Raymund’s Daughter’s Divorce in the 9th-Century: a Woman’s Textual Role in the Breaking of an Alliance

Raymund’s Daughter’s Divorce in the 9th-Century: a Woman’s Textual Role in the Breaking of an Alliance

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Raymund’s Daughter’s Divorce in the 9th-Century: a Woman’s Textual Role in the Breaking of an Alliance

Riccardo Bof (University of Padua)

Cliohres.net: Gender and the History of Women and Femininities


This chapter will analyse an aspect of one of the divorce cases of the mid 9th century: I review its links with politics of the day and reconsider the roles given to wife and husband in the only text that deals with this case; I analyse the reasons for the girl’s anonymity with a comparison between this text and other texts by the same author, studying other mentions of women in works which have a different purpose and nature.

In questo capitolo analizzo una lettera di Incmaro di Reims, in cui l’autore descrive e discute il caso matrimoniale di Stefano e della figlia di Raimondo di Tolosa, portato davanti alla sinodo di Tusey nell’860: l’arcivescovo, valutato il pericolo di incesto potenziale per la coppia, il cui matrimonio deve ancora essere consumato, ritiene il matrimonio in questione non valido, permettendo la separazione e le seconde nozze.

In the last months of 860 Hincmar, archbishop of Reims (845-882) wrote a letter to two of the main bishops of Aquitaine, the southern part of Charles the Bald’s (840-877) kingdom: the subject of this letter was the marital case of Stephen, son of Count Hugh, and his wife, the daughter of Raymund, Count of Toulouse.

This is one of several notorious conjugal affairs of the mid 9th century: in these years the clergy, with Hincmar in the front line, are busily involved in debates and judgements concerning the marital vicissitudes of various married couples. The high number of cases, unknown in the previous century, is evidence of the momentum gained in the 9th century by transferring jurisdiction over marriage to the ecclesiastical sphere. This long-term phenomenon was enhanced by strict cooperation between Carolingian sovereigns and the clergy in their common effort to “organize life in every department according to canon law”: the principle of indissolubility of the conjugal bond and the prohibition of incest were two potentially conflicting points of church law on marriage, both being broadly accepted by priests (and laymen as well?) but it was another matter actually to have to apply them in a developing society.

Watch the video: THE DISCONNECTED MARRIAGE (July 2022).


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