just some random notes that i want to keep track of — and that i thought might interest some of you guys out there — but that i haven’t, or am not planning to, work into a full post — not just now anyhoo. enjoy!
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the law of wihtred from the 690s:

“The Law of Wihtred is an early English legal text attributed to the Kentish king Wihtred (died 725). It is believed to date to the final decade of the 7th century and is the last of three Kentish legal texts…. It is devoted primarily to offences within and against the church, as well as church rights and theft.”

from The Anglo-Saxons from the Migration Period to the Eighth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective [pg. 216]:

“Marriage was redefined, as a consequence of the influence of the Church, in the laws of Wihtred; four chapters (Wi. 3-6) condemn illicit unions — namely unconsecrated unions, bigamous unions or unions within the forbidden degrees.”

so here we have a secular, anglo-saxon (jutish!) law from the late 600s banning cousin marriage (should be out to second cousins according to canon law at this point in time). this was in kent. this was also just at the beginning of the era when mating practices were loosened in england — right after the anglo-saxon-jutes converted to christianity. who knows how well … or for how long … the law of wihtred was enforced.
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from The development of the family and marriage in Europe [pg. 144]:

“Much later this [the church’s cousin marriage ban] was reduced to the second degree [i.e. first cousins] for Indians of South American origin in 1537, for Blacks in 1897, and then for the world at large in 1917.”

the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church (gotta love the full title!) regularly offered concessions on the whole cousin marriage thing for new converts: they did so for the anglo-saxons/other germanic tribes, and again for the baltic populations. not surprising that they should also do so for native americans and africans.

i don’t know if the 1537 exemption applied to mexican/central american populations as well or just to south american indians. that’s something i need to find out.
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previously: east anglia, kent and manorialism

(note: comments do not require an email. men of kent.)

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