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Sanctified Sex:

How Familial Support of the Rule of the Church Turned the Marriage Ceremony Into a Religious Rite

Byers, Suzanne Professor Anne Lester HIST 3511

SANCTIFIED 2 During the twelfth- and thirteenth-century, northern France underwent a subtle but dramatic change in its social power structure: the regulation of marriage fell under the power of the Church. This change restructured authority at the highest levels of society as evidenced by Pope Innocent III's refusal to recognize the divorce of Philip II Augustus, the King of France, from Ingeborg of Denmark. How did the Pope gain the authority to judge the validity or invalidity of Philip's marriage? For the answer, this essay will prove that the Church intended to regulate marriage for hundreds of years as we will see in historical canonical debate. Centuries of effort finally paid off: the Church successfully injected religious symbolism into the heart of the wedding ceremony, thereby changing a traditional family practice into a religious rite. The Church's claim of marital authority could not have been achieved without the active support of the parents of nuptial-bound children. A comparison of French and English case studies will show how the Church offered incentive to families to accept ecclesiastic authority by demanding de presenti consent in theory, but in practice excommunicating participants of clandestine marriage, which exemplified present consent against the wishes of the family. Lastly, this essay will examine the marriage practices of northern France through D.L. D'Avray's medieval marriage ceremonies,the romantic tales of Chrétien de Troyes, and the scholastic efforts of Georges Duby, Theodore Evergates. Briefly, we must address the unusual historical analysis of literature. In establishing the cultural practices of twelfth- and thirteenth-century northern France, it is important to recognize the influence and popularity of Chrétien de Troyes' romantic tales. Whether we consider the exemplary patience of Enide in the face of her husband Eric's demanding bravado or we admire Fenice's remarkable physical endurance under

SANCTIFIED 3 torture in the tale of "Cligés," at the least these stories offer the reader a glance at idealized behavior. Narrative rewards and punishments present a model of approval or rejection of the choices of characters. Though Fenice dearly loves Cligés, she submits to her father's will for her to marry the Emperor. She states, "I cannot understand how the one to whom my heart yields can have my body, since my father is giving me to another and I dare not oppose him."1 Consider that Fenice must dare death in order to enjoy her lover. Death, even fake death, is preferable to publically disobeying her father. Her choice of discreet disobedience so profoundly resonates with the audience of the period that de Troyes has her tortured by malicious physicians before she may join her lover. Through literature, we may more clearly see the extent of the parental voice in arranging marriages and, thus, the significance of parental support in the Church's bid for authority over the marriage process. More analysis of de Troyes' tales will follow towards the end of this essay; for now, let's return to the focus of historical canonical debate to establish the origins of and reasons for the long-suffering desire of the Church to regulate marriage. From the Christian founding fathers of Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome to the twelfth- and thirteenth-century canonical commentators Damian and Gratian, a lively scholastic debate attempted to identify the difference between sanctified and unsanctified unions. The question of central importance to this debate was what action above all others validated a marriage in the eyes of God; the ecclesiastic answer in theory, present consent, differed from the ecclesiastic answer in practice, which, in thirteenth-century northern France, strongly supported parental control over nuptial children. Innocent III could not have claimed religious authority over Philip II's marriage or annulment solely


De Troyes, 161.

SANCTIFIED 4 on the authority of his decrees at the Fourth Lateran Council; he needed widespread popular acceptance of marriage as a religious rite and a rich scholastic body of canonical debate to lend the weight of law to his authority. Ironically, the canonical arguments upon which Innocent leaned originated from a discussion of concubines. On the road to defining marriage as a spiritual rite, theologians of the second- to the fourth-centuries struggled to identify the difference between a wife and a concubine. Despite Saint Jerome's ardent wish, sex could not realistically be eliminated from the lives of non-ecclesiastics, but perhaps it could be regulated with specific guidelines, thus lessening the inherent sin of the action. Canonical discussion of wives and concubines presented the opportunity to clarify the Church's position on acceptable unions. While the rights of the two roles differed, the action of declaring a woman a wife or a concubine required the same formula: the intent of the parties. This declaration required no witnesses and no overseeing authority. The parties need only to each have the intent to be joined in a concubine-like or connubial relationship. Gratian, in his Decretum, settled the theological stalemate with a ban on bigamy; whether the man was unfaithful to his wife or concubine was of little relevance so long as he had only one or the other, not both.2 By the high middle ages, the question of the rights of a concubine disappeared along with recognition of concubines. However, the Church's overarching aim of regulating sexual unions remained and was refined though it was not until the rise of Pope Innocent III in the late twelfth-century that the true benefit of this policy became clear. By regulating marriage, the Church invested religious significance into a secular rite of passage. From

Critchlow, 498. Specifically, the wording of the Council of Toledo to which Gratian referred for his commentary on concubinage and marriage is presented as "caeterum qui non habet uxorem et pro uxore concubinum habet, a communione non repellatur, tame nut unis mulieris aut uxoris aut concubinae sit conjunctione contentus."


SANCTIFIED 5 approximately the thirteenth-century, the joining of two families through the union of offspring had to be approved by the Church. In other words, the Church effectively determined the validity of inheritance through the regulation of marriage. Not even Kings were exempt from this control and, thus, Pope Innocent III embraced the scholastic body of canonical debate to strengthen his formidable claim of authority in disputing King Philip II Augustus' purported divorce and new marriage. One predecessor upon whom Innocent relied was Pope Alexander III. Alexander deviated from earlier ecclesiastical leaders by outlining the three requirements for a valid marriage: the parties must be Christian and of age, and give present consent. Future consent was likewise weighed with heavy consideration. From the lowest serf to the King, every class of people married. Marriage was a primary rite of passage of the longest tradition; it was a means by which families joined, inheritance transferred, and a new generation was created. Alexander's, Innocent's, and Gregory's efforts to augment Papal power over secular concerns culminated in ecclesiastical regulation of marriage. Clandestine marriage, or marriage without clerical and family consent, although not banned, equated to excommunication under ecclesiastical courts. By respecting autonomous parental control over offspring and allowing secular courts to judge concerns of property after the fact, the church asserted the authority to decide who was married to whom. The Church laid out the regulations for marriage in theory and in practice and, in turn, the church decided the moment that marriage began in the eyes of God. What, exactly, is authority over marriage? From a literal perspective, no authority figure is needed for two adults to express consent to marry. According to classical Roman law, which heavily influenced early canonical legal opinions, consent was all that was

SANCTIFIED 6 required to establish a marriage.3 By the high middle ages, secular and ecclesiastical law resolved marriage disputes. Such cases involved the two families in dispute, and either lay or secular authorities passing judgment. Typically, financial arrangements such as dowry and inheritance concerns were brought before the secular courts while disputes regarding the validity or nullification of a marriage were an issue for the ecclesiastical courts. Indeed, families of the French aristocracy lobbied for ecclesiastical intervention. Consider, for example, Countess Blanche, a regent for her husband and, later, son in the northeastern county of Champagne. In the spring of 1213, Erard of Ramerupt announced an intention to marry Philippa, the youngest daughter of Henry II, "in order to claim the county as her inheritance."4 This action would have stripped Blanche's son of his inheritance. Attempting to stop the marriage, Blanche asked the church to investigate the validity of the transference of land to Thibaut III, the validity of Henry II's marriage (and therefore calling Philippa's heritage into question), and to calculate the degrees of familial separation between Philippa and Erard.5 Significant to our concern is that Blanche turned to the church to appeal against the marriage of those who held rival claims to the land she intended for her son. The Church, as a third party, was invited to resolve a secular dispute via an evaluation of the validity of Henry II's marriage; ecclesiastical judgment counterbalanced the strict social hierarchy of feudal France. Beyond dispute resolution, however, the Church obtained primary power of the marriage ceremony by gaining popular acceptance of the ceremony as a religious rite. In

Andrew Borkowski and Paul du Plessis state in Textbook on Roman Law, 3rd Edition that "A Roman civil law marriage (matrimonium iustum) had to satisfy various requirements: the parties had to be of the required age; they had to consent; they had to have conubium; and the marriage had to be free of bars and impediments," 122. 4 Evergates Aristocracy, 39. 5 Ibid.


SANCTIFIED 7 part, ecclesiastics were responding to an invitation by lay and familial authorities to inject the sacred into the formalization of marital unions. F.L. Critchlow tells us that: ...the constant watchfulness of the civil authorities to protect the sanctity of the marital pledge tended to place the functions, both of betrothal and of marriage solemnization, in the hands of the priests. So that, although civil law criterion of valid union was the simple constant of the principals, the growth of the spiritual power was such that, eventually, the marriage of a woman to a man came to mean a religious rite, without the sanctification of which by the church, validity was impaired.6 Gérard de Mailly confirmed this view. Consider the four types of marriage outlined in his sermon as recorded in manuscripts P1-P5, P7, Pr, and V1-V3: carnal, sacramental, spiritual, and eternal.7 Of the four types, only one refers to the bond formed between a man and a woman while the others serve to provide examples of idealized spiritual relationships. Indeed, de Mailly's sermon outlines the idealized characteristics of husbands and wives not under the practicably applicable heading of carnal marriage, but under the ethereal construct of spiritual marriage "between God/Christ and soul."8 De Mailly's sermon records not words spoken uniquely by one man alone, but a template sermon of the kind preached "by Franciscans and Dominicans associated with thirteenthcentury Paris...the most important centre for mass communication through model sermons.9 As De Mailly has established, this form of sermon was widely disseminated

Critchlow, 498. D'Avray, Sermons, 227. 8 De Mailly, 228. 9 D'Avray, 5. For more on this topic, see D.L. d'Avray The Preaching of the Friars: Sermons Diffused from Paris before 1300 (Oxford, 1985), passim. D'Avray writes "a main reason for choosing these preachers is that much of the preparatory work is done in this earlier volume. This previous work makes it possible to keep the present section short" (5).

7 6

SANCTIFIED 8 among travelling preachers and, therefore, should be considered a reliable cultural remnant of the period. Yet, recognition of the popularity of these sermons only leads us to the question of why families invited such intervention into the ceremony. The answer lies in the ability of canonical law to act as divine mediator. Kings might claim a divine authority to rule, but the clergy lived each day in humility before God. If God were to express His preference in a dispute, then He would more likely speak through the educated yet humble voice of one of His dedicated religious. Canonical law carried the strength of divine preference and the illusion of secular impartiality. Interestingly, however, this secular impartiality leaned heavily in favor of parental authority in disputes between defiant offspring and the wishes of their parents. The painstaking legal research of Charles Donahue, in his article "'Clandestine' Marriage in the Later Middle Ages: A Reply," evaluates English and French case studies from the fourteenth-century to the sixteenth-century. Though his research is later than the period on which this essay focuses, his findings explore a cultural trend that supports this essay's thesis in which the family is a significant, but not the ultimate, authority in determining the moment of marriage. Donahue compares the English trend of de presenti marriages with the northern French trend of de futuro marriage contracts. De presenti contracts required only the present consent of two Christian adults who desired to marry, whereas de futuro contracts reflected an arranged marriage with the promising bride and groom as young as seven years of age.10 Donahue identifies the notable decrease and eventual absence of French de presenti marriage litigation cases by the sixteenth-century as occurring through the pressure of Church litigation as well as the significant influence

While Donahue's article centers on a comparison of English and French legislative trends, the focus of this paper will remain on the findings from his analysis of French cultural and legislative trends.


SANCTIFIED 9 of parental control over offspring. The steady continuance of French de futuro marriage litigation further strengthens his findings. Herein also we find the influence of the Church with ecclesiastic excommunication of participants of de presenti marriage, a contract which, if validated, foiled the right of parents to arrange marriage for their offspring. While solidifying their claim of authority over the marriage ceremony, the Church paid careful respect to the needs of and interests of the parents of nuptial children. Ecclesiastic caution towards familial authority was not the only cause for the decrease in de presenti cases in France, but it played a significant role in the trend. With only two variations of a marriage contract, de presenti or de futuro, the number of de futuro litigation cases rose in proportion to the decrease in de presenti cases. Donahue outlines four clear-cut reasons for the decline, three of which concern this essay. 1. In some French dioceses participants in de presenti clandestine marriages could be punished by automatic excommunication... 2. In courts regularly enforced promises to marry unaccompanied by intercourse. 3. Enforcement of the marriage rules was largely a criminal matter in France...11 In other words, while the church did not ban clandestine marriage, any individual who admitted to having been married secretly found himself or herself automatically excommunicated. Therefore, clandestine marriages could not, in practice, be recognized by the law, for anyone who admitted to conducting such a marriage automatically lost the right to be recognized in court. Additionally, marriage enforcement treated as a criminal

Donahue, 155. Regarding the excommunication of clandestine marriage participants, Donahue notes a defendant's proctor's argument from a fourteenth-century Parisian register that "the defendant is not obliged to answer the allegation, because the plaintiff has admitted by his own statement that he is excommunicate," (153). Donahue then cites "See Logan, Excommunication, pp. 118-20."


SANCTIFIED 10 offence in France indicates the amount of secular and ecclesiastical support for respecting the authority of the father-figure over his family. From the fourteenth- to the sixteenthcenturies Donahue roughly tracked the de presenti / de futuro legal trend: The records, then, are consistent with, although they do not quite prove, the hypothesis that there is a long-term trend for litigation about de presenti clandestine marriages to disappear from the ecclesiastical courts. This manifested much more rapidly in the north of France and in the Low Countries than it is in England.12 Pope Alexander II acknowledged the age of future consent as seven years old; present consent required twelve years of age for women and fourteen for men. The exceptional youth of the parties involved in a de futuro contract (and the lack of de presenti disputes) both indicate powerful paternal control over offspring. Theodore Evergates writes that "most marriage agreements were reached orally between the parents of the couple..."13 In the face of an overwhelming number of French de futuro litigation cases, this statement resonates soundly. The church, while establishing the centrality of their official and moral role in the marriage ceremony, was careful to respect the existing significant power of parents over their family unit. Let us review, then, how the symbolism of medieval marriage ceremonies exemplified the relationship between sanctity and the joining of two families, the transfer of wealth, and the intent to create future heirs. D'Avray presents two ceremony transcripts in his Medieval Marriage Ceremonies in which imagery is ripe with symbols of pleasant spiritual bonds and the pain of carnal appetites. "For in carnal marriage

12 13

Ibid, 153. Evergates, Feudal, 37.

SANCTIFIED 11 virgins are corrupted, but in his marriage those who have lost their integrity are made into virgins, or virginity is imputed to them."14 Although the theoretically ideal marriage was that of Mary and Joseph's chaste union, in practice the church recognized the carnal union of married couples as a reality. D'Avray's translation and analysis of the sermon of Gerard de Mailly identifies "four kinds of marriage: carnal, sacramental, spiritual, and eternal."15 Carnal marriage is dangerous, shameful, pernicious and full of pain. Sacramental marriage requires right intention (desire to procreate), fidelity, and inseparability. Sex quickly becomes a subject portrayed with mixed messages. Consumation "is hateful and full of pain, because it is turned into pain and punishment."16 Interestingly, de Mailly uses the example of Amon's love for his sister Thamar to evidence the pain of sin: ...after the act had been consummated, it is said there that he found her hateful, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her before. For carnal desires, once they have been indulged, literally do induce a feeling of disgust, and they are very often turned into bitterness and grief.17 Yet, not all unions are so unclean. One ceremony recorded by Cf. Bernard of Clairvaux outlines the `marriage' between Christ and religious. D'Avray translates "...Christ enters and sleeps with her, when he plays and happily rejoices with her on that flower-strewn

Nam in coniugio carnali uirgines corrumpuntur, | sed in suis nupitiis corrupte uirgines efficiuntur, quantum ad reputationem. "Literally: `with respect to reputation.' D'Avray, Sermons, 105. 15 Ibid, 227. 16 Ibid, 253. 17 ...opera consummato, dicitur ibi (2 Reg. 13:15) quia eam exosam habuit, ita ut maius esset odium quo cam oderat amore quo eam ante dilexerat. Ibid.


SANCTIFIED 12 couch of conscience, with the inward embraces which one should pray for and desire."18 Such sexualized language joined with the image of Christ resonates oddly to the modern ear, yet we must recall the intent in utilizing this imagery. D'Avray states "Sexual partnership is not enough to symbolize the mystery of Christ and the Church," but the imagery doesn't hurt the effort to conjure the concept of a union.19 The Dominicans and Franciscans preaching these sermons modeled their language on a conjugal act widely practiced and openly acknowledged by members of all strata of society. It may be reasonable to assume that such language served a two-fold purpose of conveying the church's message and focusing the attention of the listeners with vividly implied meaning. Let's expand upon the symbolism of the marriage ceremony with an introduction of popular literature. Romances, specifically, added to this analysis must be preceded with a caveat: literature is fiction. Yet, literature reflects values, practices, and attitudes of a culture in a specific time and place. The challenge for this analysis lies in separating fact of the time from fiction of the art. Some assistance in this endeavor is lent to us by d'Avray's Medieval Marriage Sermons: Gerard de Mailly lists the qualities of an ideal husband. They correspond rather well to similar lists in the romances of Chrétien de Troyes. I am not suggesting that the preacher copied from de Troyes: merely that the image

Postea intrat Christus et dormit cum ea quando cum ea in illo florido conscientie lectulo sub internis amplexibus uenerandis ac desiderandis ludit et feliciter iocundatur (ibid, 114). Cf. Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones super Cantica Canticorum, 14.5, in Sancti Bernardi Opera, I ed. J. Leclercq et al. (Rome, 1957), 79. 19 Ibid, 178.


SANCTIFIED 13 in the sermon might have called up associations in the minds of his public.20 The ecclesiastical ideal of a husband's characteristics, as reflected in Gerard de Mailly's much imitated marriage sermon, harmonizes with de Troyes' romantic ideal; when we consider the wifely ideal we come upon a similar finding. De Troyes' portrayal of ideal female behavior can be deciphered by analyzing narrative rewards and punishments meted out to model wives by their heroic husbands. Of particular interest to this essay is Chrétien de Troyes' version of the popular Romantic tale "Erec and Enide." The wedding ceremony of Eric and Enide, properly sanctified by the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed with consummation. "The love between the two of them made the maiden more bold....Before she arose again, she had lost the name of maiden; in the morning she was a new lady."21 Enide may be forgiven for her momentary boldness in expressing sexual desire on her wedding night, but the same expression of desire by Enide as a maiden would, in contrast, be unacceptable. Indeed, even after Enide gained the status of lawful wife, she was not socially permitted to take an assertive role. When she boldly informs Eric of whispers in court which accuse him of having become cuckolded by his love for Enide, she feels intense shame and sorrow. Eric, the hero, reacts with an aggressive plan to immediately put the rumors to rest while Enide, the ideal lady, weeps in solitude "very sad and distraught; she accused and criticized herself for her ill-advised words..." In a fit of despair, she states "Why was I so bold as to dare speak such madness?"22 It is the role of the husband to lead and protect the wife; likewise, it is the role of the wife to anticipate her husband's needs. The narrative rewards

20 21

Ibid, 2. De Troyes, 63. 22 Ibid, 69.

SANCTIFIED 14 and punishments from this interaction between Eric and Enide highlight the strict divisions of behavior permitted by men and women as well as the extraordinary power of the sacred sacrament of the marriage ceremony. Behavior which would normally be unacceptable becomes warmly welcomed when it follows the wedding ceremony. With Eric and Enide, clergy of the higher ranks, bishops and an archbishop, celebrate and validate a marriage. The clergy applied the authority of Christian religious ceremony into the heart of the practiced marriage ceremony. Yet the integration process which shifted authority from the father to the Church took centuries to accomplish. Scholastically following the shift leads us to notable medievalist Georges Duby and his study of the Counts of Guines in The Knight, The Lady, and the Priest. This groundbreaking work presented many examples of, in particular, the behavior of one line of Counts in northwestern France from the tenth- to the fourteenth-centuries. While this thesis is concerned with examples of behavior as given in that work, the essay cannot support Duby's overall thesis of the late medieval records from northern France evincing a prominence of men and absence of women as enough to conclude that historians do not have enough material to reconstruct the voices or lives of those women. Nonetheless, Duby's work must not be rejected out of turn. Writing on the spirit of reform present within the Church's response to the perceived threat of heresy growing in society, Duby writes: As marriage became more and more a matter of ethics, with emphasis gradually shifting to its spiritual aspect, it fell increasingly under the

SANCTIFIED 15 influence of the priests. When the priests forbade clandestine unions, they received the support of the heads of families."23 Clearly, as this paper has already shown the historical record points to an ecclesiastic coup of control over the marriage process with the blatant assistance of families. The Count of Guines officiated the wedding ceremony of his son, but in order for the marriage to be valid the Bishop was present. The Count sought prior approval for his son's marriage by the prelate and the archbishop, cleaned up an excommunicate order on his son (he had cheated a widow), and then agreed to a dower.24 In short, the Count requested permission for his son's marriage from several leaders of the Church before completing negotiations for the match. The rarity of submissive behavior in aristocratic males from this time period is sufficient reason to take note of the Count's cautious efforts. Here we find Duby's analysis firmly on track. In Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages, Duby again analyzes northern French culture to a largely successful degree. He writes of how the Count of Guines officiated his son's wedding ceremony; the priest does not take the lead. The role of the father in this tenth-century scenario clearly takes prominence over the role of the ecclesiastic; marriage has not yet shifted from a cultural tradition to a religious rite, though the power and influence of the Church was increasing.25 Heath Dillard, reviewing The Knight, The Lady, and the Priest writes that, If the knight eventually conceded that the priest ought to have more to say about his matrimonial commitments, newly sacramental and indissoluble

23 24

Duby, Knight, 119. Duby, Love, 18. 25 Ibid, 18-19.

SANCTIFIED 16 marriage was a small price for the knight to pay for continuing to manage his own and, often, others' matrimonial alliances much as he pleased.26 Dillard and Duby are correct in the social shift of power. Yet, there are problems with this analysis. Duby's earlier studies on society in southern France produced profound conclusions on social trends of the area; his later studies on the County of Champagne was far less comprehensive focusing on just one family and that one with an aristocratic background. Scholar Theodore Evergates detailed analysis assists the reader in deciphering helpful questions which rise in this towering work. As Evergates notes, Duby's formidable studies on social trends in southern France and narrowly focused research on one paternal line of aristocracy in northwestern France do not justify a claim of social trends in northwestern France. At issue is the lack of thoroughness in research methodology. For example, in "The Feudal Imaginary of Georges Duby," Evergates writes: Duby remarked on the notable absence of women in his sources. Medieval women, he concluded, had bee so marginalized that twentieth-century historians could not recover their lives or their voices. The Middle Ages were, in sum, "resolutely male."27 Nonetheless, as we earlier attempted an analysis of two short examples of cultural analysis with the use of the romances by Chrétien de Troyes, evidence of female voices do exist within the French high medieval record. We, as historians, have the benefit of the ultimate hindsight and, thus, we may gain from the achievements of such authoritative

26 27

Dillard, 1181. Evergates, Imaginary, 546.

SANCTIFIED 17 intellectual giants as Georges Duby and we may profit from re-evaluating the conclusions reached by such great historians. Both Theodore Evergates and Georges Duby present examples of exemplary historiography. A profound social change occurred in northern France between the eleventh- and the thirteenth-century. A growth in papal power increased ecclesiastical authority over marriage simultaneously with a social acceptance of the Church as a moral and spiritual guide enjoying the divine guidance of the Lord. "[The Church] adopted and instituted marriage...on condition that it should serve to control sexuality, to fight effectively against fornication."28 Indeed, ecclesiastic efforts aimed first to identify and clarify the sacred in marriage and second to regulate these unions. By emphasizing the spiritual nature of marriage ecclesiastics firmly shifted the subject of marriage into a subordinate position under the church's authority.29 Cultural shift occurred as religious who previously attended weddings for the purpose of recording the event for posterity, now orchestrated and blessed the wedding ceremony. Particularly with the wealthy, this new position determined which bloodlines could or, in effect could not join. The Church, therefore, influenced the future of the great fortunes of France. Between the eleventh- and thirteenth-century, marriage in northern France fell under the regulatory authority of the Church. A canonical discussion regarding the role of concubines in bigamy began in the late antique period and concluded, ultimately, in the thirteenth-century. This historical debate centered on the two primary concepts which the Church was never truly able to resolve in both theological and practical terms: the role of sex in marriage and the necessity of ecclesiastic presence in a ceremony whereby two

28 29

Duby, Love, 10. Note earlier analysis on Pierre de Reims OP 101 ceremonies.

SANCTIFIED 18 individuals express private consent. The closest form of agreement achieved by the clergy culminated in the twelfth-century with the ultimate success of the forgiving logic and even warm language of Saint Augustine and Hugh of Saint Victor. As Emma Lipton, the author of Affections of the Mind: The Politics of Sacramental Marriage in Late Medieval English Literature eloquently phrases it: By linking conjugal love to God's grace, the sacramental definition clearly identified marriage as a spiritual practice....Despite tensions between the sacramental and coital definitions of marriage, eventually, under Alexander III, consent between two legitimate parties, informed by marital affection, became the sole criterion of a fully legal and fully sacramental marriage.30 So, while Saint Jerome's relatively harsh view of marriage as a necessary institution for those who could not contain themselves, more moderate ecclesiastic opinions ultimately conquered canonical theology. The Church's willingness to embrace marriage as a sacrament, rather than viewing it as an outlet for sinful inclinations, allowed secular society to accept an ecclesiastic claim of authority over unions. In fact, secular society welcomed ecclesiastic intervention in the marriage rite; by infusing this rite of passage with spirituality, the Church validated and glorified the union of families. D.L. D'Avray's marriage ceremonies presented us with the contradictory symbolism of poisoning sexuality and spiritual magnificence while Chrétien de Troyes' romances explored the faith of secular society in the extraordinary and transformative power of the wedding ceremony. It is difficult to draw this limited evidence into the coherent narrative of an accurate historical reading; herein we must draw upon the


Lipton, 6.

SANCTIFIED 19 expertise of Georges Duby, albeit with the assistance of Theodore Evergates' critical eye. Duby's graceful and articulate narration pulls together largely accurate summations of an enormous amount of material; the contribution of his analyses to the study of the history of the marriage ceremony cannot, and should not, be underestimated. Nonetheless, perfection eludes even the greatest of minds and, with the invaluable benefit of hindsight, Theodore Evergates effectively wielded scholastic analysis to identify and clarify the weaknesses in Duby's conclusions. Evergates exemplifies historiography at its best. To borrow once again from the elegant prose of Emma Lipton: "...marriage itself [is] a fluid and contested category rather than one with a fixed meaning."31 The institution has, over the centuries, acted as "a conduit through which power relations flow, change and crystallize in hegemonic ways."32 Lipton's work analyzes the role of marriage in the English high medieval period, but her sentiment, backed by solid scholastic study, carries the weight of universal truth. Marriage, as an institution, has evolved over the centuries to reflect the balance struck between the needs of a changing society and its slower-to-respond political and religious rulers. The shift in authority from the secular to the religious in northern France in the high medieval period simply reflected the need of the family for an intermediary to challenge the hierarchy of feudal society. By sanctifying sex, the Church positioned itself to wield immense spiritual power over secular society, but the move could not have been made without the express consent and support of the very families subject to ecclesiastic rule.

Ibid, 16. Ibid. Here Lipton cites the words of Glenn Burger, who was influenced by Mikhail Bakhtin's and Homi Bhabha's "notions of `hybridity.'" This particular citation is drawn from Burger's work Chaucer's Queer Nation, 45.



SANCTIFIED 20 BIBLIOGRAPHY Berkhofer III, Robert F. "Marriage, Lordship and the `Greater Unfree' in TwelfthCentury France." Past and Present Society 173 (2001): 3-27. Bolton, Brenda. Innocent III: Studies On Papal Authority And Pastoral Care. Brookfield: Variorum, 1995. Bolton, Brenda. Mary of Oignies: A Friend to the Saints. Turnhout: Brepolis, 2006. Borkowski, Andrew and du Plessis, Paul. Textbook on Roman Law. Third Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Brundage, James. Sex, Law and Marriage in the Middle Ages. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1993. Caviness, Madeline H. "Patron or Matron? A Capetian Bride and a Vade Mecum for Her Marriage Bed." Medieval Academy of America 68 (1993): 333-362. Critchlow, F. L. "On the Forms of Betrothal and Wedding Ceremonies in the Old French `Romans d'adventure.'" Modern Philology 2 (1905): 497-537. D'Avray, D. L. Medieval Marriage Sermons: Mass Communication in a Culture Without Print. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. D'Avray, D. L. Medieval Marriage: Symbolism and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. De Troyes, Chrétien. Arthurian Romances. Trans., Intro., and Notes Kibler, William W. London: Penguin Books, 1991. Dillard, Heath. "Review of The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: The Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France by Georges Duby." The American Historical Review 91 (1986): 1180-1181. Donahue, Jr., Charles. "'Clandestine' Marriage in the Later Middle Ages: A Reply." Law and History Review 10 (1992): 315-322. Duby, Georges. The Knight, The Lady, and the Priest: The Making of Modern Marriage In Medieval France. Trans. Bray, Barbara. New York: Parthenon Books, 1983. Duby, Georges. Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages. Trans. Dunnett, Jane. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. Evergates, Theodore. The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

SANCTIFIED 21 BIBLIOGRAPHY Evergates, Theodore. "The Feudal Imaginary of Georges Duby." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 97 (1997): 641-660. BIBLIOGRAPHY Famer, Sharon. "Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives." Speculum, 61 (1986): 517-543. Finch, Andrew J. "Parental Authority and the Problem of Clandestine Marriage in the Later Middle Ages." Law and History Review 8 (1990): 189-204. Goldstone, Nancy. Four Queens. New York: Penguin Group, 2007. Lipton, Emma. Affections of the Mind: The Politics of Sacramental Marriage in Late Medieval English Literature. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007. Medieval Popular Religion 1000-1500. Ed. Shinners, John. Orchard Park: Broadview Press, 2007. Medieval Writings on Female Spirituality. Ed. Spearing, E. New York: Penguin Group, 2002. Nykrog, Per. "Two Creators of Narrative Form in Twelfth Century France: Gautier d'Arras--Chrétien de Troyes." Medieval Academy of America 48 (1973): 258-276. Ross, David. "Allegory and Romance on a Mediaeval French Marriage Casket." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 11 (1948): 112-142. Schnell, Rudiger and Shields, Andrew. "The Discourse on Marriage in the Middle Ages." Medieval Academy of America. 73 (1998): 771-786. Searle, Eleanor. "Seigneurial Control of Women's Marriage: A Rejoinder." Past and Present Society 99 (1983): 148-160. Sheehan, Michael M. Marriage, Family, and Law in Medieval Europe: Collected Studies. Ed. Farge, James. Intro. Rosenthal, Joel. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.


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