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The Challenge: Controlling Marriage Formation In Medieval Sweden

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Chapter Summary

Some scholars have noted the astonishing degree of acceptance of the Churchs definition of marriage among the lay aristocracy and ordinary people in medieval Europe. This chapter discusses in what forms the canonical norms were accepted, and how the ecclesiastical perceptions of legitimacy of children and contracting marriage started to modify the Swedish system. It argues that the introduction of the notion of a formless and private marriage contracted by words alone was an alien legal transplant in a formal and ritualistic legal culture like medieval Sweden. Free consent was among the issues relating to marriage formation the popes dealt with in their letters to the Scandinavian archbishops. Mutual consent was a necessary factor of marriage formation, and if a woman was forced to marry, there was no true marriage unless she consented and cohabited with her husband afterwards.

Keywords: canonical norms; contracting marriage; free consent; marriage formation; medieval Europe; medieval Sweden; mutual consent; private marriage

10.1163/ej.9789004173293.i-437.20
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004173293.i-437.20
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