Culture of child marriage in medieval Europe

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Some 'uncomfortable' facts.

Child and teenage marriages in medieval Europe - common as a cup of tea.

John McLaughlin, PhD, writes in his article MEDIEVAL CHILD MARRIAGE: ABUSE OF WARDSHIP?

" .. in 1396, Richard II of England was joined in marriage to young Isabel of France, who had been 7 years old when their engagement was announced the previous year in Paris. Not only was there no uproar; there was considerable happiness expressed over the assumed probability that this marriage would end the Hundred Years War then in one of its periodic states of truce between the two kingdoms. Peace was to be ensured by joining together this man and this little girl in marriage.
"A social practice which entered the written record in the 12th century, but which seems to have had roots in the barbaric past, that extended from the royal abattoirs down to the lives of neighboring fishmongers and shop-keepers in medieval London, yet that seems to have received little more than passing notice in canon law beyond exhortation to limit it to age seven and ensure mutual consent of the parties ..... But still it is not even indexed in most contemporary discussions of medieval marriage and family life, from Barbara Hanawalt to James Brundage, GL Brooke to Frances & Joseph Giese, Ian MacFarlane to Georges Duby. It is not exactly passed over in their texts, when you read closely
" .... there is not a single book, not a single article, on the separate topic of medieval child marriage in contemporary scholarship, even where there are passing references in the middle of other discussions of medieval childhood, as in problems of medieval wardship.
"By 'child' in this context is meant a male or female human being above the age of 7 -- for either gender -- and below the age of 14 for males, and 12 for females. This follows medieval canon law, in recognizing these as the limits of infancy and puberty
"Thus, for example, when the Wife of Bath boasts of having had five husbands since the age of 12, she is not casting herself in the role of child bride, technically speaking, at least not in medieval terms. Lee Patterson's discussion of child marriage in Peter Beidler's lovely new edition of The Wife of Bath, is thus irrelevant to the present discussion, except as it relates to Richard and Isabel; Christine de Pisan, for example, was already aged 15 when she was 'given' to her husband, and therefore according to medieval definition an adult woman."

Rachelle Carter writes in Marriage in Medieval Times

"In the Middle Ages children were married at a young age. Girls were as young as 12 when they married, and boys as young as 17. The arrangement of the marriage was based on monetary worth. The family of the girl who was to be married gives a dowry,or donation, to the boy she is to marry. The dowry goes with her at the time of the marriage and stays with the boy forever (Renolds).   After the marriage was arranged a wedding notice was posted on the door of the church. The notice was put up to ensure that there were no grounds for prohibiting the marriage."

In 'Juana the Mad of Castille' J.N.W. Bos writes:

"Queen Juana I of Castile (1479-1555) .... was born on November 6, 1479, as the second daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.   At the age of 16, Juana was betrothed to Philip the Handsome of Austria (1478-1506), only son of the Emperor Maximilian I.  For Philip the attraction to the beautiful, dark haired Juana (to the left) was carnal and little more, but Juana became totally infatuated with her husband ..... his life mainly consisted of feasting, drinking and chasing women - and he had no intention to change his philandering ways. For Juana, however, only absolute togetherness would do. She was too young and inexperienced to realise that she expected too much from a politically arranged marriage."

Now, here's an interesting piece form a 'historian' blogger.

This blogger then tries to justify the child marriages by saying that this practice existed only among royals and other elites and not among middle or lower classes, a point already refuted by John McLaughlin.  The blog author writes "Church law forbade child marriage and allowed young brides and grooms to repudiate the marriage once they reached the age of puberty, which was officially set at 12 for girls and 14 for boys.   So, the most common age for a young woman of middle or low status to marry was from the age of 22 years old."   In the process the author acknowledges that rulers and aristocrats of medieval Europe did not respect the rule of law.  This is what happens when writers try to use a lie as a cover-up .... it simply brings up some other serious contradiction.  
Now, marriages of noble and royal women were usually for political and dynastic consideration. So, at what age did a young noblewoman enter into marriage.  In Italy the average age for marriage was 17; in France it is 16 ; and in England and Germany 18 yo was the average age - all for first marriages. (Source: “Medieval Households” by David Herlihy, Harvard University Press, 1985).  However, the following examples are exceptions:
Bianca of Savoy, Duchess of Milan was married aged 13 (1350), and aged 14 when she gave birth to her eldest son, Giangaleazzo (1351).
Theodora Comnena was aged 13 when she was married King Baldwin III of Jerusalem (1158).
Agnes of France was 12 when, widowed, she was married to Andronicus Comnenus, Byzantine Emperor (1182).
St Elizabeth of Portugal was aged 12 when she was married to King Denis of Portugal and gave birth to three children shortly thereafter.
Caterina Sforza was betrothed aged 9, married aged 14, and gave birth aged 15.
Lucrezia Borgia was married to her first husband aged 13 and bore a son within a few years.
Beatrice d'Este was betrothed aged 5 and married aged 15.

The LiveJournal writes

"When the Austrian-born Archduchess Marie Antoinette was married off at age fourteen to France's future king -- crowned Louis XVI in 1774 -- her overriding duty was to give the kingdom an heir."

And finally, as Wikipedia mentions, tracing the history of marriage in ancient Greece

"For most of European history, marriage was more or less a business agreement between two families who arranged the marriages of their children. Romantic love rarely, and even simple affection was not considered essential.  In fact at some times, too much affection in a marriage was considered a sin.
"In Ancient Greece .... Men usually married when they were in their 20s or 30s  and expected their wives to be in their early teens.
"Married Greek women had few rights in ancient Greek society and were expected to take care of the house and children.
"In the 12th century, aristocrats believed love was incompatible with marriage and seeked romance in adultery."

The above are just a few examples of the culture of child marriage in Europe.  As we keep rummaging through the history of that region, we come across plenty more.

Heba E. Husseyn:
Wonderful read sister.  You must have really worked hard to find all these very authentic facts and figures.  At present, people in the West look upon the 7th century history of young age marriages in the Middle-East with such astonishment as though it never happened in their part of the world.  This article catches them head-on!  It's also important to note that at present when girls and boys, especially girls, are getting married in their 30s - this hasn't resolved the problems of marital abuse.  If anything at all, it's worsened. 

Also read:


This also proves the contradiction and ignorance of Westerners about their own culture.  When they read about political marriages of convenience in Islamic history for the purpose of helping to promote peace between countries or tribes, they disagree and deride.  Yet history shows that much after Islam, both child marriages and political marriages of convenience were rampant all over Europe.

Child marriages among the Roma people in Europe are still prevalent.  Roma is an unprivileged minority group in Romania, Spain, Italy, France etc. and are orthodox Christians. 

Recently in Spain a 10-year-old daughter of a woman in her 30s gave birth to a baby.  The father is 13.   Shocking!

The West is so cleverly silent about containing what it condemns for others that you hardly know it exisits within their community until some sudden news story comes up in that regard.

Moreover, in the West they consider it okay if both are minors.  But they will object if a 16 year old gets married to a 19 year old because the 16 year old is officially a minor whereas the 19 year old isn't.  Now this is pure madness!  Similarly if a 14 year old girl gets married to a 15 year old boy, they accept that.  But if that 14 year old gets married to a 28 year old man, the guy becomes a "pedofile."  Again, this is highly stupid.  A 14 year old girl can be much better looked after and supported by a 28 year old than by a 15 year old.  Needless to say, I don't at all support marriage of underage girls.  But what I mean to say is that if a minor girl ends up getting married, it only makes the mess bigger if the boy she marries is also a minor. 

Now read the messy story below.   Very sad state of affairs. 

Mom happy that her 10-year-old gave birth

MADRID - A Roma woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain says she's delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn't understand why the birth has shocked anyone — let alone become an international sensation.

Spanish authorities have released few details about the case to protect the girl's privacy.

But in comments published Wednesday, her Romanian mother told reporters the baby's father is a 13-year-old boy who is still in Romania and is no longer going out with her daughter.

The 10-year-old girl and her baby daughter plan to stay in Spain because the young couple separated, said the girl's mother. She identified herself only as Olimpia and appeared to be in her 30s but did not give her age.

She also said she didn't understand the attention the case was generating because she and her daughter are Roma and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though that's against the law in Romania.

"That's the way we get married," the girl's mother told reporters Tuesday outside the modest apartment building in the southern town of Lebrija where the family lives.

Meanwhile, the story was going viral on the Internet and causing an uproar in Spain.

"Mother at 10 years old" blared a headline in Barcelona's La Vanguardia newspaper, which dedicated two pages to the story.

In contrast, news about the 10-year-old mother barely registered in Romania, with stories buried inside newspapers focusing on the controversy the birth had caused among Spaniards.

The girl moved to Spain about three weeks ago, her mother said, and her baby was born in a public hospital last week in the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera. There were no complications during the birth, and the 10-year-old and her baby are doing fine, her mother said.

"She's doing well and is very happy with her daughter," the woman said.

The 10-year-old and her baby are living with the new grandmother while Spanish social welfare authorities determine whether the family will be able to provide for the baby.

Under Spanish law, having consensual sex with someone under age 13 is classified as child abuse. But a Justice Ministry official said this particular case is complicated, because the alleged father is not in Spain and is also a minor. It is not clear whether he could be charged, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of ministry policy.

Romanian law allows girls to get married at age 16 with parental consent, or at 18 without it.

But arranged "marriages" between teenagers are relatively common among Roma, who make up about 1.5 million of Romania's 22 million people. Families "marry off" daughters when they reach puberty, with the "husband" usually being a couple of years older. The marriages are not recognized by the state.

Roma girls are often not encouraged to pursue a full education, and Romanian authorities do not widely enforce education laws that require children to attend school until age 16.

In 2003, there was an international outcry after the European Union envoy to Romania, Baroness Emma Nicholson, demanded that a 12-year-old Roma girl and her 15-year-old common-law husband separate and cease all intimate relations until they were legally able to be married. The couple did separate for an unknown amount of time.

Yahoo! News   

N. Truth Seeker:
Good exposure of the truth the West frantically tries to conceal, downplay and altogether ignore in the present era.  I don't know how I missed this thread earlier.  I happened to read it at a time when there came another such example in Europe.  Today was announced the death of Marshal Tito's 88-year-old widow who led an abandoned life in a Belgrade suburb.  I guess you all know who Marshal Tito was .. the Yugoslav strongman .. though he had his problems as a ruler, he handled Yugoslavia far better than what was to happen in the 1990s after his death in 1980.   Some reports say Tito married thrice and some say 5 times.  Anyhow, the old lady who died today of natural causes in a Belgrade hospital was his last wife.   He married his first wife in 1919 who was then 14-years-old.  Tito was born in 1892 which means when he married his first wife, he was 27.  So, according to present-day Europe, Marshal Tito was a "pedophile" by definition.


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