Love, Marriage and Family in the Middle Ages: A Reader / Edition 1

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This reader of primary sources focuses on the burgeoning field of the medieval family. While much of what it means to be in love, or to marry, or to be part of a family has remained consistent over the past two millennia, dramatic changes have also taken place. Love, Marriage, and Family in the Middle Ages now allows readers a vivid sense of what these issues, which make up so much of daily life, meant to those in the Middle Ages.

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Editorial Reviews

The 80 excerpts and short pieces consider foundations and influences; love and its dangers; marriage and the church; husbands and wives; marriage and family; childbirth; parents and children; and beyond Christendom. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551111049
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
  • Publication date: 9/21/2001
  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures Series , #7
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 524
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Murray is Dean of Arts at the University of Guelph. She is the editor of Conflicted Identities and Multiple Masculinities: Men in the Medieval West and Desire and Discipline: Sex and Sexuality in the Premodern West (with Konrad Eisenbichler).
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Foundations and Influences 1
1 The Biblical Foundations 2
2 The Germanic Foundations 10
3 Theological Foundations: Augustine, On the Good of Marriage 15
4 Theological Foundations: Augustine on Marriage as a Social Institution 21
5 Legal Foundations: The Burgundian Laws 24
6 Legal Foundations: Anglo-Saxon Laws 39
7 Pastoral Foundations: The Penitential of Theodore 44
Ch. 2 Love and its Dangers 53
8 A Biblical Celebration of Love 54
9 The Biblical Regulation of Sexual Behavior 61
10 The Marriage of Thorsteinn and Spes 64
11 Charlemagne's Daughter and Her Lover 74
12 The Ideology of Courtly Love 79
13 Troubadour Love Poetry 93
14 Goliardic Love Songs 98
15 Vernacular Songs of Love 103
16 Adulterous Love: The Story of Equitan 113
17 A Debate about Love and Marriage: The Owl and the Nightingale 122
18 Abelard and Heloise 134
19 Paolo and Francesca 148
20 Edward III's Love for the Countess of Salisbury (1342) 151
21 The Paston Family on Love and Marriage 157
22 Prosecutions and Punishments for Sexual Misconduct 164
Ch. 3 Marriage and the Church 169
23 The Theology of Marriage: Peter Lombard's Sentences 170
24 A Woman's View of Marriage: Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias 182
25 The Good of Marriage: Etienne de Fougeres 191
26 Ecclesiastical Legislation: The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) 202
27 Episcopal Legislation: The Statutes of Salisbury (1217-19) 206
28 The Parish Priest and the Rules of Marriage 211
29 How to Dissolve a Marriage 215
30 Marriage Litigation in Fifteenth-Century London 220
Ch. 4 Marriage Ceremonies, Rituals, and Customs 233
31 Pope Nicholas's Letter to a Bulgarian King (866) 234
32 The Legend of St. Nicholas and the Three Dowries 242
33 A Bad Courtship and a Good: Ruodlieb 245
34 The Liturgy of Marriage 261
35 Popular Customs and Marriage Celebrations 271
Ch. 5 Husbands and Wives 275
36 An Early Christian View of Husbands and Wives 276
37 Tertullian: To His Wife (ca. 200) 279
38 An Anti-Matrimonial Diatribe 288
39 A Grieving Husband: The Death of Einhard's Emma 292
40 The Marriage of Guibert of Nogent's Parents 295
41 Cautionary Tales 304
42 A Sermon on the Ideal Husband 307
43 A Popular View of Marriage: The Vision of Piers of Plowman 310
44 St. Bernardino on Marriage 313
45 The Fifteen Joys of Marriage 318
Ch. 6 Marriage and Family 331
46 Marriage Among the Franks 332
47 Counting Families in the Ninth Century 336
48 Spiritual Marriages 341
49 A Rebellious Wife 346
50 An Unhappy Marriage: Godelieve of Ghistelle 349
51 A Lord Asserts his Rights: Gerald of Aurillac 360
52 Duplicitous Wives and Illegitimate Heirs 363
53 The Legitimation of Children 368
54 Feudal Marriage 370
55 A Fraudulent Marriage Agreement (1280) 375
56 Marriage Cases in Village Courts 379
57 Housing and Households 387
58 Domestic Violence 392
Ch. 7 Childbirth 395
59 Gregory the Great on Sex, Childbirth, and Purity 396
60 A Medical Discussion of Childbirth 401
61 Description of a Birthing Chamber 407
62 Prayers for Women in Childbirth 409
63 Rejoicing for a Safe Delivery 412
Ch. 8 Parents and Children 415
64 Biblical Advice on Parent/Child Relations 416
65 Jerome on the Education of Girls 418
66 Frankish Parents' Grief 425
67 An Unhappy Childhood: Guibert of Nogent 429
68 The Ideals of Childhood 436
69 Intrafamilial Conflict 442
70 Parents, Children, and Child-rearing 445
71 A Happy Childhood: Jean Froissart 453
72 The Instruction of Children 456
73 The Care of Orphans 465
Ch. 9 Beyond Christendom 469
74 Laws Regulating Contact Between Jews, Muslims, and Christians 470
75 Marriage Cases in the Jewish Community 473
76 A Jewish Merchant's Letter 485
77 A Jewish Father's Advice: Eleazar of Mainz 488
78 Islamic Teachings on Marriage and the Family 492
79 Christian Misunderstanding of Islamic Teachings on Marriage 502
80 The Cathars' Rejection of Marriage 506
Index of Topics 511
Sources 519
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