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The Process: Traditional Marriage Formation In Medieval Sweden

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Chapter Summary

Medieval Swedish marriage was a process consisting of several stages in which the status of the principal parties as well as the duties and rights relating to marriage changed gradually. This chapter argues that marriage formation, as described in the Swedish medieval laws, corresponds largely with the practice of the people. The medieval laws preserved the prevailing marriage notions almost into the modern era, because the law still remained basically in touch with societal values and existing practice in a society which retained its premodern institutions up until the eighteenth century and beyond. The completion of the Swedish marriage process was expected to take some weeks or months at the very least, but in some cases the process could even take many years. All these stages and their legal significance are presented in more detail.

Keywords: marriage formation; Swedish medieval laws



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