Marriage and family

The opening paragraph from Dave’s article ‘Marriage and family’, one of the 27 articles on the site which are available to members.

“During the Old Regime, marriage was both a religious act and a contract bound by the rules of royal law. To the Catholic Church marriage was a permanent state and a sacrament.  It was ordained by Christ and was a means of obtaining divine grace and salvation.  Overlaying the doctrines, formulas and administrative rules of the Catholic Church were the rules imposed by the French state, such as on issues of parental consent, record keeping, property and inheritance.  For the vast majority of the French population, marriage was a matter of family interest, not of personal affection (‘marriage is the tomb of love’, observed Casanova); and that family interest was decided by the husband and father.  It was he who had power over the property of the family.  It was he who had the power to discipline his wife and children, either through imprisonment or physical punishment.  And it was he, based upon an assessment of the economic and social benefits any marriage might bring to the family, who decided who his children might marry.  Within the absolute monarchy of the French state, the husband and father was the absolute monarch in his own family kingdom.”

‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is now freely available here.

27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.

#marriage #family #europe #religion