48

No. Slavery was abolished in 1833 in England. Prior to 1919 women were not property. Not having equal rights doesn't automatically mean slavery. Neither is a woman taking the family name of her husband a sign of slavery. It was (and is) a normal custom that only recently (about 40-30 years ago) changed. It actually is the default, even today, with good ...


40

Is this something that predates back many civilizations ago? Or is this a relatively newfound trend? In general, it is a relatively new trend of the last few centuries, and many old cultures have/had no such concept or tradition. Keep in mind that surnames in many cultures are a relatively new trend. There was no name to drop upon marriage if you didn't ...


37

Not really. Generally speaking, most European women since married in their early to mid twenties, to men in their mid to late twenties. The age gap for the commoners, i.e. the vast majority of the population, were typically not large. Unfortunately the question declined to define how much younger is "much younger" supposed to mean, but most Europeans ...


25

If you consider the wording carefully: Until women got full legal rights, [where] they could own property themselves, [and] they could work, essentially they were owned by their fathers and then by their husbands. Then in becomes clear that the person making this statement spoke just figuratively. Which is not verboten and essentially a common way to ...


24

An annulment does not "break" a marriage, as does a divorce. It declares that the marriage never happened in the first place. This meant that the married couple would revert to their previous legal status (the "wife" would revert to being a "spinster" if she hadn't been previously married). However, any children from an annulled marriage would still be ...


21

Very interesting. I found this explanation on geneology.about.com: In earlier times, a marriage bond was given to the court by the intended groom prior to his marriage. It affirmed that there was no moral or legal reason why the couple could not be married and it also affirmed that the groom would not change his mind. If he did, and did not marry ...


19

Movies portray people as having separate beds to get around strict censorship laws which were derived from old religious traditions. In reality, there have been many such movements for and against sleeping together, and it appears to have gone in and out of style through the ages.


19

No. The term pedophilia was not coined until 1886; all of the examples you give were before the term existed. Furthermore, and much more importantly, pedophilia has to do with sexual attraction, and none of these marriages had anything to do with sexual attraction. Although I have not done the required research, I'm confident in asserting that none of the ...


19

It was probably always the norm, at least in a way that also tolerated concubines. The Ancient Greeks were of course descended from Proto-Indo-Europeans. As early as 1864, French historian Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges reasoned in his magnus opus, La Cité antique, that marriages were monogamous from the earliest days of the Indo-European peoples. The ...


16

I know of a Galician (NW Iberian Peninsula) charter issued before a notary and a judge in 1457 where a married couple divorce by mutual agreement. You can access a good edition of the original document here: Gallaeciae Monumenta Historica. The original document is contained in the notebook of a notary from western Galicia, and it is dated in 1457. My bad, ...


14

Probably more common than you would think. Lots of nobles were little more than farmers with a coat of arms. Peasants could acquire a lot of wealth. Were the division between the two classes fell varied enourmously between countries, as well as the relative status. To give an example: In Sweden, the noble class was created in 1280, when anyone who would ...


14

The "average age of brides in Russian history" is quite the timespan to observe. For that it might be said it varied, a lot, but a lot around basically the same age window: very young. Although contemporaries often noted that an age below sixteen was not that good for a variety of reasons. Peasant women giving birth below that age rarely had surviving off-...


13

One side of the problem is covered in the answers and comments already given. The other side - I would argue the biggest side - is that women not only live longer, but that they now usually work and earn money. Marriage is no longer the only respectable profession a woman can take. So there is much less pressure on them to a) marry early, and b) marry at ...


12

So your fantasy is about about a common man obtaining a title by marrying into a noble family? To my best knowledge the chances of this happening are slim. What is more likely is that the woman (or at least her children) will lose her title. As cases in points in recent history, consider Alfonso Díez Carabantes (the third husband of the Duchess of Alba and ...


11

After getting clues from the accepted answer above and found this other article. It maybe be useful to someone in the future MARRIAGE BONDS AND ALLEGATIONS - POINTS TO REMEMBER • Marriage bonds and allegations only exist for couples who applied to marry by licence. They do not exist for couples who married by banns. • The marriage allegation was ...


11

It was Norway. This is the story of Harald Fairhair in the late 9th century. Harald inherited one of a number of petty kingdoms west of modern Oslo. He proposed marriage to Gyda, the daughter of King Erik of a nearby kingdom of similar size. She wanted to be queen of Norway, so she refused to marry anyone who was not king of "all" Norway. She had created a ...


11

If you count Spain as part of Western Europe, then divorce was available at least to the Muslim population from the time of the Arab conquest in the 8th century until the Catholic reconquest in the 15th century. The same is true for the Jews, both in Islamic and Catholic Europe. As I mentioned in a comment to another answer, Fredrick II legalised civil ...


10

Until 1603, Irish couples could divorce for several reasons (sterility/infertility, impotency, homosexuality, abortion, infanticide, flagrant infidelity, insanity, abandonment...). Marriage was a private contract and up to the council of Trent (1563) clandestine marriages that could be dissolved easily were common. For instance, Irish couples were not ...


9

(I assume this question relates to the traditions of Great Britain and its former colonies such as the Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.) The woman does not "drop" her maiden name. If she is a Christian or a Jew, she assumes the name of her husband because in both beliefs the act of marriage joins the two inseparably as one. By ancient ...


9

Yes, indeed! During the Penal Law period of the 18th Century, there were laws in Northern Ireland designed to "protect Protestants against the pollution of Popery" (Akenson, 111) You might find this history of marriage in the west interesting. Marriage started as a pact between families, and was a purely secular matter following the Roman patriarchal ...


9

It was made illegal in Republican Ireland in 1937. Probably as a reaction to England broadening its laws on the subject.


9

If we are only counting modern history - rather than ancient Greece or the like - the Netherlands was the first country to recognize same-sex marriage in 2001, and their head of state is (and was) Queen Beatrix.


9

The idea of romantic love has a long history, but whether or not actual family formation is affected by that idea is a different question. A historiographical tradition in the 1970s tied the rise of romantic love in practice to the rise of modern capitalism and individualism. However, historians now largely believe that romantic love influenced many medieval ...


9

It's hard to prove a negative (outside of math, of course), but let me try to show why this would be extremely rare (and mostly exist in legends). The institution of marriage exists to protect the woman and to seal a family alliance. Neither reason would apply to a marriage of a high-born and a low-born: There is no alliance to seal (there is nothing the ...


9

what was required for non-Catholics to marry in Francoist Spain? Imagine, for example, that two Protestants want to marry in Spain in 1950 Short answer for 1950: they needed an affidavit expressing that they were not born catholic or the testimony of a protestant priest recognized as such by the Spanish State. Long answer for the whole of the Francoist ...


8

prohibition of polygamy most certainly doesn't correlate with democracy. Polygamy was prohibited in the entire Christendom throughout Dark Ages and absolute monarchies - not exactly the best circumstances for Democracy. Same with USSR and Nazi Germany. On the other side of the matter, modern western democracies and USA are fairly obviously evolving into ...


8

Iceland prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir had joined in a civil union with Jónína Leósdóttir in 2002, and had converted the union to the marriage in 2010 as soon as that became legal in Iceland. It is logical to suppose she supported gay marriage at least since 2002 though of course she wasn't the prime minister then. Spain's Zapatero declared he ...


8

First, I am assuming that you are giving your fantasy world a "Western European" flavour. Working from this assumption there are still a myriad details that vary from nation to nation within Western Europe, but in general the two houses are allied, but the offspring only marshall the coat of arms; the husband and wife are each only entitled to their own arms....


8

During the preparation of the royal wedding between The Royal Heiress to the Swedish throne and a commoner, people talked about heraldry and the possibility that a new royal house will emerge. But this changed when The Royal Household afirmed that the commener Westling will change and add his surname into The Royal Family name.


8

Such marriages were usually part of wider treaties, including a dowry, non-aggression and/or mutual support agreements. The king didn't just get a queen, he got a chunk of land, possible inheritance rights, not to mention preventing his enemies making the same pact with his wife's family. Foreign princesses were mistreated - Catherine of Aragon after Prince ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible