addition to the already mentioned works, see Winroth 2006. The most comprehensive treatment of the problem of marriage in the concordia discordantium canonum is Alessandro 1971. Ibid.: 1. Hugh of St. Victor [twelfth century] 1841–55: 860. Part of the translation is taken from Leclercq 1981: 26. Richard of St. Victor [twelfth century] 1841–55: 176. Leclercq 1981: 31. Richard of St. Victor warned against a too passionate love. But unlike many contemporaries he explained its dangers. Thus, his admonitions can be seen as the result of an insight into the anatomy of love. Sheehan 1974: 445. David d’Avray has contributed numerous studies to our understanding of marriage sermons. His insights from extensive reading of medieval sermons on marriage are now summarized in two volumes d’Avray 2001; d’Avray 2005. The history of marriage as a sacrament is investigated in Reynolds 2016. Adams and Donahue 1981: 27. Saxo Grammaticus [twelfth century] 2005: 72. Dauvillier 1933: 17–39 and 76–139; Fransen 1971. Pollock and Maitland [1895] 1968: 389. Mt. 18:15. Innocent III’s decretal Novit (X 2.1.13) from 1204 quotes this text to justify papal interference in the dispute between King Philip Augustus of France and King John of England, but its application is clearly universal. See also Acts 15, where the leaders of the early church congregated in Jerusalem to determine whether Christians were bound by the Mosaic law, a question that was first raised by the church in Antioch. The two volumes published by a working group of American and European scholars demonstrates the preponderance of English material: volume 1 dealt with “The Continent” Donahue 1989 and volume two dealt with “England” Donahue 1994. Helmholz [1974] 2007. Pedersen 2000; Donahue 2007.

Chapter 1 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Meyendorff 1990: 105. Ibid.: 103. Talbot 1997: 122. Ibid.: 121–122. Ibid.: 123. Meyendorff 1990: 105. Ibid.:106. Augustine [fourth–fifth century] 1996: 43. Wemple 1992: 173–175. Ibid.: 178–180. Lanz 2002a: 162.

NOTES

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

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Witthoft 1982: 43. Skinner 2001: 90–91. Ibid.: 164–165. McDougall 2013: 104. See d’Avray 2001: 74–130. Brooke 1989: 126. Murray 2001: 204. Ibid.: 203. Lanz 2002a: 163. Weiben 2015: 265. Bédier 1946: 26–27. Boccaccio [fourteenth century] 1982: 673. Klapisch-Zuber 1985: 110. Weiben 2015: 264. Ibid.: 263. Bouchard 1981: 272. Ibid. See Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek 2001: 77–95. Bouchard 1981: 272. Quoted in ibid. Baumgarten 2004: 82. Ibid.: 82. Grossman 2004: 58. Ibid.: 50. Ibid.: 51. Adler and Grunwald 1906. Cohen and Horowitz 1990: 226. Ibid.: 228. Ibid.: 229. Aucassin et Nicolette 1984: 65; my translation. Chrétien de Troyes [twelfth century] 1990: 9. Capellanus [twelfth and thirteenth centuries] 1941. Duby 1992: 263.

Chapter 2 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8.

See Reynolds 1994: xviii–xix; Reynolds and Witte 2007: 3–29; Reynolds 2016: 34. Bernhard 1989: 69. Reynolds 1994: xviii–xix. See, for example, Seidel-Menchi 2000. Brooke 1989: 44–45. Translations from the Vulgate follow the Douay-Rheims Bible, with occasional modifications. On allegorical interpretations of the eunuch in Matthew, see Taylor 2000: 67–73, 190–197, 199, 205–206. On celibacy ideals and asceticism in Luke, see Seim 1999. For example, 1 Cor. 7:29 and the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla. See Brown [1988] 1990: 31–64.

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9. Reynolds 1994: xxiii, also d’Avray 2005: 169–170. 10. See Reynolds 1994: 342–343 (on Jerome) and Resnick 2000: 354–358. On the practice of sexual abstinence in medieval marriage, see Elliott 1993. 11. Reynolds 1994: 15–18, 259–279. 12. See Hunter 2007. 13. On Augustine’s ambivalent—and shifting—position on the meaning and value of marriage, see Reynolds 1994: 241–311 and Clark 1986: 366–368. 14. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos, 75.16 Patrologia Latina [henceforth PL] 36: 968. 15. Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram, 9.7.12 PL 34: 397; my translation. 16. Augustine, De bono conjugali, 7 PL 40: 378–391; De nuptiis et concupiscentia, 1.10.11 PL 44: 419–420. 17. Reynolds 1994: 301. 18. Ibid.: xv and 65. On this in early medieval writing, see Reynolds 2016: 12–20. 19. Corbett 1930: 243; Brundage 1987: 87, 104–105. 20. Bagnall 1987: 45, cited in Reynolds 1994: 62. 21. Reynolds 1994: 62. 22. Ibid.: 61–65. 23. In Novel 117 (from 542) and Novel 134 (from 556); see Brundage 1987: 114–117 and Reynolds 1994: 54–60. 24. Novel 22.3. Latin and translation in Brundage 1987: 115; see also Reynolds 1994: 55. 25. Reynolds 1994: 158. 26. On marriage in lex divina vs lex humana, see ibid.: 121–141. 27. Ibid.: esp. xviii and 145. 28. On this and the following, ibid.: 352. 29. For a full analysis of this complicated case, see ibid.: 353–361. 30. Hincmar of Reims, Epistola, 136, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (henceforth MGH), EPP, 8.1, 93; translated in Reynolds 1994: 356. 31. Bruno the Carthusian, Expositio in epistolas Pauli, Ef 5; PL 153: 346C; my translation. On this, see Reynolds 2016: 216–267 and McLaughlin 2010: 24–25. 32. Brundage 1987: 144–145, 200–203; d’Avray 2005: 78–87. 33. See Airlie 1998 and discussions in d’Avray 2015 and 2014. 34. Brundage 1987: 169–173. 35. McLaughlin 2010: 18–19. On variations in marriage and family structures in the late ancient and early medieval periods, see Herlihy 1985: 29–78; on various forms of sexual male–female unions other than marriage in the medieval period, see Karras 2012. 36. Reynolds 2016: 33–40, esp. 35; see also Karras 2012: 45 and Brundage 1987: 178–179. 37. On the threefold division, see Duby 1980: 236–237; on the dual ordering, see McNamara 1994: 6; on concepts of purity, see McLaughlin 2010: 31–36 and Frassetto 1998. 38. Elliott 1993: 141. 39. Duby 1978 and Duby 1981. 40. Goody 1983. The consanguinity or affinity prohibitions are found for example in the Pseudo-Isidorean decretals of the ninth century; on these and the calculations of degrees see Bouchard 2001: 39–42. 41. Bouchard 2001: 43. 42. Karras 2012: 52; Reynolds 2016: 33. 43. Reynolds 2016: 52. 44. Ibid.: 35–36, also Brundage 1987: 606–607.

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45. See critique of Duby in Herlihy 1987; Brooke 1989: 126, 141–143; and McDougall 2013. For an overview, see Reynolds 2016: 33–40. See also d’Avray 2015. 46. As opposed to matters regarding the consequences of marriage, such as property and inheritance (treated in civil law) and regulation of sexual conduct that fell outside lawful marriage (treated in both civil and church law), see Reynolds 2016: 35. 47. Meyendorff 1990: 105, also Reynolds 1994: 65. 48. Reynolds 2016: 896–982, esp. 977–982. 49. Ibid.: 43–48. 50. On this and the following, see ibid.: 49–50 and 981–982. 51. See Reynolds 2016: 49, 445–451. 52. Karras 2012: 118–119. 53. See Brundage 1988. 54. Karras 2012: 71. 55. Peter Lombard ([twelfth century] 1844–55), Sententiae, 4.26.6 PL 192: 909; translation in Reynolds 2016: 53 and 75–76. 56. Reynolds 2016: 53 and passim ch. 1. 57. Ibid.: 54. 58. Ibid.: 8. 59. Ibid.: 1, also 32. 60. Reynolds 1994: 315. 61. On Ephesians 5:22–33 in relation to sacramental doctrine, see Reynolds 2016: 2, 15–16, 62–68. 62. Ibid.: 82. 63. Ibid.: 68. 64. Smirnov-Brkić et al. 2010 and Reynolds 2016: 41, cf. d’Avray 2005: 2–4. 65. See d’Avray 2005: 145–148. 66. On this, see Meyendorff 1990 and [1975] 2000; Reynolds 2016: 149. 67. Meyendorff 1990: 103 and Meyendorff 2000: 14. 68. Reynolds 2016: 28 and Meyendorff 1990: 105. 69. Meyendorff 1990: 101. 70. Reynolds 2016: 70. 71. Thomas Aquinas ([thirteenth century] 1930), Summa contra gentiles, 4.78.5, Leonine edition, 15: 246. Using the translation in Witte [1997] 2012: 94–95 and the partial translation in Reynolds 2016: 70–71 and 717; my modifications. 72. Ibid. 73. Reynolds 2016: 30–31. 74. Clark 2008: 2, see also Shuve 2016: 118. 75. Catherine of Siena, Lettera 221, Le Lettere di S. Catarina da Siena, vol. 3, 247; translation by Noffke in Catherine of Siena [fourteenth century] 2001: vol. 2, 184. 76. Elliott 2012: 173. 77. On the exegetical tradition of the Song of Songs in the Middle Ages, see Matter 1990. 78. Innocent III ([twelfth–thirteenth century] 1841–55a) (Lothair of Segni) De quadripartita specie nuptiarum, PL 217: 923–924. 79. On mystical tropology, see Lubac 2000: 127–178, also Turner 1995. 80. William of Saint-Thierry ([twelfth century] 1841–55), Expositio altera super cantica canticorum, 1, PL 180: 505A; my translation. 81. Bernard of Clairvaux, Scc, 83.3, OSB, vol. 5.2, 604; [twelfth century] 1980: vol. 4, 182; my modifications. See Engh 2014: 326–342.

172

NOTES

82. Bernard of Clairvaux, Scc 3.5–6, OSB, vol. 5.1, 58–60; [twelfth century] 1971: vol. 1, 20. See Engh 2014: 94–97. 83. Clark 2008; Engh 2014; Hollywood 1995; Burrus and Keller 2006; on maternal imagery, see Bynum 1982. 84. For an analysis of maternal imagery in reform rhetoric, see McLaughlin 2010: 123–159. 85. Gaudemet 1980; Benson 1968: 116–149. 86. On the designation vicarius Christi, see Maccarrone 1952. 87. See Wilks 1963: 362. 88. On Innocent’s nuptial symbolism and this sermon, see Doran 2004; Imkamp 1983: 310– 323; Hanne 2008. 89. Innocent III, Sermo 3 In consecratione pontificis, PL 217: 662–663; translated by Vause and Gardiner in Innocent III [twelfth–thirteenth century] 2004: 35–36. 90. Henry of Ghent [thirteenth century] 1983, Quodlibet IX, q. 22; my translation. 91. Augustinus av Ancona, tabula from Summa de potestate ecclesiastica, cited in Saak 2002: 754. 92. Engh 2015; Kantorowicz 1957: 212–218, 221–223; Wilks 1963: 36, 39–40, 163, 190, 278–282, 362, 366, 388, 396. 93. See, for example, Descimon 1992. 94. D’Avray 2005: 101. 95. Innocent III ([twelfth–thirteenth century] 1841–55b), Epistola, 221, Reg., 15 (from 1213), PL 216: 750B; translation in Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Latin Letters. Available online: https://epistolae.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/letter/24985.html (accessed August 27, 2017). 96. See Duby 1978: 73–81 and Karras 2012: 59–67. 97. D’Avray 2005: 104. 98. D’Avray 2010: 19. 99. The following examples are from d’Avray 2005: 131–141, esp. 134–137. 100. Peter Damian ([eleventh century] 1988), Epistola, 28, MGH, Briefe d. dt. Keiserzeit, vol. 4.1, 264–265; translated in D’Avray 2005: 135; my modifications. 101. Innocent III [twelfth–thirteenth century] 1959; X 1.21.5 in Friedberg [1881] 1959a: 147–148. 102. Cf. Reynolds 2016: 60, 76, 562–564 on Innocent III’s use of the double analogy in the marriage case of Philip and Ingeborg. 103. Reynolds 2016: 84. 104. Reynolds 2019 [forthcoming]. 105. Reynolds 2016: 70–71; see also 81–84. 106. As is commonly emphasized in conceptual metaphor theory and conceptual integration theory, which envisions mapping from a known source domain to an unknown target domain; see Lakoff and Johnson 1980 and Fauconnier and Turner 2002. 107. Reynolds 2016: 62. 108. Chenu 1968: esp. 102. 109. McLaughlin 2010: 9 and 5–10; Congar 1968: 99; Robinson 1988: 252; Ladner 1979: 227; Reynolds 2016: 65; see also Carruthers [1998] 2008: 3, 116. 110. Engh 2019 [forthcoming]. 111. On this and the following, see Reynolds 2019 [forthcoming] and Reynolds 2016: 660– 661. 112. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, 4.78.4, Leonine edition, 15, 246; translated in Reynolds 2016: 660.

NOTES

173

Chapter 3 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

d’Avray 2005: 75. Brundage 1987: 414–415; Reynolds 2016. Sheehan 1996: 40. Goody 1983. Brundage 1987: 215, 220. Hence Philip Reynolds and John Witte Jr. have edited a volume of essays investigating all the different marital practices in the West, Reynolds and Witte 2006. d’Avray 2005: 8. Evans-Grubb 2006: 43. Concubinage required cohabitation with maritalis affectio between two people otherwise able to marry but who did not perform a ceremonial and economic (dowry) official act of marriage. Children of such a union did not necessarily have inheritance rights. Evans-Grubb 2006: 47–48, 54–63; Arjava 1998: 32–41. Brundage 1987: 114. Noonan 1967. Sheehan 1996: 267. Brundage 1987: 116–117. Evans-Grubb 2006: 72. Arjava 1998: 177–189; Treggiari 1991: 435–461. Brundage 1987: 143. Barkow [1826] 2015. Drew 1973: 85–86. Sheehan 1996: 228. Brundage 1987: 130. Bellomo 1961. Drew 1973: 45–46; Brundage 1987: 131. Drew 1973: 160–161. Brundage 1987: 130. Ibid.: 192, 199. Skinner 2001: 36–38; Bitel 2002: 165. d’Avray 2015: 37–39. Gregory of Tours [sixth century] 1974: bk. 4, ch. 3; Campbell 1968: 46–47. d’Avray 2015: 48–63. d’Avray 2005: 76–78. Herlihy 1985: 59–62. Sheehan 1996: 241. Waelkens 2015: 226–228, 234–235. Brundage 1987: 68. d’Avray 2005: 141. Ibid.: 89–91. Sheehan 1996: 301; Reynolds 2016. Brundage 1987: 140. Ibid.: 173–175. Vikan 1990. Talbot 1997: 21. Laiou 1999: 84–85.

174

44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91.

NOTES

Vikan 1990: 154. Freshfield 1926. Laiou 1999: 87. Ibid.: 88. Rapoport 2000: 31–33. Berkey 1999: 102. Tucker 2008. Rapoport 2000. Zomeño 2000. Berkey 1999: 107. Brundage 1987: 183. Ibid.: 223. Ibid.: 235–245. Ibid.: 333–337; Donahue 1978. Sheehan 1996: 51. Ibid.: 63. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 25. Donahue [2007] 2008. Pedersen 2000. Brundage 1987: 363. Ibid.: 501. Brucker 1986; Kuehn 1989. Dunn 2012. Jansen, Drell, and Andrews 2009: 181–182. Gratian [twelfth century] 1993: 33. Duby 1978, 1981. Skinner 2001: 133. Ibid.: 165. Titone 2016. Kirshner and Cavallar 2015. Donahue [2007] 2008: 612–613. Kuehn 2017: 112–119. Kirshner 1985; Kuehn 2016. Massetto 1996; Kirshner 1991. Brundage 1987: 444. Kuehn 2006. Schmugge 1995. Brundage 1987: 318. Ibis.: 543. Kuehn 2002: 33–69. Brundage 1987: 289, 453–454. Ibid.: 478. Klapisch-Zuber 1985: 261–282; Brundage 1987: 477–478. Kirshner 1978: 7. Hanawalt 2007: 107. Sheehan 1996: 18. Rolker 2012: 140–145. Goody 1983.

NOTES

92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105.

175

d’Avray 2015: 196–197. Salonen 2012. Schmugge 1995. d’Avray 2015. Brundage 1987: 435. Ibid.: 290–292, 376–378. Ibid.: 418. Ibid.: 513. Hanawalt 2007: 77–78. Ibid.: 62. Howell 2006: 422. Howell 2012: 133–134. Hanawalt 2007: 9. Kirshner 2015; Kuehn 2017.

Chapter 4 1. Gies and Gies 1987: 7, 49–50, 100–101; Herlihy 1985: 82, 86; Fleming 2001: 14–16, 76–79. 2. Augustine On the Good Marriage, cited d’Avray 2005: 76. 3. Wemple 1981: 31. 4. d’Avray 2005: 15–18, 74–78. 5. See Chapter Three. 6. Law of the Salian Franks, Rivers 1986; cited by Amt 1993: 38–44. 7. Brooke 1989: 66. 8. Caesarius of Arles 1942a: 31–32. 9. Decretum Childeberti in Wemple 1981: 220. 10. Gregory of Tours [sixth century] 1927: 4.28. 11. Ibid. 12. Wemple 1981: 42. 13. d’Avray 2005: 75. 14. Brundage 2000: 184. 15. d’Avray 2014: 11–44; d’Avray 2015: 48–62. 16. Wemple 1981: 89. 17. Wentersdorf 1979: 217–222; Ormrod 2000: 283 and n. 20. 18. d’Avray 2005: 125. 19. Barron 1994: xxvii. 20. Church 2015: 215. 21. Henry I Coronation Charter, clause 4, cited in Sharpe 2011. 22. Wemple 1981: 31. 23. Kittell and Queller 2016: 437. 24. Rider 2012. 25. Saul 2011. 26. Duby 1978: 1–22. 27. Saller 1999: 182–197. 28. Powell 1971, book III, title 23, cited by Amt 1993: 66. 29. Henry I’s Coronation Charter, clause 3, see note 20. 30. Poos and Bonfield 1998, cited by McCarthy 2004: 123–125.

176

NOTES

31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

Classen 2007: 147–154. Brooke 1989: 264–265. Galbert of Bruges 2005: 99. Ibid.: 99–100 and 146–147. Sheehan 1996: 228. 1 Pet. 2:18. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 100, 160, 212–214; Pedersen 2000: 106–107. McSheffrey 2006: 90. Henry I Coronation Charter, clause 3, see note 20. Beowulf, lines 2017, 2028–2031 in Swanton 1997, cited by McCarthy 2004: 167. Roger of Hoveden [twelfth century] 1853: vol 2, 63–64; Boswell 1980: 231. Shaw 1963: 178. Lex Romana Burgundionum, Sectio I, 2/1: 123–163. Wemple 1981: 32. Life of Radegund, quoted in McNamara, Whatley, and Halborg 1992: 86–105. The Letter of Pope Nicholas to the Bulgarians, section 3, Nicolas I [ninth century] 1925: 568–600; translated in Murray 2001: 236. Hamilton 1978: 162. McSheffrey 2006; Wunderli 1981; and Butler 2007. Karras 2012: 202. Caesarius of Arles 1942b: 191–192; Magna Carta, clause 6, in Summerson et al. 2017. Rosenthal 1984: 183–184. Baldwin [1986] 1991: 370–374. Ibid.: 370–371; Brown 1991: 80, 244, 246–247; Spiegel 1971, 1983; Bennett 1992. Roger of Wendover 1886–89: vol. 3, 109. Huneycutt 2003 and Earenfight 2013. Hamilton 1978: 168. Goitein [1978] 1999: 58. Ibid.: 73. Ibid.: 76. McSheffrey 2006: 78. Ibid.: 79. Piers Plowman in Langland 2009, passus 9, ll. 113–117; “How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter” in Furnivall 1868: vol. 2, 26–29. McSheffrey 2006: 78–79. Canons of the Fourth Lateran Council 1215: Tanner 1990: vol. 1, 257–259, cited in Murray 2001: 204. “The Council of London 1342,” Wilkins 1737, translated in McCarthy 2004: 81. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 79–81; d’Avray 2005: 92. Butler 2007: 132. Hanawalt 1979: 174. Bullough and Brundage 1982: 133; Dunn 2012: 121. Alfonso X of Castile forbade communities to enact vengeance, specifically cutting off the nose of an adulteress. See Skinner 2014: 45–67. McDougall 2014: 491–534. See n. 15 above. Goitein [1978] 1999: 48. Ibid.: 49. Berger 2005a: 9; Berger 2005b: 122.

47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74.

NOTES

177

75. Goitein 1999: 107. 76. The Letter of Pope Nicholas to the Bulgarians, section 3, Nicolas I [ninth century] 1925: 568–600; translated in Murray 2001: 235–236. 77. McSheffrey 2006: 2. 78. Ibid.: 58. 79. Ibid.: 62. 80. “Life of St Monegund,” in Kitchen 1998: 108. 81. Ibid.: 107. 82. The Book of Margery Kempe in Bale 2015: 27. 83. Brundage 1987; Brooke 1989: 61–89, 169–172, 264–270; d’Avray 2005: passim and 202– 205. 84. Karras 2012: 119. 85. d’Avray 2005: 74, 88–91. 86. Hodgson 2007: 110. 87. Karras 2012: 112. 88. Ibid.: 114.

Chapter 5 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

Dig. 50.16.195, quoted in Herlihy 1983: 118. Bautier 1971: 44–45; Boutruche 1968: 130–131. Herlihy 1985; Herlihy 1987: 8. Laslett and Wall 1972: 36. Latham 1975–2013, s.v. “familia.” Whittle 2016: 314. The will is reproduced in Whitelock 1968. Hedeager 1992: 246. Randsborg 1980: 61–69. A more detailed discussion of the literature which incorporates both modern interpretations and (relatively) recent archeological reports is available in Danish: Liebgott 1989: 15–51. Hedeager 1988: 185. Hedeager 1992: 242–245. Duby 1978; Duby 1983; Schmid 1977; Stone 2013. Stone 2013: 230–231; Herlihy 1987. Hedeager 1980: 220–221, 224 and 264. Lopez 1971; Berman 1983. For an overview of the development of legislation, see Thomas Kuehn’s contribution to this volume. Shevet HaKehusi 1:315:1. An amendment to this ordinance forbidding polygamy provided that in case the wife was insane the rule might be abrogated with the written consent of a hundred rabbis from three different provinces (e.g., Francia, Normandy, and Anjou) Jacobs and Eisenstein 1901–1906. As an aside it is worth noting that the same provision, i.e., protecting a woman from forcible relocation, can be found in the early twelfth-century Icelandic law code, Grágás. Illich 1983. Cf. Hanawalt 1986; Bennett 1984. Moore 1986. Howell 1986. Cf. Middleton 1979: 150. Middleton 1979: 153. Illich 1983.

178

NOTES

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

Power 1926: 412. Middleton 1979: 155. Cf. Bennett 1937: 229–230. i.e., the lactating livestock, such as cows, sheep, goats. Anon. 1845. Middleton 1979: 153. Roman des Girart von Roussillon, Cod. 2549, fol.167v, 1447, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. Power 1975: 71–74; Casey 1976: 227–231; Hilton 1947: 145–147. Hanawalt 1986. Demesne, i.e., the land retained by the lord of the manor for his own use and sustenance. Dyer 2002: 163. Britnell 1996: 199–201. Ibid.: 202. Dyer 2002: 168. Tierney 1959: 96–97; Pedersen 1999. Dyer 2002: 158–159; Pedersen 1992. Middleton 1979; Illich 1983; Hanawalt 1985, 1986. Bennett 1996, 1987. Wiesner 1986. Howell 1986. Goldberg 1992b. Bennett 1988. The literature is too comprehensive to list here, but a few works are essential: Lopez 1971; Fryde 1983; Postan 1966; Carus-Wilson 1967; Power 1941. Gertz 1918: 272–273. Bennett 1996: 22–24; Dyer 2002: 170. The Catasto is available online: http://cds.library.brown.edu/projects/catasto (accessed August 1, 2018). The Poll Tax returns are published in Fenwick 1998–2005. Herlihy and Klapisch-Zuber 1985: 10. Ibid.: 302. Ibid.: 311–312 and 330–331. Pollock and Maitland [1895] 1968; Dübeck 1978. Caroline Barron gives the example of a London bell founder’s widow who produced bells and ran her husband’s bell foundry after his death (Barron 1989). Jørgensen 1959–1977; Blom 1959–1977; Yrwing 1959–1977; Nitemaa 1959–1977. Pedersen 1992 analyses the fællig for an English-speaking audience. The classic study of medieval Danish inheritance law is Iuul 1940, but cf. Pedersen 1992; Arnórsdóttir and Nors 1999. The fact that Danish inheritance law shows some similarities to Muslim inheritance law, particularly to the Q’uran’s sura 4:11 governing the distribution of inheritance between male and female beneficiaries, deserves further investigation. Liber Legis Scaniae: ch. 15. The most accessible text and translation can be found in Tamm and Vogt 2016. Udovitch 1962: 198. Moore 1986. For examples of how Danish law attempted to temper the impact of changing circumstances brought about by criminal liabilities or foreign trading ventures, see Tamm and Vogt 2016. For an analysis of the rules, cf. Pedersen 1992, 1999.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58. 59.

NOTES

179

60. Hørby 1972: 75–76; Jahnke 2000. At least another 100,000 barrels of herring should be added to this total from the Limfjord area in Jutland (Holm 1996). 61. Hørby 1972. 62. Jahnke 2000; Hybel 2003. Barret, Locker, and Roberts 2004. 63. Dyer 2002: 137–145, 174–177. 64. Ibid.: 276. 65. Myers 1969: 993–994; Lütge 1972: 349–350. Perry Anderson characterized the Statute of Laborers as “among the most glacially explicit programmes of exploitation in the whole history of European class struggle” (Anderson 1978: 201–202). But compare his assessment to Dyer’s more balanced characterization Dyer 2002: 282. 66. Dyer 2002: 280. 67. Goldberg 1992b: 345–350.

Chapter 6 1. Readers of Karras 2017 will notice strong similarities in the points made. This book was published quite recently and my general ideas have not changed. I will refrain from citing this work as often as I would the work of another scholar. The text of this chapter, however, is new, not simply shortened from the book. 2. Halperin 1989. 3. McDougall 2017. 4. McKee 2004. 5. Stone 2012: 286–287. 6. William Peraldus, cited in Jordan 1997: 111. 7. Karras 2012. 8. Boswell 1980: 303–332. 9. Efron 2013. 10. Jordan 1997. 11. Rocke 1998. 12. Trexler 1981. 13. Duvernoy 1965: 31; translated in Goodich 1979: 105–106. 14. Puff 2003: 167–178 is a bit late for the period covered in this book but provides an excellent discussion of how marriage was framed as an alternative to sodomy in the Reformation era. 15. Karras 2017: 38. 16. Augustine [fourth–fifth centuries] 1996: 50. 17. Talbot 1959: 118. 18. Parish 2010. 19. Zohar 1:50a, in Matt 2004: vol. 1, 277. 20. Bukhari [ninth century] 1979: 6:60:51, p. 39. 21. Benkheira 2017: 211, 216, 225. 22. Berkey 2013. 23. Musallam 1983: 13–24, 30–38. 24. Ibid.: 89–104. 25. Biale 1997: 53–54. 26. Goldin 2011: 149–164. 27. Biale 1997: 43. 28. Wegner 1998: 86. 29. He-Chasid [twelfth century] 1997: 226, 1538 sec 620.

180

NOTES

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54.

Ibid.: 302, 1538, sec 519. Nahmanides [thirteenth century] 1993: 60–61 See also Biale 1997: 102–109. Nahmanides [thirteenth century] 1993: 156–157. B. Nedarim 20b cited in Baskin 2002: 106–109. He-Chasid [twelfth century] 1997: 61. Krakowski 2017. Baskin 1998: 111. Rashi and Isaac Ben Yedaiah cited in Biale 1997: 80, 94, respectively. Brown 1990: 402. Biller 2000. Brundage 1987:1 62. Elliott 1993: 149. Kempe [fourteenth–fifteenth centuries]1996. Blumenthal 2009: 172–182. Biale 1997: 87. Goitein [1978] 1999: 147–150. Krakowski 2017. Baskin 1998: 105, 109; Melammed 1998: 131. Goitein [1978] 1999: 153–156. Sahula [thirteenth century] 2004: vol. 1, 276–279. He-Chasid [twelfth century] 1997: 47. Harper 2016. Stone 2012: 290–292. McSheffrey 1999. For example, Helmholz [1974] 2007: 32–33; Karras 2012: 188–194. Donahue [2007] 2008 makes a very detailed and well-documented argument about the different patterns in the formation of marriages in England, on the one hand, and France and Belgium, on the other, in the later Middle Ages. His many examples provide an important caveat: that selfformation of marriage does not necessarily involve love. Reddy 2012. Menocal 1987. Buckner, Shepard, and White 1995: 10; my translation. As suggested by Duby 1977: 121–122. Andreas Capellanus [twelfth and thirteenth centuries] 1941. Ibid.: 156, 171. Karras 2003: 53. Davis 1971: vol. 1, 662. Ibn Hazm [tenth–eleventh centuries] 1953: 221–222. Ibid.: 22, 199. Ibid.: 124. Grossman 2004: 56–57. Gaster 1968: 88–89. For Talmudic and other versions see Baskin 2002: 101–102. Gaster 1968: 74. Cole 2009: 27. Augustine [fourth–fifth centuries] 1957: vol. 4, 507. Karras 2012: 28–31. Heidecker 2010. He-Chasid [twelfth century] 1997: 268; 1538, sec. 102.

55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73.

NOTES

74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79.

181

Ibid.: 284; 1538, c. 387. Goitein [1978] 1999: 55–61; Kanarfogel 2017. Goitein [1978] 1999: 165–166. Cooper 1999: 20–44. Hubert [1966] 2018. Greco and Rose 2009: 94; Brereton and Ferrier 1981: 57.

Chapter 7 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

Schmugge 2000: 698. Donahue 1993: 191. Brooke 1989. Schmugge 2008: 202. Aquinas 1997: IIa IIae, q. 154, a. 9. Bouchard 1981: 269. The authoritative text is García y García 1981. A good English translation can be found in Schroeder 1937. Worby 2010: 11–17. Pollock and Maitland [1895] 1968: 393. Schmugge 2000: 695. Farrer 1897–1913: 224–226. Pedersen 2000: 142–143. Schmugge 2012: 348. Schmugge 2000: 694. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 59. Duby 1978. Maddern 2007. Clandestine marriage usually refers to informal marriage (without priestly participation). However, in the Italian context, it refers specifically to marriage without a father’s consent. Dean 2011: 152–153. Lefebvre 1973: 176. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 51–57. Pedersen 2000: 59–84. Brundage 1987: 374. Davis 1983 This scenario happened more often than one might think. See Bolton and Rousseau 2001. Beattie 2007: 328–329. … prudentia tunc in illa suppleret aetatem X 4.2.14 Friedberg [1881] 1959a: 678–679. McSheffrey 1998. Joye 2012; Seabourne 2011. Duby 1980: 119. Joye 2012. Dunn 2012: 76. Ribordy 1998; Dean 2011. X 4.1.15, in Friedberg [1881] 1959a: 666–667. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 94. Butler 2013: 25–27. For a thorough discussion of the sacramental aspects of marriage see Line Cecile Engh’s contribution in this volume.

182

NOTES

36. 37. 38. 39.

Karras 2015: 11. Cf. Karras’s chapter in this volume. dictum ante C.33 q. 1. c.1 in Friedberg [1881] 1959a: 1148–1149. Kane 2008; Helmholz [1974] 2007: 87–90; Donahue [2007] 2008: 371, 717–718. Brundage 1987: 512. The case is transcribed and calendared in Stentz and Donahue 2014: 765–769. Helmholz 2004: 553. Schmugge 2000: 696. Searle 1979. d’Avray 2012: 348. X 4.9.2 in Friedberg [1881] 1959a: 692, cf. Sheehan 1988. Winroth 2006: 98. Schmugge 2008: 208. Butler 2013: 97. Lightfoot 2009: 339. Korpiola 2013. Hansen 2013: 14. Donahue [2007] 2008: 41. Brundage 1990: 67. Finch 1993: 28. Hawkes 2002. Kelly 1994. Butler 2007: 136–138. Grossman 1991: 61. Skoda 2009: 15. Ibid. Newman 1995: 115. Kelleher 2010: 118. Brundage 1987: 537. Elliott 1993. Butler 2013: 82–95. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 74. Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek 2000: 82. Donahue [2007] 2008: 310. Weigand 1968: 236. Korpiola 2011: 235. Helmholz [1974] 2007: 59. Maddern 2007. Butler 2013: 130. Capp 2009. d’Avray 2015. Airlie 1998: 14. Stone and West 2016. d’Avray 2015: 28. Parish 2010: 95. Ibid.: 105. Ibid.: 104. Armstrong-Partida 2009: 223. Bardsley 1999: 11–12.

40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82.

NOTES

83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113.

183

Donahue 1993: 197. Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek 2000: 85. McDougall 2012. Barron 1989. de Moor and Van Zanden 2010. Hajnal 1965. Goldberg 1992a: 114. There is still substantial debate over whether women did in fact see their fortunes increase because of the Black Death. See Bardsley 1999; Stabel 2015. Nicholas 1985: 36. McDougall 2012. Korpiola 2013: 40. Stacey 2002: 1121. Ibid. Ellis 1995: 124–128. Guzzetti 1998: 271. Ibid.: 257. Lanz 2002a: 158. Berkey 1999: 105. Dunn 2011. Ferraro 2001: 29–129. Cantarella 1991. Baskin 2005: 4. Ibid.: 3. Grossman 1991: 58. Goldy 2012. Berkey 2013: 56. Berkey 1999: 106. Brundage 1988: 27. Brundage 1987: 548. Ibid.: 511. Poos 1995.

Chapter 8 1.

2.

Art historical periods are based on stylistic criteria or a combination of style, time periods, and regional histories, hence the numerous inconsistencies and differences. For example, the term Norman in England refers to the Romanesque on the Continent. Romanesque is typically from the twelfth to thirteenth century in Scandinavia, whereas, thirteenth-century art in France is considered Gothic. Nevertheless the current scholarship utilizes these terms. For this reason, terms for art historical periods are used to organize the material in the analysis. Date ranges have been added to synchronize the discussion with other contributions in this series. The centuries assigned to the art historical periods in this chapter are derived from the Art & Architecture Thesaurus at the Getty Research Institute. Available online: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/aat/ (accessed March 26, 2018). This overview is by no means complete. The topic of marriage in the history of art is an extensive, ongoing area of research. In-depth analysis of the individual works are referenced for further reading.

184

NOTES

3. There is a modest but informative corpus of literature on the general subject of gestural iconography in early Christian, medieval, and liturgical studies, with extensive references to sources, see Cura della Pont. Commissione di Archeologia Sacra 1943; Maguire 1977; Davies 1985; Garnier 2003. 4. Huskinson 2008: 287–299. 5. Cotton 1994: 64–86. 6. Katzenellenbogen 1947: 249–259. 7. Ibid.: 254, fig. 2. 8. For similar examples, Huskinson 2012: 80–97; Smith 1993: 3–24. 9. St. Augustine speaks of the bishop signing the tabulae matrimoniales, sermon 332, 4 (ML 38, 1463) in Dooley 1948: 20–21. 10. Augustine, Sermon 37.4. in Brown [1969] 2012: 349. 11. “Ludovisi sarcophagus,” Vatican Museum, Cat. 31408. Available online: http://www. museivaticani.va (accessed August 1, 2017); Karen K. Hersch notes that not all scholars agree that the Roman dextrarum iunctio was used in the marriage ritual (Hersch 2010: 210–212). For comprehensive analysis of the dextrarum iunctio with a list of works, Roman and early Christian, see Reekman 1958: 23–95. 12. Tertullian, Virg. Vel, II, 4–5. 13. For discussion of unveiled bride see Wilson 1929: 173–176. 14. De virginitate 7, 36 (Migne, Patrologia Latina (ML), 16, 275B), see Dooley 1948: 124. 15. St. Ambrose, Epistula 19, 7 (ML 16, 984C-985A), see Dooley 1948: 86: “Nam cum ipsum coniugium velamine sacerdotali, et Benedictine sanctificari oporteat, quomodo potest coniugium dici, ubi non non est fidei concordia?” 16. The veil continues to be used, see letter from Pope Nicholas I (858–867) to Bulgars which states the tradition of the veil is part of the liturgical customs of the Roman Curia and Carolingian sacramentaries (Melnikas 1975: 998). 17. W. L. North, trans., “The Responses of Pope Nicholas I to the Questions of the Bulgars AD 866 (Letter 99),” ch. III. Available online: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ basis/866nicholas-bulgar.asp (accessed March 27, 2018). 18. Stevenson 1983: 5, 16. 19. Tertullian, De corona 13.4 (CCL 2:1061): “Coronant et nuptiae sponsos. Et ideo non nubemus ethnicis, ne nos ad idololatrian usque deducant, a qua apud illos nuptiae incipient” see Hunter 2007: 101. 20. Vikan 1990: 145–163; Vikan 1987: 32–43; Kantorowicz 1960: 1–16. 21. W. L. North, trans., “The Responses of Pope Nicholas I to the Questions of the Bulgars AD 866 (Letter 99),” ch. III. Available online: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ basis/866nicholas-bulgar.asp (accessed March 27, 2018). 22. Huskinson 2012: 80–97, 90. 23. Ibid.: 80–97, fig. 8. 24. Ep. 231, Migne, Patrologia Graeca, 37, col. 374BD. 25. Avery 1921: 173; image Metropolitan Museum. Available online: https://www.metmuseum. org/art/collection#!?q=15.168&perPage=20&sortBy=Relevance&sortOrder=asc&offse t=0&pageSize=0 (accessed March 27, 2018). 26. Elliott 1993 and Labriolle 1921: 204–225. 27. Dooley 1948: 22–23. 28. St. Augustine, De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.11.12–1.12.13, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, 42:224–226 and De consensus Evangelistarum 3.1, as cited in Elliott 1993: 47–48. 29. Lahellec 2011: 9–17.

NOTES

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48. 49.

50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57.

58. 59. 60.

185

Wilpert 1929–36: vol. 2, pl. 26.1. Brenk 1975: 80–81, fig. 50; Hall 1994: fig. 9. Brenk 1975: 68–70, fig. 49. Garnier 2003: 146–147. Herlihy 1995: 100–101. Stevenson 1983: 9–21. Hersch 2010: 194. Kantorowicz 1960: 1–16, 8, fig. 23a. Vikan 1990: 145–163, figs. 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28. The Syrian marriage belt, c. 580–600, has two medallions with Christ joining the right hands of the couple. The inscription reads, “From God, concord, grace, health.” See, Vikan 1984: 65–86. London, British Library, Cotton MS Claudius B. IV. Available online: http://www.bl.uk/ manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=cotton_ms_claudius_b_iv_fs001r (accessed June 10, 2017). See also, eleventh-century manuscript, Rome, Biblioteca Vaticana, MS gr. 747, fol. 49r. Dodwell and Clemoes 1974: 26–27. Illustrated also in Gospels of Otto III, Reichenau, c. 1000, MS Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, MS Clm 4453, fol. 28r., see Reynolds 2016: 39. In De Sachsenspiegel, the fourteenth-century manuscript at Heidelberg University Library, a vassal is depicted swearing the oath of allegiance to his lord using this same gesture, see Gombrich 1991: 16, fig. 2; Hall 1994: 39. “Bernulfus Gospels,” Reichenau, c. 1040–1050. Utrecht, Rijksmuseum Het Catharijneconvent, MS 3, fol. 7v.; plate 4, Hall, 1994, accessed July 2017. Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Enluminures Digital Database, http://www.enluminures.culture.fr (accessed July 2017). Bari, Cathedral Archives, Code 32 B23 Cav 004,000; Avery, 1936, vol. II, CCI(a). Henry V and Matilda’s marriage feast, c. 1112–14, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Library, MS 373, fol. 95v. Gratian, causa 31, in Friedberg ([1881] 1959b): 1108–1115, see two mss (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, MS Clm. 17161, fol. 162 v and Admont, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 35, fol. 255); and Tcherikover 1999, 35–66. Svanberg 1999–2000: 25–42; Eriksson 1968: 1–15; Roosval 1917: 7–10; Markus 2013: 122–142. Svanberg 1995: 172–176. Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, MS Cod. 507, fol. 1v. Lavin 2001: 9–22. Elliott 1993: 42,46. St. Augustine, De bono coniugali 4.4, 7.6–7, 29.32, CSEL, 41:191–193, 196–197, 226– 228, in Elliott 1993: 47, footnote 129. Reynolds 2016: 28–32. Such as, the marriage of Ecclesia with the Lamb (Rev. 19:7), c. 1150–74, vault painting in Schwarzrheindorf Church, Lower Rhine (Germany), see Clemen 1916, fig. 253; Hansmann and Hohmann 2002: 25–26, 78; color figs 16–18, 97. Sonne de Torrens 2002: 1–41; Sonne de Torrens 2003: 105–137. Deferrari 2007: 341. Bernard Clairvaux, “Homilia II. In Luc. I:26, 27,” De laudibus virginis matris, PL 183, 0055: “Illi (Joseph) data est intelligentia in mysteriis somniorum (Gen. 40:41): isti datum est conscium fieri atque participem coelestium sacramentorum (Mt. 1:20). Ille frumenta servavit non sibi, sed omni populo (Gen. 40:41): iste panem vivum e coelo servandum

186

61. 62.

63. 64. 65. 66.

67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72.

73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83.

84.

NOTES

accepit tam sibi quam toti mundo. Non est dubium quin bonus et fidelis homo fuerit iste Joseph, cui Mater desponsata est Salvatoris. Fidelis, inquam, servus et prudens, quem constituit Dominus suae matris solatium, suae carnis nutritium, solum denique in terris magni consilii coadjutorem sibi fidelissimum. Huc accedit quod dicitur fuisse de domo David. Vere enim de domo David, vere de regia stirpe descendit vir iste Joseph, nobilis genere, mente nobilior.” Spain, Burgo de Osma Cathedral, MS 165, c. 1200, fol. 4v. American Numismatic Society 1906: 31–36; Bethune 1986: 176. The ceremony of giving arrha was observed in the marriage of King Alfonso of Spain in 1906. The Catholic Encyclopedia 1920: 706. In Navarra, the giving of thirteen marriage tokens is a custom that continues to this day; Stevenson 1983: 61. Stevenson 1983: 61–62. Oxford, New College, MS 208, fol. 276v. and Lambeth Palace, MS 430, fol. 270; Donahue [2007] 2008: 512–513, 631; a similar interpretation is made by Korpiola 2011: 124. Sonne de Torrens 2002: fig. 8; Bugge 1993: pl. 21; Dietrichson [1892] 1971: 261–266; Gjesdahl 1969; Hohler 1999: 168–172. Old French Bible moralisée (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS Codex 2554, fol.2r., a), c. 1208–15; 1226–34 version of the Bible moralisée (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 270b, fol.6); and Bible moralisée dated to c. 1300 (London, British Library, MS Add. 18719, fol. 7v); and Heimann 1975: 11–40, 14, illus. 3. Haussherr 1973. Bolvig 2010. Flensborg 1989: 118–119 and Kaspersen 1989: 120–123. Melnikas 1975: vol. 3. For the different emphasis concerning Causa 27, see Melnikas 1975: 863–864. Melnikas 1975: vol. 3, Causa 29, p. 915: “A woman of nobility was informed that a nobleman’s son desired her for his wife. She gave her consent. Another individual, not of noble but of servile status, presented himself in his place and took her as his wife. Then the one who was first agreeable to her came and sought her as his wife. She complained that she had been deceived and then desired the original suitor in marriage.” Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, MS Lat. 1287, fol. 244v.; Melnikas 1975: vol. 3, p. 919, fig. 8. Douai, Bibliothèque municipal, MS 590, fol. 188; Melnikas 1975: vol. 3, p. 920, fig. 12. Garnier 2003: 200–201; Kennerstedt 1989: 175–192. Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussicher Kulturbesitz, MS Ham. 279, fol. 180 and Escorial, Real Biblioteca del Escorial, MS c. I.4, fol. 318; Melnikas 1975: vol. 3, 922–923, fig. 17 and 19. Nordström 1974: 114–118; figs. 60, 68–69. Quednau 1979: 75–76, pls. 4 (6), 7. See Byzantine marriage plates depicting Saul giving King David his daughter Michal, c. 628–630, Lazaridou 2011: 162, cat. no. 133 a. Rosell 1945: 269–270; vol. II, no. 786. Ibid.: 400, vol. II, no. 786, Lámina IX. Garnier 2003: 146–147. Ibid.: 145–153. Full Latin text: “Et, si supradicta filia nostra Ermengardis mortua fuerit, donamus tibi, supradicto Gaufredo, fiolo de Guirardo, omnia supradicta per supradictas conveniencias cum alia una de filiabus nostris quam habueris ad uxorem” (Rosell 1945: 269–270, vol. II, no. 786). Stevenson 1983: 92–94.

NOTES

187

85. See online collections from the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 86. For similar examples, see McSheffrey 2004: 960–990. 87. Witthoft 1982: 43–59, fig. 2. 88. Hall 1994: pl.1. 89. New York, Morgan Library, MS 713, fol. 152r. 90. The accompanying text reads, “exaudi nos omnipotens et misericors deus ut quod nostor ministratur officio” (ICA). 91. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS Lat. 3893, fol. 302v. 92. Melnikas 1975: vol. 3, Causa 32, 1014, fig. 25. 93. New York, Morgan Library, MS 359, fol. 114r. 94. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS Fr. 6449, fol. 17r; Diskant Muir 2009: 1–7, fig. 3. 95. Hall 1994: 44. For the Reims ceremony, see Molin and Mutembe 1974: 217. 96. New York, Morgan Library, MS 751, fol. 99r. 97. Image of illustration in MS 751, Morgan Library, New York. Available online: http://ica. themorgan.org/manuscript/page/197/115343 (accessed March 28, 2018). 98. London, British Library, MS Roy. 2. B. VII, fol. 289v. 99. Image available in Princeton University, Index of Medieval Art (ICA). 100. Warner 1912: 51, pl. 283. 101. Stanton 1996: 177–214. 102. New York, Metropolitan Museum, Accession no. 1975.1.110. 103. Velden 1998: 242–276, 263. 104. Halsall 2017. 105. Diskant Muir 2011: 4–11, 7, fig. 2; Master of Jacque de Besançon, Horloge de Sapience, fol. 4v., Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS 359. 106. Poeschke 1985: 106–107, pls 245, 246. 107. Schuette 1927–1930: vol. II, 23–25, pl. 17. 108. Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, MS cod. Cicogna 1569, fol. 1r. 109. Lowe 2001: 389–429, 408, fig. 4. 110. Jacopo di Cione, The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, c. 1375–80. Tempera and tooled gold on panel, 81.1 x 62.2 cm. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Accession number: Cat. No. 6. 111. Diskant Muir 2009: 1–7; Meiss 1951: 107–113. 112. Drewer 1993: 11–20, fig. 1. 113. Hans Memling, The Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine of Alexandrea and Barbara, c. 1480s, oil on wood, 68.3 x 73.3 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 114. Master of the Pesaro Crucifix, c. 1425–30. See fig. 3 in Strehlke 1987: 79–96. This article has other fourteenth-century representations of the nuptial crown. 115. Vikan 1990: 145–163; Vikan 1987: 32–43; Kantorowicz 1960: 1–16. 116. The canons attributed to Nicephorus (806–815) forbade the crowning of any marriage except the first, see RPS, IV, p. 427 (canon 2) in Meyendorff 1990: 99–107, footnote 17, 102. 117. A left-handed gesture between Adam and Eve is seen in the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, c. 1400 (Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS 161, fol. 2), Heimann 1975: vol. 23, fig. 18. 118. Bolvig 2010. 119. San Marion, California, the Huntington Library, see Hall 1994: pl. 5. 120. Darmstadt, Landesbibliothek, MS 2505, fol. 12v. 121. Hall 1994: plate 6.

188

NOTES

122. Ibid.: plate 2. 123. Other representations of the holy couple’s marriage using the dextrarum iunctio: Domenico Ghirlandaio, The Marriage of the Virgin (1485–90, Florence, Santa Maria Novella), pl. 3, Hall, Arnolfini; the Book of Hours by the Bedford Master workshop, c. 1430–35, Morgan Library, New York, MS 359, fol. 27v. 124. Sandler 1984: 488–491. 125. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS Fr. 146, fol. 30v. 126. London, British Library, MS Royal 6 E. vi., fol. 286v. 127. Korpiola 2011: 145, fig. 4. 128. Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipal, MS C. 623, fol. 279. 129. Melnikas 1975: 983, fig. 26. 130. Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Lat. 2491, fol. 478. 131. Melnikas 1975: 1004, fig. 9, p. 1004; Causa 32. 132. Hall 1994: 64–65.

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INDEX

Note: Page numbers in italic refer to figures. abduction 24, 86–7, 136 Adam and Eve 3, 38, 121 depictions of 121, 156–7, 158, 159, 160, 164 adultery 2, 5, 15, 35, 42, 73, 122–4, 138, 143 age at betrothal 22 at marriage 29, 30, 86, 112, 116–17, 135 Akiva, Rabbi 126 ale production 108–9 alimony 139 allegorical marriages 40, 52, 53, 54, 163 Andalusia 4, 65, 126 annulment 8, 43, 72, 73, 80, 132–3, 137–8 Aquinas, Thomas 26, 48, 49, 56, 123–4, 155 aristocracy 31, 81, 132, 135 clash of interests with church 45–6 exploitation of laws on consanguinity 72, 133 maintaining status 87–8 aristocratic model vs. clerical model of marriage 45–6, 68, 84, 134 arms, crossing of 160–1 arranged marriage 22, 70, 86, 135 Arthur, King 35, 36 Aucassin and Nicolette 35 Augustine of Hippo, Saint 3–4, 24, 41, 48, 49, 61, 77, 118, 121, 127, 166n 22 authority, marriage and ties of 84–6 The Ballad of a Tyrannical Husband 102–3 banns, marriage 15, 17, 28, 89 baptismal fonts 155–6, 155 barragania 29 Becket, Thomas 162 Beowulf 85 Bernard of Clairvaux 15, 51–2, 156 betrothal Byzantine 22 early Western Christendom 24 forced 30

high and late middle ages 25, 29, 30 in Judaic tradition 33 representations of 161, 162–3 in Roman law 59, 69–70, 86 Bible 38–40 creation story 38 Ephesians 5 39–40, 41, 43, 48, 53, 55 the Fall 3, 121, 160 Gospels 2, 38 representations of patriarchs 151–2 of spiritual marriages 150–1 Song of Songs 15, 39, 40, 49, 51, 52 teachings of Saint Paul 2, 38, 40, 82, 132, 150 wedding at Cana 2, 15, 38, 63, 73 bigamy 72, 134, 139, 143 rules 54–5 birth control 116, 119, 121, 122 bishops 6, 10, 42, 52 courts of 17 Black Death 107, 142 blessings 23, 34, 46 representations of 152 Brews, Margery 126 brides of Christ 50, 52, 163 brothels 117 Brundage, James 65, 73, 80, 122, 145 Burchard of Worms, Bishop 8, 10, 72 Byzantine Empire 22–4, 49, 62–4, 149–50 Cana, wedding at 2, 15, 38, 63, 73 Capellanus, Andreas 36, 125, 126 Capetian dynasty 87 catasto 109 Catherine of Alexandria, Saint 163 Catherine of Siena 50, 51 celibacy 3, 22, 24 of clergy 4, 45, 49, 58, 118 metaphorical marriages and 49–53 New Testament praise for 38

INDEX

Charlemagne 5 chastity 94, 118–19, 122, 139 Chilperic I, King 79–80 Christ brides of 50, 52, 163 marriage of Soul and 55 teaching on marriage 1–2, 38 union between church and 28–9, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 48, 49, 52, 54–5, 56, 77 wedding at Cana 2, 15, 38, 63, 73 Christian devotion and marriage bond 93–5 Christianity and medieval marriage 1–19, 37–56 Biblical and Patristic background 38–41 celibacy and metaphorical marriages 49–53 clerical takeover of marriage 44–7 in early middle ages 42–4 marriage as sacrament 47–9 spiritual and literal marriages 53–6 Christianization of marriage 37–8, 77–8, 93 Christina of Markyate 118 Christus, Petrus 162 church courts 1, 8, 16, 17, 18, 145 business of 66 English archives 18 church marriage law 1000–1500 7–8, 65–75 consanguinity 72–3 marital property 74–5 rise of papal power and academic law 65–8 weddings 73–4 books of reform and 10–13 early medieval 61–2 regional variations in application of 142–3 regulation and control of marriage 28–9 training in civil and 17 clandestine marriages 25, 28, 35, 46, 57, 66, 67, 87, 181n 18 representations of irregular, illegal and 152, 157–61, 164 clergy celibate 4, 45, 49, 58, 118 educating laity about marriage 16–17 forbidden to marry 28, 94 invalid marriages of 47, 94, 141–2 marriage of 4, 142 ordination of widowers into priesthood 54–5 representations of 161, 162, 164

217

role of priests in marriage ceremony 17, 23, 24, 29, 46, 49, 63, 132 sermons on marriage 15, 16–17, 37, 52–3, 55 clerical model vs. aristocratic model of marriage 45–6, 68, 84, 134 clerical takeover of marriage 44–7 Clovis I, King 79, 93 Cohen, Esther 34 commemoration of spouses 78, 82, 84 communion from a common cup 24 community ties and marriage 89–93 compelled marriage 30 concubinage 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 67, 71, 173n 9 consanguinity 7–8, 25, 30–1, 46, 57–8, 72–3, 132–3 in Byzantine law 22, 63 Fourth Lateran Council review 28, 58, 72, 133 in Germanic marriage law 60–1 nobility and 31–2, 72, 133 consent age of 29 in Christian tradition 25, 26, 48, 57, 66–7, 78 in Judaic tradition 33 parental 25, 67, 86, 88, 135 in Roman law 58 solus consensus 47 of widows 82 Constantine, Emperor 3, 6 consummation of a marriage, sexual 13, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 47, 55 age of consent and 29 failure in 26, 43, 54, 73 role of 43, 66 Corpus iuris civilis 7 Council of Elvira 4 Council of Trent 13, 29, 46, 47, 141 Courtenay, Agnes de 88 courtship and ritual 21–36 early period 22–5 Byzantine Empire 22–4 early Western Christendom 24–5 high and late middle ages 25–36 age of marriage 29, 30 betrothal 25, 29, 30 compelled marriage 30 impediments 30–1 Judaic traditions 32–5 love and marriage 35–6 regulations and control 28–9

218

Crome, Alice 136 crowning ceremony 23, 149–50 cruelty 138–9, 143–4 crusades 7, 94 Damian, Peter 8, 10, 54 David and Bathsheba 159 d’Avray, David 7, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 73, 78, 80, 81, 94, 141 death, marriage bond after 81–4 Decretals of Gregory IX 13, 14, 135, 137 Decretum Burchard’s 8, 10 Gratian’s 12–13, 155, 157–9, 162, 164, 186n 72 Ivo’s 10, 11 demographic crises of late Middle Ages 111–13 Denmark 12, 54, 100, 109, 110, 155, 157, 159, 164, 178n 55, 178n 59 dextrarum iunctio 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 155, 155, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165 divorce 2, 5, 36, 42, 61, 67 in Byzantine church 49, 63 experience of 142–5 in Germanic marriage law 60, 79–80 in Islam 64, 65, 144–5 in Judaism 91, 101, 143–4 judicial separation 138–9, 143, 145 lawful separation 132–8 in Roman law 58, 59 self- 134, 139, 142 turning points in history of 140–2 two forms of 80 domestic violence 138–9, 143–4 Donation of Constantine 6 double portraits 149–50 dowers 60, 74, 75, 143 dowries of adulterous wives 143 Byzantine 22, 62–3 in early Western Christendom 24 in high and late middle ages 25, 26–7 in Islamic marriage law 64–5 recovering 70–1, 72, 75 in Roman law 59, 69, 70–1 droit de seigneur 85 drunkenness 145 Duby, Georges 28, 31, 36, 45, 46, 68, 84, 99, 134

INDEX

Ecloga 63 Edward II, King 29 Eleanor of Aquitaine 31, 72, 136 embrace, gesture of 153–4, 154 endogamy 31, 65, 68, 81, 84, 88 engagement in Judaic tradition 33 see also betrothal England betrothal 25 bigamy 143 depictions of Mary and Joseph 156 divorce rates 139 dowers 60, 74, 75, 143 gathering at church door 74 inheritance rights 100 property practices 74–5 Ermengardis and Gausfred 159–61, 160 error of condition 85, 137 error of person 137 Eyck, Jan van 161 fællig 110 the Fall 3, 121, 160 False Decretals 6 familia 97, 98, 100, 113 family economy 97–113 early medieval age 97–100 high and late middle ages 100–13 demographic crises 111–13 in secular law 109–11 sexual division of work 101–9 family ties and marriage 86–8 family units 1, 5, 97, 98, 100, 110, 113 feudal gestures 152–3 fishing industry 111 floral wreaths 149, 162 Florence 25, 109, 116–17 forced marriage 30, 86–7, 136 Fourth Lateran Council 15, 21, 28, 46, 58, 89, 140–1, 141 France 24, 34, 74, 84, 124, 132, 139 representations of marriage 151, 151, 156, 161, 162 free and unfree, marriage of 85 gender hierarchy in marriage symbolism 52–3 gendered division of labor 101–9 genealogical tables 31, 32, 133 genealogies, medieval 87–8 Genoa 26–7 Germanic marriage law 59–61, 79–80, 83 Gershom Ben Judah of Mainz, Rabbi 8–9, 101

INDEX

gifts Byzantine betrothal ceremony 22 high and late middle ages 25, 26, 26 Morgengabe (morning gift) 24, 26, 60 Goody, Jack 46, 72 Gratian of Bologna 12–13, 26, 65–6, 157, 162, 164 Gregorian reforms 4–5, 10, 12, 38, 44–5, 52, 53, 141 Gregory V, Pope 7 Gregory VII, Pope 141 Gregory IX, Pope 13 Guerre, Martin 134 habitations 99 Halperin, David 115 handclasps dextrarum iunctio 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 155, 155, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165 left-handed 150, 155, 156, 159, 161, 163, 164, 165 Helmholz, Richard 18, 66, 85, 139 Henry I Coronation Charter 82, 84, 85 Henry II, Emperor 7, 29 Henry II, King 29, 31, 72 Henry of Ghent 53 Henry VIII, King 131, 131, 140 Hincmar of Reims, Archbishop 5, 43, 81, 140 Holland, Margaret 82, 84 Horowitz, Elliot 34 houses 99 Hugh of St. Victor 14–15, 156 Iberia 142, 143, 144–5 Ibn Hazm 126 Iceland 5, 106 iconography see representations of marriage illegitimate children 60, 62, 71, 116, 123, 138 impediment of crime 137 impediments to marriage 30–1, 66, 132–8 impotence 26, 43, 73, 136–7 incest 30–1, 32, 132–3 see also consanguinity indissolubility of marriage 28–9, 41, 55, 73 case of Lothar II 5, 13, 43, 61, 80–1, 127, 140 Fourth Lateran Council and campaign for 140–1 monogamy and 79–84 setting Western church apart 48 Ingeborg, Queen of France 54

219

inheritance rights 58, 71, 100, 107 in Italy 69 in Scandinavia 110, 178n 55 Innocent III, Pope 28, 45, 50, 52–3, 53–4, 54–5, 71, 94, 133, 135, 140 interfaith marriages 47, 94–5, 145 “Investiture Struggle” 10 Ireland 143 irregular marriages 152, 157–9, 164, 165 see also spiritual marriages Isabella, Queen of France 29 Isabella of Valois 135 Islam divorce 64, 65, 144–5 family control over marriage 86 love poetry and letters 126 marriage law 64–5, 144–5 sex outside marriage 116, 122, 144 sex within marriage 119 Italy 24, 26–7, 29, 30, 33, 65, 69, 71, 181n 18 Ivo of Chartres 10–11, 12 Jacob and Rachel 152, 152–3 Jerome, Saint 3 Joan of Kent 81, 90 Jovinians 3, 41 Judaism chastity 118–19 courtship and marriage 32–5 debate on conjugal unit 100–1 divorce 91, 101, 143–4 family control over marriage 88 interfaith marriages 95 Kabbalah 120 ketubah (marriage contract) 91, 92, 122 love poetry and letters 126–7 marriage a necessary aspect of community 90 polygamy ban 8–10 predestined marriages 127–8 sex outside marriage 122–3 sex within marriage 120–1 judicial separation 138–9, 143, 145 Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald 85–6, 87 Justinian I, Emperor 42, 58–9, 63, 67 Justinian’s Code 22 Kabbalah 120 Kempe, Margery 93–4, 122 ketubah (marriage contract) 91, 92, 122 kinship system 77

220

INDEX

kissing God 52 land tenure 104–5, 107, 112 law, marriage see marriage law lawful separation 5, 71, 73, 132–8 annulment 132–3 error of condition 137 error of person 137 force and fear 136 impediment of crime 137 impotence 136–7 pre-contract 133–5 underage marriage 135 left-handed clasp 150, 155, 156, 159, 161, 163, 164, 165 legitimation of children 71 Leo IX, Pope 9, 10 leprosy 5, 143 Liber Extra 13, 54 literature, courtly love in 35–6, 125 see also love poems and letters Lombard, Peter 26, 47, 48, 60, 61, 66 lordship ties 84–5 Lothar II, King 5, 13, 43, 61, 80–1, 127, 140 Louis VII, King 31, 72, 136 love in marriage 14–15, 35–6, 124–29 love poems and letters 124–5, 126–7, 128

Islamic 64–5 Roman law 58–9 ecclesiastical 1000–1500 65–75 consanguinity 72–3 marital property 74–5 papal power and academic law 65–8 revival of Roman law 69–72 weddings 73–4 educating laity on 16–17 Mary and Joseph, marriage of 14, 40 representations of 150–1, 151, 155–6, 155, 164 McDougall, Sara 28 men in sexual relationships with other men 116–18 menstruation 121 Meyendorff, John 22 misogyny 3 monasticism 118 Monegund 93 monogamy 49, 57, 58, 61 and indissolubility 79–84 Morgengabe (morning gift, dower) 24, 26, 60 Moses and Zipporah 151 Muriel, Jew of Oxford 144 mystical marriages 51–2, 55, 161, 163

Maitland, Frederic 17, 133 Maria de Montpellier 53–4 marital affection 18, 58–9 representations of 153–4, 154 marital sex see sex, within marriage marriage banns 15, 17, 28, 89 marriage blessings 23, 34, 46 representations of 152 marriage bond 77–95 after death 81–4 and Christian devotion 93–5 community ties and 89–93 family ties and 86–8 monogamy, indissolubility and strengthening of 79–84 ties of authority 84–6 marriage contracts 91–3, 92, 122 representation of arrangement of 153, 159–61 marriage law 57–75 developments in 7–16 early medieval to 1000 58–65 Byzantine law 62–4 church law 61–2 Germanic law 59–61

Nativity of Christ 150, 155, 155, 156, 157, 164 Nicholas I, Pope 5, 43, 61, 64, 91, 140, 149, 150 nonreproductive sex 116, 119 Norway 138, 156 Novel 89 23–4, 49 Old English Hexateuch 152 Origen of Alexandria 2, 3, 50 Pactus Legis Salicae 79, 86 pagan practices 23, 148, 149–50 Panormia 11–12 papacy involvement in marriage law 10, 45–6, 87, 140 positioned as bridegroom for church 53 rise in power of 65–6 papal dispensations 29, 71, 72–3, 133, 137, 140 patria potestas 58, 69 Paul, Saint 2, 38, 40, 82, 132, 150 Peñafort, Raymond de 13 Pepin, King 25

INDEX

permission to marry 84–5, 86 Peter of Aragon, King 53–4 Philip II of France, King 54, 87 plagues 107, 112, 142 political alliances 29, 45, 68, 83, 85–6, 133 polygamy 7, 61, 64, 68, 79–80, 80, 119 Jewish ban on 8–10 pre-contract 133–5 priests’ role in marriage ceremony 17, 23, 24, 29, 46, 49, 63, 132 see also clergy primogeniture 100, 107, 136 procreation 24, 41, 62, 63, 115, 116, 120 production internationalizing of domestic 108–9 for market 102, 105, 110–11 organization of 99, 100, 101–2 proto-industrial modes of 100 restrictions on 105–6 property in England 74–5 in France 74 in Islamic marriage law 64–5 judicial separation and rights to 139 retrieval after an annulment 137–8 in secular law 67 widows’ rights 82–3 prostitutes 2, 116, 117, 118, 123 Pseudo-Isidorean Forgeries 6, 10 punishments, community 90 Queen Mary’s Psalter 162 Qur’an 64, 119 rape 91, 136 remarriage 42, 48–9, 59, 62, 71–2, 82 representations of marriage 147–65 early medieval period 148–53 divinely instituted and nuptial blessings 152 double portraits 149–50 feudal gestures and family agreements 152–3 New Testament spiritual marriages 150–1 Old Testament role of patriarchs 151–2 origins of nuptial iconography 148–9 late medieval period 161–4 betrothals vs. marriage ceremonies 161–3 illicit, irregular marriages 164

221

spiritual, mystical and allegorical marriages 163–4 Romanesque and Gothic periods 153–61 irregular, illicit and clandestine marriages 157–61 marital affection 153–4 sacrament of marriage 154–7 Reynolds, Philip 41, 42, 49, 55 Richard II, King 81, 135 Richard of St. Victor 15 Rider, Jeff 84 rings 22, 23, 25, 26, 161, 162–3, 163 Robert II of France 7 Roman law 24, 42, 57, 58–9, 67, 69–72, 86, 123 Ruth and Boaz 153 sacralization 34 sacrament, marriage as a 31, 39, 47–9 linking to spiritual marriage 53–4 representations of 154–7, 155 same-sex relationships, men in 116–18 Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome 151–2 sarcophagi, early Christian 149, 150, 150–1, 151 Scandinavia 99, 100, 107, 137–8, 178n 55 fællig 110 Schmid, Karl 99 secular law 1, 28–9, 42, 67, 109–11, 143, 145 self-divorce 134, 139, 142 separation see judicial separation; lawful separation sermons on marriage 15, 16–17, 37, 52–3, 55 servants 85, 124 sex 119–24 outside marriage 65, 95, 116, 122–4, 144 within marriage 2, 3, 41, 43, 116, 119–22, 136 sexuality 115–19 slaves 98, 137 marriage with free 85 sex with 116, 122, 123, 124 social class and marriage 87–8, 90, 129 sodomy 116 Song of Songs 15, 39, 40, 49, 51, 52 Spain 4, 24, 25, 95, 143, 156 spiritual marriages 37, 50, 52 literal marriage and 53–6 representations of 150–1, 155–7, 158, 159, 163, 164

222

Sweden 137–8, 139, 143, 153–4, 154 symbolic meaning of marriage 53–6 tables of affinity 31, 32, 133 temporary marriages 143 Tertullian 3, 24, 149 Theodore of Tarsus 5 Theudebert, King 79 Theutberga 5, 43, 61, 80, 127, 140 Tobias and Sarah 153 Tournai, Guibert de 15 training in law 17 Tripartita 10–11 Tristan and Iseut 30 Tryde Church baptismal font 153–4, 154 Tuscany 29, 30 types of marriage 50–1 underage marriage 88, 135 urbanization 7 validity of a marriage 13, 17, 26, 46–7, 60, 63–4, 66 veil 149 Venice 143 violence 136, 138–9, 143–4 virginity 3, 15, 50, 54, 118 second 72 vows, marriage 13, 16, 17, 25, 86

INDEX

Wales 143 wedding ceremonies Byzantine 22–3 ecclesiastical law and 73–4 in high and late middle ages 25–6 in Judaic tradition 33–4 representations of 149–50, 162 widowers 48–9, 71, 81–2 bigamy rules 54–5 widows 81, 82–4 financial support for 27, 60, 74–5, 143 of merchants in Saint-Omer 84 remarriage 48–9, 72, 82 Williamson, John 136 witnesses, marriage 13, 17, 28, 33, 58, 64, 151, 162 women financial position after divorce 142, 143 inheritance rights 100 involvement in family businesses 109–10 plague and opportunities for 112, 142 power to manipulate ties of marriage 88 pushed out of labor market 107, 112–13 status of Jewish 101 see also widows work, sexual division of 101–9