well, i’m working on filling in the blanks for mating patterns amongst the germanics (and other european populations, too). it’s just a small gap from ca. 400 a.d. to … oh … 2011. (~_^) so, this is an ongoing project — i suggest you don’t hold your breath waiting for the final product.
the problem with the germanics and all the other protestant groups in europe is that, once they’d left the catholic church, no one kept any records of cousin marriages. dr*t! the catholic church kept records because cousin marriages were verboten; but as of the 1500s, cousin marriage was generally ok with protestant groups — not always, but generally — so they didn’t bother to record them anymore. at least that’s the picture i’ve gotten from what i’ve read so far, but see below.
the other major changes to marriages laws in the protestant churches were: 1) that the clergy no longer had to remain celibate (whew!), and 2) that persons wishing to marry also had to get permission from their parents. as of the twelfth century in the catholic church, permission to marry wasn’t required from anybody — just the consent of the two individuals marrying. the germanics changed that as of the 1500s.
now, from “Reordering marriage and society in Reformation Germany” [pgs. 85-86]:
“The canonical impediment system, harshly attacked from all sides, was the first part of the indissoluble definition to be put to the scriptural test. Most early Evangelicals initially proposed basing the entire marriage impediment system on Mosaic prohibitions, particularly Leviticus 18. The practical limitations of the relevant passages, however, and the need for extensive interpretation soon became apparent. Once again, reformers were presented with an opportunity — comparable with that of their twelfth-century predecessors — that might have resulted in a radical reformation of the entire marriage legal system; the fact that it did not is just one more sign of their conservatism.
“Rather, most theologians and jurists chose to treat impediments as ‘indifferent’ matters, rejecting only those restrictions explicitly in conflict with Scripture and otherwise rely on the discretion of the pastor or secular authority involved. Like their canonical predecessors, all the reformers accepted Leviticus’s second-degree [uncle-niece, first cousins] prohibition as absolute and indispensable. Many (including Luther, Melanchthon, and Osiander) also favored maintenance of the canonical third-degree [second cousins] limitation, while others, most notably Brenz and Calvin, even proposed keeping the traditional fourth-degree [third cousins] prohibition. Similarly, on the subject of affinity [in-laws] restrictions, few Protestant leaders eliminated all traditional impediments, and none but Luther mentioned reform of ‘public honesty’ and ‘illegitimate affinity….’
“Forbidden degrees of consanguinity had in fact already returned to the fourth degree [third cousins] in the 1533 diet of the Swiss Confederation (Zurich, Bern, Basel, Schaffenhaussen, and Saint Gallen participating), with many other cities and principalities following suit. Kohler attributes the Confederation’s return to canonical consanguinity standards in 1533 to immediate Catholic political pressure, but throughout the rest of the century in Protestant Germany the unmistakable trend remained a return to the previous canonical standards. Some Protestant marriage codes, such as those of Zurich and Strasbourg, maintained the forbidden degree of consanguinity at the third [second cousins] or even second level [uncle-niece, first cousins], and eliminated affinity [in-laws] prohibitions altogether. Others, most notably Geneva and the Duchy of Wurttemberg, never deviated from the Canon law definition of either in the first place (at the urging of Calvin and Brenz, respectively). By the end of the sixteenth century, the only canonical impediments unanimously rejected by Protestant jurists and marriage codes were those of spiritual affinity [godparents] and public honesty (both simultaneously redefined by the Council of Trent and frequently dispensed in Catholic areas). Impediments of affinity [in-laws] in general were limited to the second degree [uncle-niece, first cousins-in-law] and consanguinity to the third [second cousins-in-law], with the remainder of pre-Reformation restrictions (condition, person, etc.) preserved intact.”
so, neither the germans nor the swiss really started inbreeding more immediately after the reformation. it seems that, generally, they kept on marrying beyond second cousins.
at some point those regulations were relaxed, but i don’t yet know when that happened. stay tuned!
as an aside, here’s a little note about the difficulties with the celibacy regulations before the reformation [pg. 35]:
“More sympathetic observers, usually clerics themselves, recounted the trials and tribulations of celibate life that led to such abuses. In ‘The Lamentations of seven pious but disconsolate priests whom no one can comfort’ (1521), one unhappy cleric relates his own unsuccessful attempts to conquer the sexual urge, resulting in masturbation, wet dreams, lechery (including an affair with the wife of a friend), and eventually a concubine who bears him seventeen children in twenty years. Though tolerated by his bishop (because of the ‘whore tax’) and his parishoners (‘like stableboys accustomed to dung’), the pastor himself is continuously tormented by his own conscience, regretting the moral harm done his flock almost as much as that done his own soul:
“‘Thus am I entagled: on the one hand, I cannot live without a wife; on the other, I am not permitted a wife. Thus, I am forced to live a publicly disgraceful life, to the shame of my soul and honor and to the damnation of many who have taken offense at me [i.e., who refuse to receive sacraments from his hands]. How shall I preach about chastity and promiscuity, adultery, and knavish behavior, when my whore goes to church and about the streets and my bastards sit before my eyes? How shall I read the Mass under such circumstance?'”
poor guy, but … SEVENTEEN CHILDREN?! whoa.
edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0
previously: whatever happened to european tribes? and inbreeding amongst germanic tribes and more on inbreeding in germanic tribes and what about the franks? and early medieval germans … again!
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