HSTAM 111 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Leon Battista Alberti, Lateran Council, Dowry

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Lecture Notes 13
Monday, May 8, 2017
Marriage in the high and late middle ages
- Rite of passage into adulthood
- Lavish prolonged feasting, sometimes tournament (if noble)
- Betrothal (contractual engagement) at 7
- Marriage at puberty (12 girls, 14 boys)
- Significant shift in marriage as secular act to religious event
o Clergy involved in marriage practice; occurs at church door rather than house
o Husband gives bride ring and dower
o Occurs on Sunday before mass
o Children born before marriage were retroactively legitimized
- Both individuals give consent to marriage
- Marriage increasingly regulated by secular and canon law
- New couple expected to establish own household
- Peasant marriage
o Needed access to land
o Married in late teens / early 20s
o After black death (Northern Europe)
Get married later (mid to late 20s)
Men need to acquire land via apprenticeship
Women needed to acquire dowry
o Southern Europe
Men waited to marry + complete apprenticeship (late 20s, early 30s),
whereas women married early (wanted purity in virginity)
13 year age difference
In countryside only 6-7 year age difference
- Leon Battista Alberti (d. 1472) The Family
o Marry around 25 once mature
o As mother to make list of eligible brides
o Take into consideration beauty, family, + wealth
o Dowry “take medium sized dowry that’s paid versus large dowry that isn’t
paid”
Church’s perspective on marriage
- Ambivalent
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