Medieval Monogamy

@article{Betzig1995MedievalM,
  title={Medieval Monogamy},
  author={Laura Betzig},
  journal={Journal of Family History},
  year={1995},
  volume={20},
  pages={181 - 216}
}
  • L. Betzig
  • Published 1 October 1995
  • History
  • Journal of Family History
Was polygyny stopped by the Christian Church? Probably not. In the Middle Ages, as in other ages, powerful men married monogamously, but mated polygynously. Both laymen and church men tended to have sexual access to as many women as they could afford. But first-born sons were allowed a legitimate wife, on whom they got legitimate heirs. And latter-born sons were often celibate—that is, ineligible to sire heirs, though not chaste—that is, ineligible to sire bastards. Church men, like laymen… 

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