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

Edited by Jacqueline Murray

© 2001

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.

Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 524 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.8in x 1.4in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000156

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2001

    From: $41.61

    Regular Price: $48.95

    ISBN 9781551111049

Quick Overview

"A great virtue of this reader is the length of its selections—not just snippets, but long enough portions for students to get a real sense of how the text works." - Ruth Mazo Karras, University of Minnesota

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

Edited by Jacqueline Murray

© 2001

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.

Product Details

  • Series: Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 524 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.8in x 1.4in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Love, sex, marriage, and family have been constants in the human experience, but that is not to say that these institutions have remained unchanged. This rich collection of engaging texts from the Middle Ages shows how these human relations are full of contradictions. Passions often intersect with religious ideas, secular laws, and community needs and this book reveals these complexities in a way that is illuminating and riveting. The documents range from the familiar and essential—like Dante's adulterous lovers and ecclesiastical legislation on marriage—to the unusual and fascinating—like a tale of a Viking romance or chilling court accounts of domestic violence. This collection is a welcome addition to the field of medieval social history and will surely remain indispensable in many classrooms for years to come. It is balanced, accurate and fascinating to peruse.


    Joyce E. Salisbury, Frankenthal Professor of History, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

    Murray has provided us with a wealth of material, from across Europe and across the entire Middle Ages. We see not only the church's prescriptions for family life, but life as medieval people experienced it: children playing, couples falling in love, husbands and wives quarreling, people grieving for loved ones. A great virtue of this reader is the length of its selections—not just snippets, but long enough portions for students to get a real sense of how the text works.


    Ruth Mazo Karras, Professor of History, University of Minnesota
  • Author Information

    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).

  • Table of contents

    I. Foundations and Influences     

    1. The Biblical Foundations
    2. The Germanic Foundations
    3. Theological Foundations: Augustine, On the Good of Marriage
    4. Theological Foundations: Augustine on Marriage as a Social Institution
    5. Legal Foundations: The Burgundian Laws
    6. Legal Foundations: Anglo-Saxon Laws
    7. Pastoral Foundations: The Penitential of Theodore

    II. Love and its Dangers    

    8. A Biblical Celebration of Love
    9. The Biblical Regulation of Sexual Behavior
    10. The Marriage of Thorstein and Spes
    11. Charlemagne's Daughter and Her Lover
    12. The Ideology of Courtly Love
    13. Troubadour Love Poetry
    14. Goliardic Love Songs
    15. Vernacular Love Songs
    16. Adulterous Love: The Story of Equitan
    17. A Debate about Love and Marriage: The Owl and the Nightingale
    18. Abelard and Heloise
    19. Paolo and Francesca
    20. Edward III's Love for the Countess of Salisbury (1342)
    21. The Paston Family on Love and Marriage
    22. Prosecutions and Punishments for Sexual Misconduct

    III. Marriage and the Church   

    23. The Theology of Marriage: Peter Lombard's Sentences
    24. A Woman's View of Marriage: Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias
    25. The Good of Marriage: Etienne de Fourgères
    26. Ecclesiastical Legislation: the Fourth Lateran Council (1215)
    27. Episcopal Legislation: the Statutes of Salisbury (1217-19)
    28. The Parish Priest and the Rules of Marriage
    29. How to Dissolve a Marriage
    30. Marriage Litigation in Fifteenth-Century London

    IV. Marriage Ceremonies, Rituals, and Customs    

    31. Pope Nicholas's Letter to a Bulgarian King (866)
    32. The Legend of St. Nicholas and the Three Dowries
    33. A Bad Courtship and a Good: Ruodlieb
    34. The Liturgy of Marriage
    35. Popular Customs and Marriage Celebrations

    V. Husbands and Wives    

    36. An Early Christian View of Husbands and Wives
    37. Tertullian: To His Wife (ca. 200)
    38. An Anti-matrimonial Diatribe
    39. A Grieving Husband: The Death of Einhard's Emma 
    40. The Marriage of Guibert of Nogent's Parents
    41. Cautionary Tales
    42. A Sermon on the Ideal Husband
    43. A Popular View of Marriage: The Vision of Piers the Plowman
    44. Saint Bernardino on Marriage
    45. The Fifteen Joys of Marriage

    VI. Marriage and Family   

    46. Marriage Among the Franks
    47. Counting Families in the Ninth Century 
    48. Spiritual Marriages
    49. A Rebellious Wife
    50. An Unhappy Marriage: Godelive of Ghistelle
    51. A Lord Asserts his Rights: Gerald of Aurillac
    52. Duplicitous Wives and Illegitimate Heirs
    53. The Legitimation of Children
    54. Feudal Marriage
    55. A Fraudulent Marriage Agreement (1280)
    56. Marriage Cases in Village Courts
    57. Housing and Households
    58. Domestic Violence

    VII. Childbirth   

    59. Gregory the Great on Sex, Childbirth, and Purity
    60. A Medical Discussion of Childbirth
    61. Description of a Birthing Chamber
    62. Prayers for Women in Childbirth
    63. Rejoicing for a Safe Delivery

    VIII. Parents and Children   

    64. Biblical Advice on Parent/Child Relations
    65. Jerome on the Education of Girls
    66. Frankish Parents' Grief
    67. An Unhappy Childhood: Guibert of Nogent
    68. The Ideals of Childhood
    69. Intrafamilial Conflict
    70. Parents, Children, and Child-rearing
    71. A Happy Childhood: Jean Froissart
    72. The Instruction of Children
    73. The Care of Orphans

    IX. Beyond Christendom    

    74. Laws Regulating Contact Between Jews, Muslims, and Christians
    75. Marriage Cases in the Jewish Community
    76. A Jewish Merchant's Letter
    77. A Jewish Father's Advice: Eleazar of Mainz
    78. Islamic Teaching on Marriage and the Family
    79. Christian Misunderstanding of Islamic Teachings on Marriage
    80. The Cathar's Rejection of Marriage

    Index of Topics   

    Sources   

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