Marriage in the Middle Ages Essay

1816 Words Mar 27th, 2012 8 Pages
I. Marriage in the Middle Ages A. Marriage and women’s rights in the medieval society B. Thesis: Arrangement of marriages, abuse and adultery, divorce and desertion
II. Arrangement of Marriages
A. Age requirements
1. Muslim
2. Christianity
B. Betrothals
1. Elite
2. Peasants
III. Adultery A. Upper elite nobility 1. Priests and sex a. Peasants b. Concubines 2. Kings a. Servants
IV. Abuse to wives
A. Physical violence
1. Lower class
2. Nobility
a. Abduction/imprisonment of wives
B. Repercussions for husbands versus wives
V. Divorce A. Religion
1. Christianity
2. Muslim 3. Judaism
B. Desertion 1. Repercussions a. Wife b. Family
VI. Conclusion A. Catholic marriages
…show more content…
Priests were just as guilty, “Some priests had concubines, and many had wives, despite the canonical requirement of priestly celibacy” (Hollister 207). The hierarchy in the Middle Ages made peasant women more susceptible for being mistresses and concubines for priests and men of nobility because they were often taken care of financially. Kings and members of royalty kept young, pretty unwed women as servants in their homes. This was done so the men could have sex with any woman in the home as he wished. “’Noble’ men in most ‘civilized’ societies have had exclusive sexual access to more then one woman in their own households; and they have had privileged sexual access to women in other men’s households” (Betzig). Domestic violence in the Middle Ages was not unusual, “…peasant marriage in medieval England as a partnership, still concedes that occasional violence was acceptable and expected in marriage” (qtd. Butler). Due to the fact that adultery was so common, this would be one cause for domestic abuse in medieval marriages. Women of nobility were controlled by their husbands while lower class women were more equal partners in their households. Abuse to women was not only limited to physical violence but mental abuse, which could be just as devastating. One example of this abuse is described in the marriage of a noblewoman, Dhuoda, “Her husband, Bernard of Septimania who was a cousin of the emperor Charlemagne, was keeping her a virtual

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