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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: October ::
Troilus & Cressida
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1720  Friday, 7 October 2005

[1] 	From: 	Robin Hamilton <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 15:04:34 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

[2] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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 >
	Date: 	Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 15:15:34 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

[3] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 06 Oct 2005 14:05:40 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

[4] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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 >
	Date: 	Friday, 7 Oct 2005 01:07:21 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robin Hamilton <
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Date: 		Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 15:04:34 +0100
Subject: 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

John W. Kennedy <
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 >>Also was this action considered to be a civil marriage,
 >>
 >No such concept yet existed.

However, the concept of a de praesenti marriage did, I think, exist at 
the time -- much of the action of +The Duchess of Malfi+ turns on this.

Such a marriage, to be valid, had to be witnessed, although there was no 
need for a clergyman to be present.

I believe there was also a difference between Scottish and English law 
at the time, and the precise legal status of a de praesenti marriage was 
dubious.

Robin Hamilton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Thursday, 6 Oct 2005 15:15:34 +0100
Subject: 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

John W. Kennedy wrote:

 >Ben Alexander wrote:
 >
 >Also was this action considered to be a civil marriage,
 >
 >
 >No such concept yet existed.

On the contrary - marriage was a civil arrangement over which the church 
tried to exert control from the time of Alexander III in the twelfth 
century.  But they had to accept that customary forms (as in "As You 
Like It" - 'I take thee Rosalind for wife') such as sponsalia per verba 
de futuro (betrothals which required consummation) and sponsalia per 
verba de presenti were valid marriages.  Until the Council of Trent, of 
course, but its writ didn't run to England, so they continued to be 
valid until they were abolished somewhat retrospectively in 1843 by a 
court ruling that they had never existed!

John Briggs

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date: 		Thursday, 06 Oct 2005 14:05:40 -0400
Subject: 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

 > it was not a marriage at all since a marriage would require
 >some kind of official recognition if it is not publicly announced.

I confess total ignorance of the matrimonial law of Troy, but the 
English law of the early 17th Century is less murky.  Typically, David 
Basch got it wrong.

A marriage could come into existence if two persons eligible to marry 
(i.e., of sufficient age, not related to each other in a prohibited 
degree, not already married to someone else) either celebrate a marriage 
in accordance with the rites of the Church or privately declare that 
they are married.  The latter, which is erroneously referred to as 
"common law marriage," took place if the two parties a declared to each 
other that they are married (per verba de present) or agreed to be 
married in the future and then had sexual intercourse (per verba de 
futuro cum copulo).

Thus, Troilus and Cressida were not married because they had not 
declared an intention to marry before they screwed, not because they 
failed to have a public ceremony.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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 >
Date: 		Friday, 7 Oct 2005 01:07:21 +0100
Subject: 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1705 Troilus & Cressida

John W. Kennedy wrote:

 >Ben Alexander wrote:
 >
 >Also was this action considered to be a civil marriage
 >
 >No such concept yet existed.

On the contrary - marriage was a civil arrangement over which the church 
tried to exert more control from the time of Alexander III in the 
twelfth century.  But they were forced to accept that the customary 
forms (as in "As You Like It" - 'I take thee Rosalind for wife') such as 
sponsalia per verba de futuro (betrothals requiring consummation) and 
sponsalia per verba de presenti were valid marriages.  Until the Council 
of Trent, of course, but its writ didn't run to England, so they 
continued to be valid until they were abolished somewhat retrospectively 
in 1843 by a court ruling that they had never existed!

John Briggs

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