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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book Between Betrothal and Bedding: Marriage Formation in Sweden 1200-1600 and its chapters. Many scholars focusing on medieval and early modern marriage formation in Europe have described it as a process rather than a single act. Between betrothal, consummation and cohabitation the state of the partners was intermediate and in some respects uncertain, for they were neither single nor married. Despite considerable evidence of marriage formation as a process or a series of legal acts, due to the victory of the ecclesiastical notions of contracting matrimony in the course of the Middle Ages, it was widely understood as one event or legal act. Thus, the basis of our present-day legal requirements of marriage can be found in the matrimonial doctrine of the Catholic Church as it developed in the twelfth and early thirteenth century after the Papal Revolution.

Keywords: bedding; betrothal; Catholic Church; Europe; marriage formation; matrimony; Middle Ages; Sweden



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