Two Models from Twelfth-Century France
Eminent French social historian Georges Duby idenitifies the twelfth century as a cruical turning point in the development of the institution of marriage in Western civilization. His study of medieval marriage is a worthy successor to the exploration of social attitudes begun by Philippe Aries and continued by Fernand Braudel.
During the twelfth century, Dury explains, the ideals and needs of the aristocracy clashed with those of the Church. The nobility regarded marriage as a matter of convenience and political alliance, especially when it meant the consoldation of power in a particular territory. But the Church sought to reassert its hold over the decular world by demanding strict adherence to the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage. This strong stand did much to rationalize the institution of marriage and establish guidelines for the legitimacy of heirs.
About the Author
Georges Duby (1919-1996), was a member of the Académie Française, and Professor of Medieval History at the Collège de France. Elborg Forster has translated numerous historical studies from French and German, including Louis Pasteur, Sugar and Slavery, Family and Race: The Letters and Diary of Pierre Dessalles, Planter in Martinique, 1808-1856, and Nylon and Bombs: DuPont and the March of Modern America, also available from Johns Hopkins.
"A fascinating account of medieval marriage among the aristocracy of northern France, emphasizing the main features of their marriage strategies."
"Duby presents a fascinating account of medieval marriage among the aristocracy of northern France, emphasizing the main features of their marriage strategies, the maintenance of the 'lineage,' and the making of good marriages."
"Excellent and highly readable...The translation is clear and convincing."
"Magisterial...The work adds a major chapter to Professor Duby's impressive evocation of medieval aristocratic society"
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