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Legitimagte Pagan Marriages


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I'm sure this has been covered somewhere, but I haven't been able to dig it up.

The first born son is supposed to be legitimate through an act of marriage. In history, this would have been a marriage consecrated under the eyes of a Christian god. In the mythical history of King Arthur Pendragon, there are plenty of Pagan knights running around, with first born sons (or even daughters with KAP6) who can received estates passed on from a parent. 

But how does one handle the fact that the Pagan blessings will not be Christian? I assume the children are still "legitimate." 

I'm curious about how folks handle that.

Edited by creativehum

"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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24 minutes ago, creativehum said:

........

The first born son is supposed to be legitimate through an act of marriage. In history, this would have been a marriage confiscated under the eyes of a Christian god. '......

That statement is simply not true.  The institution of marriage is much older than Christianity. 

The institution of marriage does not depend on Christianity, nor did it depend on Christianity in most of the world at any time in history.  People were married without ever hearing of christianity, or even of the Abrahamic god. 

The only reasons that it was associated with christianity in Europe from the early middle ages on, are that

(1)  Where the only folks who kept written records were christian priests, it was useful for everyone to have such a record made, because marriage is pretty much about "who gets Daddy's stuff when he dies", and

(2) The Christian church took over as much as it could from pre-existing arrangements and customs while it stamped out preexisting religions. Which had only barely started by Arthurian times, indeed even after 1000 AD there was still anti-pagan crusading in Europe.   For an example of this takeover of customs: Why is Christmas celebrated near the beginning of astronomical winter when the surrounding folklore includes  new lambs?  Hint: There was a  very widespread "pagan" solstice celebration.

 

And by the way, 'confiscated' is not the right word for you to use.  Maybe you meant to type 'conducted'.  But 'confiscate" means

appropriated by the government : forfeited

this may be a useful link for you:  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confiscated

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The "confiscated" was an autocorrect error.

As for your points 1 and 2, exactly. I'm making no claim that Christianity invented marriage. I'm asking about the fact that since the Church held the records that mattered for "who gets Daddy's stuff when he dies" I'm not sure how Pagan marriages are handled.

If anyone wants to address the issue I'm asking about, I'd love to hear more.

Edited by creativehum

"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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Recording the marriage is the function of the wedding guests' memories: 

Not only the families but also the surrounding community witness the marriage.  It's not just an excuse to throw a party.

The ceremony is conducted in such a way as to make the event memorable.  A wedding feast and the giving of gifts also make the event memorable.  "i was a guest at the marriage and i gave the pair that vase." 

It's only if the inheritance is later challenged in some outside court that wants documents, that you need to write anything down.  Or if Daddy's property is complex and affected by a wedding contract.  But if there is a complex wedding contract then the family is probably rich enough to hire  a rare literate person and record it; or before literacy, to treat it as other contracts or treaties and weave or paint symbols into / onto bark or cloth or wood; or to use the Mesopotamian solution of encasing symbols in a clay shell which you don't break until the contents of the contract are questioned.

 

 

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14 hours ago, creativehum said:

The "confiscated" was an autocorrect error.

As for your points 1 and 2, exactly. I'm making no claim that Christianity invented marriage. I'm asking about the fact that since the Church held the records that mattered for "who gets Daddy's stuff when he dies" I'm not sure how Pagan marriages are handled.

If anyone wants to address the issue I'm asking about, I'd love to hear more.

Are you talking mainly about records, or about social recognition?

As a minor point, it's worth noting that things like parish registers are quite late. There are medieval examples from the 1300s, but as formalised and uniform  systems they really get going in the early modern period. However, elite marriages would of course tend to be more heavily documented, not least because of the extensive property involved.

On the other hand, it's also worth noting that the Romans already had marriage certificates in the Republican period. For KAP, we can (if we want) imagine that this (along with other aspects of Roman culture) affected Romano-British marriage customs, property law etc. enough that elite British pagans have written records comparable to those of the Christian churches. (There was probably also a lot of convergence in how the legal system handled this stuff over the fictional history.) 

Further, KAP does kind of assume a uniform secular culture among Britons (at least in Logres). Knighting is the same for a pagan knight and a Christian knight, though the ceremonial beforehand might be different. If they're vassal knights, their manorial charters are going to look much the same regardless of their religion. So one possible answer is that there's a shared set of standards and processes for recording marriage contracts etc. among the upper classes in Logres and the surrounding 'civilised' kingdoms.

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Thanks for the reply @Uqbarian

I was asking about social recognition.

As far as I can tell, the act of marriage is supposed to determine the children born between the man and the woman as being the man's children, thus line of succession is legit. (Yes, the logic has gaping holes in it... but here we are.)

King Arthur Pendragon assumes a healthy Pagan culture living alongside the dominant Christian culture (which I'm all for!) But the Pagan culture also celebrates lust, fertility rituals, polyamorous relationships and so on. So things like marriage/first born son/legitimate line of succession and so on get somewhat tricky.

And look, I know I can come up with something. I'm simply polling how others handle it.

Thanks.

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"But Pendragon isn’t intended to be historical, just fun.
So have fun."

-- Greg Stafford

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2 hours ago, creativehum said:

polyamorous relationships

Uh... where?

As far as I can see, the pagans have their own marriage rituals and dishonor is still gained for adultery by the woman. Now if it is during Beltaine with plausible deniability then things might be different. And I would imagine that in a majority Pagan areas the situation of acknowledged bastards is better than in majority Christian Logres.

But the KAP norm is that the inheritance works the same between Pagans and Christians in Logres. It is the eldest son of your married wife. If you have more wives or mistresses, they are at best acknowledged bastards and will not be eligible to inherit unless your liege lord is feeling very generous.

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From the Church’s point of view, I think the goal was more to encourage marriage and discourage sex outside marriage, not to penalize bastards for being illegitimate or assure a line of succession.  There was a canon law rule in favor of legitimacy — i.e. if there is doubt, the child is legitimate.  Whereas, if the goal was to make sure that father’s knew their child was legitimate, you’d presumably have a more restrictive rule that would allow the ostensible father more rights to question the legitimacy of a child that they suspected.  IIRC from the time of Pope Alexander III, the Church also allowed and encouraged formal legitimization of children born out of wedlock to a couple who subsequently got married (because now they were no longer sinning).

For what it’s worth, the consequences of illegitimacy were less stark in Roman law than they were in the later medieval England whose law KAP adopts.  Although many, very possibly most, illegitimate children were born to slave women, and were slaves themselves, and I don’t imagine that the somewhat better position of free illegitimate children compared to the Middle Ages would be any comfort to those slaves at all.  (Although obviously, illegitimate sons in the Middle Ages weren’t really much worse off than younger sons.)

The presence of pagans reflects the actual C5th-C6th.  Primogeniture is drawn from much later on.  There’s going to be weirdness if one tries to imagine what realistic pagans in post-Roman Britain would have done, because you’d start with “Well, the firstborn son wouldn’t inherit everything,” (just like you would with realistic Christians in post-Roman Britain).

 

Edited by Voord 99
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10 hours ago, creativehum said:

Thanks for the reply @Uqbarian

I was asking about social recognition.

As far as I can tell, the act of marriage is supposed to determine the children born between the man and the woman as being the man's children, thus line of succession is legit. (Yes, the logic has gaping holes in it... but here we are.)

King Arthur Pendragon assumes a healthy Pagan culture living alongside the dominant Christian culture (which I'm all for!) But the Pagan culture also celebrates lust, fertility rituals, polyamorous relationships and so on. So things like marriage/first born son/legitimate line of succession and so on get somewhat tricky.

And look, I know I can come up with something. I'm simply polling how others handle it.

Thanks.

Oh! Yeah, I'd just ignore polygamy (at least in Logres, Cornwall and Northumbria). I'm not sure Celtic polygamy would work without partitive inheritance anyway, and the latter is clearly not assumed in KAP.

I can't find a link, but I remember reading a paper suggesting that polygamy was already less common among Britons in the Roman period than it was among the Gauls, and that the practice declined over time. Even if that's not historically accurate, we can easily suppose that it's true in the fictional history -- the Cymric elite assimilated to Roman customs (and the retrojected English medieval ones) enough that elite British pagans in Logres are practising monogamy, primogeniture and all the rest of it, just with slightly different rituals from their Christian comrades.

If you still want to keep polygamy as an option for pagan knights (without messing with gavelkind), one workaround you could use is to say that the custom is for a man to take one wife (whose first child inherits) and (optionally) one or more concubines (whose children don't inherit the main property, much like any subsequent children of the first wife). And for fertility rituals/bonfire nights etc.,  maybe the social expectation is that a pagan knight with property to pass on performs those rituals with his primary wife anyway. (To gloss this in the fiction, maybe fertility rituals when the elite are involved are tied into sovereignty rituals, so the knight and his wife represent Pwyll/Manawydan and Rhiannon/Epona, or something like that.)

Edited by Uqbarian
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On 3/12/2022 at 3:39 PM, Squaredeal Sten said:

That statement is simply not true.  The institution of marriage is much older than Christianity. 

The institution of marriage does not depend on Christianity, nor did it depend on Christianity in most of the world at any time in history.  People were married without ever hearing of christianity, or even of the Abrahamic god. 

The only reasons that it was associated with christianity in Europe from the early middle ages on, are that

(1)  Where the only folks who kept written records were christian priests, it was useful for everyone to have such a record made, because marriage is pretty much about "who gets Daddy's stuff when he dies", and

(2) The Christian church took over as much as it could from pre-existing arrangements and customs while it stamped out preexisting religions. Which had only barely started by Arthurian times, indeed even after 1000 AD there was still anti-pagan crusading in Europe.   For an example of this takeover of customs: Why is Christmas celebrated near the beginning of astronomical winter when the surrounding folklore includes  new lambs?  Hint: There was a  very widespread "pagan" solstice celebration.

 

And by the way, 'confiscated' is not the right word for you to use.  Maybe you meant to type 'conducted'.  But 'confiscate" means

appropriated by the government : forfeited

this may be a useful link for you:  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confiscated

 

 

 

SDS, I think what the OP is talking about is a legally binding marriage contract, duly signed under law, sealed by the Church, and consummated. Historically, Alfred I the Great DID require that all marriages in his domains be under the authority of the Christian [Catholic] Church. This was a legal and cultural power play on his part because from the moment of that edict, all inheritances and generational transfers of real estate had to be under the aegis of both the Crown and Church. Several sources state that those who didn't want to personally convert to the White Christ were required to support a church and priest in their fiefs at their own expense just to ensure that their son's inheritances would be safe.

Which isn't to say that the institution of a legally binding marriage didn't exist in any Pagan /Heathen society, of course. Every society generates some ritual and law or custom that binds a couple together for the sake of their progeny.

I also realize that we're talking about an era of myth in a roleplaying game here, but KAP is unusual because there's a lot of archeology and pre-Christian culture and verse that is included in the game, so the history is germane to the discussion.

Edited by svensson
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On 3/12/2022 at 11:55 PM, creativehum said:

But how does one handle the fact that the Pagan blessings will not be Christian? I assume the children are still "legitimate."

In the magical kingdom of king Arthur, the religious acceptance is the norm, and pagan mariage are as valid as christian ones. There is no polygamy.

In the historical middle ages, christians did not recognize pagan weddings as valid. The spouse was a concubine in the eyes of the clergy, and the child a bastard. 

On 3/13/2022 at 5:16 PM, creativehum said:

King Arthur Pendragon assumes a healthy Pagan culture living alongside the dominant Christian culture (which I'm all for!) But the Pagan culture also celebrates lust, fertility rituals, polyamorous relationships and so on. So things like marriage/first born son/legitimate line of succession and so on get somewhat tricky

As I said before, the lustful aspect of the paganism is a mistake IMO. There is no historical evidence of real "fertility rituals", and it seems to me that celtic pagans valued virginity for their maidens as much as the christians. Actually, there is no clear evidence that celtic pagans still lived in Britain in the years 500s.

I recommend to drop lustful as a pagan virtue, and use vengeful instead, to avoid the mess you are talking about.

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Well, in Greg's Pendragon - the game he created - Pagans see Lustful as a virtue and if you wish to be a pagan religious knight, then you must behave in a Lustful manner. That is, unless a GM doesn't want it. As Greg has said, many many times, Lustful doesn't have to mean slutty, and, to quote, "monogamy and non-monagamy are equally valued", though marriage is still a contract relating to property and inheritance. That's clarified a bit more in KAP6. In Greg's game, there certainly are festivals with fertility components (Samhain and Beltaine) and most non-monogamous couplings occur during these times. There might be no evidence of Celtic fertility festivals in real life (maybe), but there are in Pendragon.

I personally think it's great, and contrasts nicely with the Christian virtues. And remember, Chaste doesn't mean sexless. It means abstaining from sex if single; and practicing monogamy if married. Or trying to. Characters can fail Chaste or Lustful rolls. 

According to Ronald Sutton, we don't know jack diddly about pagan perceptions of virginity and we do know they weren't uniform across Europe. We do know that proven fertility was very sexy in the ancient world, and that virginity was a requirement to serve as priests or priestesses in a few pagan cults, but not all of them, and we certainly don't know if it was most of them. 

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On 3/14/2022 at 1:35 PM, Tizun Thane said:

I recommend to drop lustful as a pagan virtue, and use vengeful instead, to avoid the mess you are talking about.

I was thinking about this, and the problem with several of the Religious Virtues sets is that some "Virtues" oppose Chivalric Traits. Chivalry requires Energetic, Generous, Forgiving, Just, Modest, Temperate, and Valorous.

Paganism values Lustful, Energetic, Generous, Honest, and Proud. Proud and Modest oppose each other, and Energetic and Generous both Religious and Chivalric Traits. If we replace Lustful with Vengeful, then Forgiving and Vengeful oppose each other, giving Pagan knights two reasons not to be Chivalrous. And saying, "Well, my vision of a Pagan knight isn't very Chivalrous," misses the point -- there should be multiple ways a knight can be a Religious Pagan, it's not a single archetype for a single character type, in the same way you can have multiple kinds of Christian knights without all of them being Galahad.

 

EDIT: Corrected below by @Morien -- I'd misremembered the Chivalric Traits.

Edited by AlHazred

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@creativehum

I think this is a non-issue historically and can be ignored in the game, because the premise of your question is dubious for the time period. The idea that the a child's validity as an heir had something to do with their parent's complying with Christian marriage law did not come around until the 12C. The majority of Roman elites hadn't converted to Christianity until the 5C, so there was plenty of inheritance going on without church marriage having anything to do with it. A good historical book on this topic is "Royal Bastards: The Birth of Illegitimacy, 800-1230" by Sara McDougall, but you don't really need it.

How I handle it: the noble chooses their heir. Its usually the first born, but doesn't have to be, especially if there is a kid around that is not the child of the noble's spouse. (Children from different mothers is a big reason for there to be battles over inheritances... and that is great source of drama!) The fact that the noble parent controls the inheritance and dowry are how they effectively control marriages of their heir and daughters. This is both simple and historical.

(There are some deeply wrong posts on this thread about the historical church.)
 

Edited by vegas
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1 hour ago, vegas said:

 

(There are some deeply wrong posts on this thread about the historical church.)
 

Happy to be corrected if one of them was mine.  The canon law stuff was all from memory (and obviously all later medieval).

Edited by Voord 99
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@Voord, "From the Church’s point of view, I think the goal was more to encourage marriage and discourage sex outside marriage, not to penalize bastards for being illegitimate or assure a line of succession."

That is dead nuts on target.

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8 hours ago, AlHazred said:

Chivalry requires Energetic, Generous, Forgiving, Just, Modest, Temperate, and Valorous.

Forgiving is not a Chivalric Trait. Neither is Temperate.

Chivalric Traits are Energetic, Generous, Just, Merciful, Modest and Valorous.

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6 hours ago, vegas said:

@Voord, "From the Church’s point of view, I think the goal was more to encourage marriage and discourage sex outside marriage, not to penalize bastards for being illegitimate or assure a line of succession."

That is dead nuts on target.

I must admit, I’m not quite sure what “dead nuts on target” means…. 

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13 hours ago, David 2 said:

Well, in Greg's Pendragon - the game he created - Pagans see Lustful as a virtue and if you wish to be a pagan religious knight, then you must behave in a Lustful manner. That is, unless a GM doesn't want it. As Greg has said, many many times, Lustful doesn't have to mean slutty, and, to quote, "monogamy and non-monagamy are equally valued", though marriage is still a contract relating to property and inheritance. That's clarified a bit more in KAP6. In Greg's game, there certainly are festivals with fertility components (Samhain and Beltaine) and most non-monogamous couplings occur during these times. There might be no evidence of Celtic fertility festivals in real life (maybe), but there are in Pendragon.

I know. Believe me, I know. I struggle years with this concept of lustful as a virtue, as a symbol of "immanence of the Goddess", or as a symbol of the celebration of life itself. From a social perspective, I does not make sense in my eyes, for the "legal" and "social" reasons given by @creativehum

The more I think about it, the less it makes sense. I don't understand how a lustful character can value monagamy, whereas there is so many opportunities to feel "the immanence of the Godess" with other people. I don't understand how a husband can be sure the children of his wife are his, where she is encouraged by her own religion to have sex with other people.
Free sex is not a sin in this religion. It's a virtue.

Britain is still a patriarcal society, even before the Christians came. No patriarcal society allows wives to fool around, because otherwise, you don't know who the father is.

I know this won't be changed in the next edition. Chaosium wants to be faithful to Greg's vision. I still think it was a mistake.

As a houserule in my game, I will add Vengeful as a pagan virtue. I think it contrasts nicely with the Forgiving virtue of the Christians. Pagans don't turn the other cheek, and it's interesting in game.

Otherwise, I could use Indulgent. It's the "love of life" part of pagan life. As Morien said, neither are chivalric virtues. It does not change the balance of the game.

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3 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

I know. Believe me, I know. I struggle years with this concept of lustful as a virtue, as a symbol of "immanence of the Goddess", or as a symbol of the celebration of life itself. From a social perspective, I does not make sense in my eyes, for the "legal" and "social" reasons given by @creativehum

The more I think about it, the less it makes sense. I don't understand how a lustful character can value monagamy, whereas there is so many opportunities to feel "the immanence of the Godess" with other people. I don't understand how a husband can be sure the children of his wife are his, where she is encouraged by her own religion to have sex with other people.
Free sex is not a sin in this religion. It's a virtue.

[SNIPPAGE]

Otherwise, I could use Indulgent. It's the "love of life" part of pagan life. As Morien said, neither are chivalric virtues. It does not change the balance of the game.

I've known many a married couple who were randy as goats and who had their physical pleasures as often as rabbits when they could.

"Lustful" does not mean "must have sex with anyone".

How about a LUST for good food/drink. Now INDULGENT is what happens when you have no control over how much good food/drink you partake in, but the strong desire for it could fall under LUST.

I've always seen INDULGENT as being "more - give me more", not just being "I want it".

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2 hours ago, SirUkpyr said:

How about a LUST for good food/drink.

In my eyes, a lust for food is Indulgent. A lust for blood is Cruel. etc.

A lust for food, drinks or drugs falls under Indulgent.

2 hours ago, SirUkpyr said:

I've known many a married couple who were randy as goats and who had their physical pleasures as often as rabbits when they could.

"Lustful" does not mean "must have sex with anyone".

Sure, it does. If you have plenty of sex with your spouse, and only your spouse, you are still chaste. I am not making a moral statement. I am reading the rules, and all the scenarios ever published.
 

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On 3/13/2022 at 9:55 AM, creativehum said:

I'm sure this has been covered somewhere, but I haven't been able to dig it up.

The first born son is supposed to be legitimate through an act of marriage. In history, this would have been a marriage consecrated under the eyes of a Christian god. In the mythical history of King Arthur Pendragon, there are plenty of Pagan knights running around, with first born sons (or even daughters with KAP6) who can received estates passed on from a parent. 

But how does one handle the fact that the Pagan blessings will not be Christian? I assume the children are still "legitimate." 

I'm curious about how folks handle that.

I play that the matter is handled after the fashion of the Roman Pantheist State.  The  issue of legitimacy devolves from the Pater Familias.  While they may have lovers and concubines, most Pagans also have an official wife or wives.  Only wives recognized by Tribal law in a public ceremonial marriage are true wives, especially if their marriage is responsible for some measure of economic or diplomatic relations between her tribe and that of the husband, due to their noble standing within their tribes.

Note the term Tribe as it is a measure of a group who pay Tribute, and thus are due legal representation.

The Pater Familias has the sole right to determine which of the children presented to him by his wives he will recognize as his legitimate progeny.  A child the Pater Familias has in the past rejected may later be legitimized.  All others are of the Get of Bast (aka bastards).  Any bastard may be legitimized and elevated by the Pater Familias, and legitimate children may be disinherited.  The Pater Familias is of course somewhat careful about the exercise of this power, as in pagan communities it is unwise to overly offend one's wife or wives.  All a pagan Pater Familias needs to do is to petition the King's Rolls of Nobility to make his will known and recorded.   This is handled in much the same way as a Last Will and Testament.  This can of course lead to problems with intercepted mail and issues of backdating and so forth.

The pagan Pater Familias is not obliged to follow male primogeniture, but if he values the continuity of his estate as a unified holding he would be wise to do so, as matters are likely to be brought before a Christian court at a time of dispute, and they respect male primogeniture as it is what they believe the Bible demands.

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

The Pater Familias has the sole right to determine which of the children presented to him by his wives he will recognize as his legitimate progeny.

In roman Law, because the Pater Familias in roman Law was all-powerful. Pagan Britons are the less romanized of the Britons, and shoudn't use Roman Law. And, of course, are not talking about Get of Bast.

But it's nitpicking, because yes, basically, that's the way to play it in KAP. You have an official wife (1), and maybe some concubines if you fancy them. Your wife however have no right to any lover (Double Standard, alas).

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Actually, there probably would be significant penetration of Roman law in Roman Britain among “pagans.” It’s what is somewhat problematically known as “vulgar law,” which are somewhat simplified versions of Roman law with influence from local law and custom that become normal in late antiquity. From about 300, Roman law starts to be very visible where we can detect how things were working on the local level in the provinces. It’s a delayed consequence of everyone becoming Roman citizens in 212 — the only law that applied was Roman law, and if one went to court (and what happens when one goes to court is what the law actually is in the real world), one was supposed to have one’s disputes settled by the Roman law rules. Not that simple in practice (for one thing, the Roman officials deciding cases didn’t have to be trained lawyers and didn’t necessarily have more than a broad-brush understanding of the rules themselves), but the result was that versions of Roman law would probably be normal in Britain by about 400. Certainly in places like Salisbury in southern England.

On the other hand, the paterfamilias didn’t have as much power as the stereotype by the Later Roman Empire, and would not have been able to leave all his property to any one person, firstborn son or not. Not that this would have been a Christian expectation at this point. Much later on, English canon lawyers come up with very forced biblical justifications to protect primogeniture from challenge, but it’s after the fact (and they are very implausible — what Deuteronomy says is that the firstborn son gets a double-share, i.e. definitely does not get everything).

Incidentally, British tribes were never actually called “tribe” — that’s a product of translation into modern English, and while there may be a connection between Latin tribus (a kind of voting-group in the Republican assemblies, not a “tribe” as in modern English, and never applied to British “tribes” AFAIK) and Latin tributum, it seems to be indirect and probably runs the other way (tribus > the verb tribuere > tributum).

*If anyone really wants to do a Roman law version of KAP inheritance, the law of inheritance is very well-defined and the basics are easy, although the details are very complicated indeed. Essentially, the default assumption is that children inherit equally to one another, and that collectively they are entitled to a minimum of a quarter of the estate. So if you have two sons and one daughter, the minimum you could leave each is 1/12 of the estate. If no will, those three inherit jointly (as joint owners — they then decide how the estate is to be divided, or have a judge do it if they cannot agree, or they can continue as joint owners without dividing it at all). Things get more complicated if sons die and those sons have children, but those are the basics.

These are legitimate children. Illegitimate children have rights to their mother’s property, but no automatic right to their father’s.  Although their father can leave them up to the 75% that’s left over after reserving 25% for the legitimate children, so there’s that.  But, as always, one must remember that sex outside marriage was most often with slave women, and children of those unions  would have been essentially without any rights at all that their owner did not choose to give them.  This was probably also true in post-Roman Britain — there will still have been plenty of slaves, and any society with slaves is likely to feature the sexual assault of slave women as a matter of routine.

Edited by Voord 99
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19 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

In roman Law, because the Pater Familias in roman Law was all-powerful. Pagan Britons are the less romanized of the Britons, and shoudn't use Roman Law. And, of course, are not talking about Get of Bast.

But it's nitpicking, because yes, basically, that's the way to play it in KAP. You have an official wife (1), and maybe some concubines if you fancy them. Your wife however have no right to any lover (Double Standard, alas).

Perfectly fine to nitpick.  

I now see that I didn't make an assumption of my comment explicit for the readers.  I was assuming that the question as set was "How does the Arthurian Christian legal system handle pagan marriages ?"  Obviously they want to keep the pagans onside and not start wars where the Christians are seen to be unjust aggressors against autocthonous traditions as old as the land itself.  Arthur is trying to bring peace to the realm, and hopes to win pagans gently and gradually to Christianity of their own choice and volition, not by fiat or violence.

As to the idea that Pagan Britons are less romanized, well, I consider romanization to be a subtler force than that.  Consider that Romans went to great trouble to integrate local cults into the Roman system.  Aqua Sulis aka Bath was a holy Celtic spring that the Romans turned into something that suited everyone, for example.  Many roman customs were adopted by the Celts and soon became sufficiently ingrained that the next generations assumed "it has always been thus".  A Celt may think he worships Lugh the Long Handed, god of the Sun, but how is he to know that the god of his ancestor's rites have been co-opted by Sol Invictus and syncretic worship?

It is true that the Roman system of marriage was strict about monogamy, but is it something Arthur is prepared to go to war over when a pagan Briton wants to have a dozen wives?  What then does the good King do?  He explains the issue, and comes to a reasonable solution.  It is up to the pagan to designate his succession, which, while it breaks Roman monogamy (for our pagan is no roman) but transfers Pater Familias to him and allows him to designate who his heirs will be.  In the case of powerful pagan women the same can apply though as they are likely to be her children gotten of her body, there is less equivocation about inheritance. 

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