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Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300$
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Elisabeth van Houts

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798897.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

Making of Marriage

Making of Marriage

(p.29) 1 Making of Marriage
(p.iii) Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900–1300

Elisabeth van Houts

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the process of who arranged marriages and how they were planned, with particular attention to the role of parents and kin, kings and lords, and initiatives of the couples themselves. In the period under discussion, marital arrangements were made by parents, kin, and lords with minimal input from the couple. In fact, the legality of marriage was subject to parental consent, not the couple’s. In the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries evidence emerged that suggests a development in thinking amongst the laity and clergy about what established a valid union. In narrative sources, such as chronicles, hagiography, and fiction, demands of young men and women for self-determination with respect to marriage were recorded. There seems to have been a gendered aspect to these emerging voices with more women than men, mostly from elite or well-to-do backgrounds, demanding a say in the choice of marriage partner.

Keywords:   arranged marriage, parental consent, couple’s consent, elopement, women

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