Marriage, Motherhood and Woman in Carolingian Edifying Literature
PART 2: THE EVIDENCE FROM EDIFYING TEXTS 61
61 PART 2 : THE EVIDENCE FROM EDIFYING TEXTS I. Marriage and married women In the actual community between man and woman, brought about by marriage, partners are exspected to live together, in observance of certain rules. But since marriage as an institution does not function in the same way for the medieval Church as it functions for the laity, the rules of the secular marriage model differ from those of the religious marriage model 1• For the laity marriage has no religious character and it involves sex as an obvious element. For the nobility it is commonly seen as a settled commitment in which no personal feelings, but rather political and socio-economic advantages play a role. The first aim of an official marriage are to keep or bring together a well-defined patrimony and to produce children for continuing the blood and to have successors. There exist different types of marriage contracts and there are no objections against endogamy. A husband can dissolve the marriage when one of its purposes is not realized and look for a new wife, or father children by an other woman2 • The Church, on the other hand, theoretically knows only one lawful marriage type, viz. a monogamous and indissoluble alliance with a religious and sacramental dimension. This alliance should be voluntarily concluded between two people who are each other's equal when sexual morality is concerned. The consensus-principle is held to be much more important than the sexual union: procreation only becomes the primary goal of marriage,...
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