Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Incest and the Medieval Imagination$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Elizabeth Archibald

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112099

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112099.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 May 2020

Medieval Incest Law—Theory and Practice

Medieval Incest Law—Theory and Practice

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Medieval Incest Law—Theory and Practice
Source:
Incest and the Medieval Imagination
Author(s):

Elizabeth Archibald (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112099.003.0002

This chapter presents an overview of the development of medieval incest law, in relation to biblical teaching and Greco-Roman law. It raises questions about the rationale for a system of taboos that had become so complex by the early 13th century that to avoid hardship the number of prohibited degrees of relationship were drastically reduced by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Various modern hypotheses about the medieval taboo are reviewed. Fear of inbreeding and deformity is rarely mentioned. What justified the inclusion of such distant relatives, and why the ban on in-laws and ‘spiritual incest’? How seriously did medieval people take these laws? Among the aristocracy, at least, they seem often to have been honoured in the breach. The practice of selling of dispensations to marry within the prohibited degrees was condemned by Luther, among others.

Keywords:   medieval incest law, taboos, inbreeding, deformity, spiritual incest, Fourth Lateran Council, dispensations, prohibited degrees, Luther

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .