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Medieval marriage customs

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Libby
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Medieval marriage customs

Post by Libby » Thu January 29th, 2009, 8:44 pm

I finished reading EC's Shadows and Strongholds about a week ago and I've been thinking about the descriptions of the marriage - especially the part where Hawise knelt to Brunin and promised to obey him. I know that there was an obeying vow in the marriage service until quite recently and I was wondering if anyone knew a good site/book about marriage customs in medieval England.

I'm sure EC knows, but I thought it was a topic others might like to discuss as well. :)
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Post by EC2 » Thu January 29th, 2009, 9:26 pm

My reference blog lists a few - pasted below. The sex ones contain scattered refs to marriage.
Full url to reference blog is here as there are other books with marriage refs scattered among their pages.
http://www.elizabethchadwick.com/Blogs/ ... rence.html


SEX, LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS

THE MEDIEVAL IDEA OF MARRIAGE By Christopher Brooke. Oxford University Press 1991 ISBN 019285239 6

HISTORY LAID BARE. Love, Sex and Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Lawrence of Arabia By Richard Zacks BCA 1995 CN4675

HANDBOOK OF MEDIEVAL SEXUALITY Edited by Vern L. Bullough and James A. Brundage. Garland 1996 ISBN 0815336624

SEXUALITY IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE. Doing unto Others By Ruth Mazo Karras. Routledge 2005. ISBN 9780415289634

LOVE, SEX AND MARRIAGE IN THE MIDDLE AGES. A Sourcebook edited by Conor McCarthy. Routledge 2004 ISBN 0415307465

THE LANGUAGE OF SEX. Five Voices from Northern France around 1200 By John W. Baldwin University of Chicago Press 1994 ISBN 0226036146

THE LOVER'S TONGUE. A MERRY ROMP THROUGH THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE AND SEX. By Mark Morton. Insomniac Press 2003 ISBN 18946663519
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

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Libby
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Post by Libby » Thu January 29th, 2009, 9:41 pm

Thank you! :)
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Post by Richard » Wed February 25th, 2009, 7:18 pm

There is some great stuff on Jewish marriage contracts and divorces in the "Geniza Documents". These are primary sources that cover the 8th-12th centuries if I recall... Shelomo dov Goiten is the most famoous translator of the source, his landmark tome is in 6 volumes but I recently bought the abridged version which is novel-sized.

There is a lot of stuff in it having to do with womens' marriage rights - for example she would generally keep her own property going into the marraige and would still have it if the marraige ended. In addition, the husband was typically obligated to give her a first and second "gift" which would become her sole property... in some cases he would have to give the second gift early as penalty for some infraction against the contract.

Typical requirements written into the contract might be that the woman be allowed to visit relatives in another city periodically, or that a merchant husband might have to be at home for a certain portion of the year, or even that marital relations would occur with such-and-such a frequency.
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Post by Margaret » Wed February 25th, 2009, 7:45 pm

The Geniza documents are very cool. They are an absolute treasure trove from the Jewish community in medieval Cairo, a huge bunch of documents discovered where they had been sealed into a room. Medieval Cairo itself is extremely interesting, as I discovered when I wrote about Ibn Al Ridwan, a medieval Cairo physician and astrologer, for Saudi Aramco World magazine. I could only use a tiny fraction of the fascinating stuff I discovered. If only I read Arabic, I could mine this material for novels for the rest of my life!
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Post by Volgadon » Wed February 25th, 2009, 8:33 pm

The geniza is a treasure trove, literally.

The ketuba was a pre-nup, aimed at protecting the rights of the bride, in case of divorce or widowhood. In its basic form it describes what the bride brought to the marriagemoney-wise and what the husband promised to give her in the case of divorce. Heirs were also obliged to provide for her. To Jewish women, their ketuba was the most valuable document they possesed and was displayed prominently. Though usually written in Aramaic, the secular lingua franca, there are also a few examples in other languages.
Quite a few modern-day Israelis might find themselves in trouble because they don't realise how serious and binding of a legal document it is, so they promise their wives a million dollars. Lovely, romantic gesture, but if the wife decided to use it in a divorce proceedings, the husband would have to fork up!

Margaret, what year was your article, we have quite a few old Aramcos lying around the house. That is so cool that you wrote for them.

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Post by Ash » Wed February 25th, 2009, 11:47 pm

When we were poor soon to be wed, we went looking for some Ketubas. Oh my god. Some gorgeous works of art there. For more money than we had! I know we could have gotten one from temple, but those got me spoiled for the real thing!

One of my least fav Jewish wedding traditions is similar to the 'obey' one: bride walks around groom 7 times, to signify she must obey him every day of the year. Despite our rather traditional ceremony, that was left out. But my fav was the chair dance (even tho I almost fell off!)

Some examples of Ketubas (Ketubarim? Ketubarot?) http://www.ketubah.com/ketubah-gallery/all-ketubahs/
Last edited by Ash on Wed February 25th, 2009, 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Thu February 26th, 2009, 12:41 am

Margaret, what year was your article, we have quite a few old Aramcos lying around the house.
July/August 2006. It's also on the web at http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/2 ... ernova.htm, but especially fun in the hard copy of the magazine, if you've got it, because they illustrated it so beautifully. I really enjoyed working with them.
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Post by Volgadon » Thu February 26th, 2009, 7:09 pm

Rats, we haven't gotten them for a few years. They are pretty lavish with the illustrations. For me, one of the joys of watching Hidalgo was how well the details chimed with photos from the aramcos.

And Ash, the plural is ketuvot. They are gorgeous, thinking of making my own, not as nice, but who can afford that.

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Post by Margaret » Thu February 26th, 2009, 8:28 pm

They might send you a back-issue if you asked. Check out the website. Since they don't charge for subscriptions, they might not charge for back-issues, either.
Last edited by Margaret on Thu February 26th, 2009, 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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