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Divorce, Concubinage, Polygyny

(488 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
There is a scholarly consensus that by the 9th century all grounds for divorce other than contravention of marriage prohibitions had been dispensed with in Latin Europe. The prohibition of divorce in the Early Middle Ages was always linked with the rejection of polygyny and of all the ways of life which the Church subsumed under the term "concubinage." The common view is that with comparable rapidity the irreversible, life-long monogamous relationship between man and wife had asserted itself as the only model. Concubinage, …
Date: 2016-10-17

Widowhood and Remarriage

(278 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
Although remarriage was the norm in medieval life, the Church never integrated the remarried into their estate-based models of society. In the worldview of pastors and canonists, remarried people coul…
Date: 2016-08-09

Norms

(1,272 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
Subject Norms (from Lat.
Date: 2016-08-09

Kinship Systems

(2,282 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
The medieval family relationship system was a tripartite system: descent (in the paternal and maternal line), marriage alliances (affinity), and spiritual relationships (especially god-parenthood). Si…
Date: 2016-10-17

Marriage Prohibitions and Exogamy, Marriage Prohibitions and Endogamy

(996 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
The second instrument of relationship regulation that was significant for Latin European history were the marriage prohibitions that suddenly appeared in the 6th and 7th centuries and then were very quickly extended (P. Bonte, J. Eming). Their interpretation presents great difficulties in that the prohibitions were extended beyond blood relatives, not only to affinal relatives (e.g. marriage to a brother-in-law) but also to spiritual relatives (e.g. marriages between godparents of the same child). This comprehensive and comparatively homogeneous attempt at prohibition, pursued over the centuries, cannot be plausibly explained in terms of ecclesiastical interests, whether sociopolitical (maintaining peace between inhabitants of a house), power-political (involvement of priests in social affairs), or property-strategic (prevention of heirs). The impulse for the prohibitions must be sought in the midst of that universe …
Date: 2016-08-09

Bastards and Genitors

(432 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
The question of the genitor could not play any part for lack of verifiability. The important thing seems to have been the legal status of birth in a legitimate marriage. As a genitor it was clear whom…
Date: 2016-08-09

Adoption

(557 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
Most publications on adoption in the history of Latin E…
Date: 2016-08-09

Family

(1,312 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
As a subject of cultural research, kinship is (1) a conceptual classification system for defining social relationships, which draws its terminology from the semantic field of biological repr…
Date: 2016-10-17

Childless Decedents

(370 words)

Author(s): Bernhard Jussen
For research into family relations that is strongly oriented around inheritan…
Date: 2016-10-17