Friday, June 20, 2008

Marriage and Family in Middle Ages

I have been reading about role of marriage in the passing of property to the next generation and how marriage became what we have today. If you are fortunate enough to be able to trace your lineage into the Middle Ages, you will begin to see places where the husband and wife were closely related. So close a relationship between spouses would be considered improper to many today. I found a book that discusses the gradual changes at length and the following is quoted from it. I'm not responsible for the typos. I fixed some of them.

Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages
By Georges Duby

Translated by Jane Dunnett

Published 1996

Humans are no different than any other species. We have an impulse to procreate. We are not driven solely by baser instincts. We want to pass on our culture as well as our genetic material. A marriage is a joining of two lines of heritage and so a successful merger of two families should produce offspring of similar makeup, in theory. This cultural heritage is often what initially bonds man and woman together. Our heritage that has been passed down to us by our parents is the pattern we draw on for the rules of our relationship with the opposite sex. It is this heritage that we draw on in order to figure out what the role of man and wife are, where the power is divided up. It is how we decide who is to do what in our relationship. Most of the time, a man and woman marry within a community that shares the same or similar heritage as we do. And so, we don't feel that it is necessary to discuss how our marriage is going to work. For many of us, we wake up one day and say to ourself, "this is not how I thought it would work."

Due to the nature of human birth, we usually do not find it necessary to establish who the mother of a child, since pregnancy and birth make it plain to see. Fathers on the other hand need a way to establish who their offspring are. This is where the importance of marriage comes into play. Many of the rules, prohibitions and customs that control marriage have been established in order to ensure successful breeding of the next generation

Let us therefore set side by side the two framing systems, which, because of their aims, were almost entirely alien to one another. There was the lay model, which in this ruralized society, where each unit was rooted in landed inheritance, had the role of preserving through the generations the continuity of a mode of production. In contrast, there was an ecclesiatical model, whose timeless aim was to check the impulses of the flesh, that is to say, repress evil, by containing sexual excess within strict boundaries.

Maintaining the status of a 'house' from one generation to the next was a necessity, which determined the entire structure of the first of these two models. In different degrees according to various regions, and ethnic groups, Roman and barbarian i formed the raw ingredients; at any rate this model formed the basis for the notion of inheritance. It's role was to ensure that a stock of possessions, reputation and honor were handed down intact, and to guarantee the lineage a position, a 'rank', which was at least equal to that enjoyed by previous generations. Consequently all those responsible for the future of the family, that is to say, all the males who had some claim to the inheritance, and at their head, the senior member, whom they advised and who spoke in their name, believed it was their first right and duty to marry off their children, and to marry them off well. This meant giving away their daughters and negotiating as best they could their daughters reproductive potential and the advantages with which they were supposed to endow their offspring. It also meant helping a son to find a wife- to find her elsewhere in another family, to bring her into his family, where she would cease to depend on her father, brothers and uncles, and would instead be subject to her husband, whilst condemned always to remain a stranger, always a little under suspicion of secret betrayal, in the bed to which she had gained admittance. and where she was to fulfill her primary function, that of providing children to the group of men who received, dominated and kept watch over her.

In these children were united what she brought with her and what the received from their father--the hope of two lines of succession and reverence for these two ancestral lines which provided the names given to each child, according to rules, which I am attempting to reformulate. The positions which they would hold in the world, the opportunities to which they in turn, would have to make a good marriage, depended on the clauses of the contract entered into when their parents were married. We can according understand the importance of the agreement and see that it represented the culmination of long and tortuous negotiations, in which all of the members of each household were involved. It constituted a long-term and provident strategy, which explains why the arrangement between the tw families and the exchange of promises often took place far ahead of the time when the marriage was consummated. It was a strategy which required the greatest circumspection since it aimed to avoid, by the means of subsequent compensations, the risk of impoverishment which, in an agrarian society, lineages ran as soon as they became prolific.

There were, it seems, three main attitudes which guided the negotiations which proceeded any marriage. There was a propensity, whether conscious or unconscious, towards endogamy, towards choosing wives from amongst cousins, descendants of the same ancestors, heirs of the same inheritance, with whom the matrimonial tie thus tended to bring together it's scattered fragments rather than dividing them further. Prudence operated, so that only moderate numbers of offspring were produced, and this limited the number of married couples, thereby keeping a sizeable proportion of offspring unmarried. Finally, there was cunning in the subterfuge employed in the bargaining, care taken to obtain guarantees to protect personal interests and concern on both sides to balance the concessions agreed by the anticipated advantages.

At the end of these interminable discussions, there were public words and gestures, a ceremonial which was itself was split in two.First there was the marriage, in other words a ritual of words and faith and pledge, verbal promises, a show of disinvestment and of assumption of possession, the handing over of pledges, the ring, the deposit, the coins, and finally the contract-which in the provinces where the practice of writing had not entirely disappeared- custom dictated must be drawn up. Then there was the wedding, which was the ritual of the couple setting up house. Bread and wine were shared by the bride and bridegroom and the married couples first meal inevitable a great banquet; the bridal procession led the newly wed woman to her new home. That same night, in the darkened room, the deflowering took place in the bed; and then in the morning, there was the present expressing the gratitude and hope of the man whose dream it was already to have embarked upon his legitimate paternal role by impregnating his wife.

All these rituals were obviously surrounded by a code of ethics and I would like to concentrate on three of it's principles.

This society was not strictly monogamous. To be sure, it allowed only one wife at a time, but it did not deny the husband, or rather his family group, the power to break the marriage at will, to dismiss his wife so that he could seek another, and to this end start the hunt for a good match again. All the marriage vows, (the sponsalicium, the dotalicium) had among other objectives that of protecting the material interests of the repudiated wife and her lineage.

The area of male sexuality, and by that I mean lawful sexuality, was not at all limited by marriage. Accepted morality, the morality which each individual pretended to respect, did indeed require that the husband content himself with his wife, but did not prevent him from having other women either before marriage, during what in the twelth century, was clled 'youth', or after marriage, during his widowhood. There is much evidence that men made extensive and very conspicuous use of mistresses and prostitution, and enjoyed amorous adventures with the servants, as also of the exaltation of male prowess in the value system

On the other hand, in girls what was exalted, and what a whole series of related restrictions carefully sought to guarantee, was virginity, and in wives what was praised was constancy. The natural depravity of women, those perverse creatures, would be liable, if there was not vigilance, to introduce into kinship with the heirs to the ancestral fortune intruders, born of another blood, whose seed had been secretly sown - those same illegitimate children whom the married men of the lineage blithly and generously placed outside the house or within the ranks of their servants.

The morality which I have outlined applied to the family. It was private.The penalties which ensured it was observed were also private: vengeance for an abduction fell within the province of the girl's male relatives, whilst revenge for an adulterous act was the responsibility of the husband and his blood relatives. But since people were at liberty to appeal to Assemblies of the Peace and to the prince, abduction and adultery were therefore provided for in secular law codes.

We know far more about the model proposed by the Church, as there are a large number of documents and studies on this subject. It should suffice to highlight five of it's features.

The whole ascetic, monastic side of the Christian Church, everything that led it to disdain and reject the world, as well as everything that, in the cultural baggage which it inherited from Rome, related it's thinking to the philosophies of antiquity, led the church to condemn marriage. It was criticized as a blemish, a source of disturbance for the soul, an obstacle to contemplation on the basis of scriptural arguments and references, most of which were already collected in St. Jerome's Adversus Jovinianum.

However, since humans unfortunately do not reproduce like bees but have to copulate in order to reproduce, and since amongst the traps laid by the devil there is none worse than the excessive use of the sexual organs, the Church accepted marriage as a lesser evil. It adopted an instituted marriage - all the more easily since it was accepted, adopted and established by Jesus - but on a condition that it should serve to control sexuality, to fight effectively against fornication.

to this end, the Church first offered, a moral code for a good married life. The intention was the attempt to purge marriage of it's two major corruptions, namely the filth inherant in carnal pleasure and the frenzy of the impassioned soul, and that wild Tristan- like love which the Penitentials sought to stifle when they banished love potions and other bewitching drinks. When thery were married, the couple's one thought was to be procreatiion. If they were to abandon themselves and to take pleasure in their union, they at once would be 'defiled', for in the words of Gregory the Great, 'they are transgressing the law of marriage'. Even if they were cold as stone, they still had to purify themselves if they wished to receive the sacrament afterwards. They had to abstain from all carnal intercourse during holy periods of God would take vengeance. Gregory of Tours warned his audience, that monsters, cripples and sickly children were conceived on Sunday nights.

As regards the social practice of marriage, the Church set out to correct lay customs in a number of matters. In so doing, the Church visibly shifted the boundaries between the lawful and the unlawful, increasing freedom in some areas and limiting it in others. The clergy therefore sought to tone down the act by which a marriage became sacrimentally complete, since their loathing of the flesh prompted them to shift the emphasis to commitment, to agreement (consensus), to that spiritual exchange in the name of which, according to Saint Paul, marriage could become the symbol of the union between Christ and the Church. They were thus forced down a path which enabled the individual to be freed from family constraints, and made the plighting of troth a matter for personal choice; it was a path which also led, since it was the asserted that the social positions of individuals should in no way impede effective relationships, to legitimizing the marriage of the unfree and liberating the m fromall seigneurial contol. Conversely, the Church tightened it's control when, in it's attempt to impose absolute monogamy, it condemned repudiation and remarriage and exalted the ordo of widows, as when it sought to establish a disproportuanately broad definition of incest and introduced further restrictions on marriages between blood relatives and those related by marriage.

Finally, the priests gradually played a greater role in the marriage ceremonial, making the rituals sacred, especially the wedding rituals, and surrounding the marriage bed with set phrases and gestures which were designed to ward off the devil and keep the couple in chastity.

In the very long history of the progressive and incomplete integration of the ecclesiastical into the secular model, the ninth century stands out as a decisive period. This partly because the revival of writing lifts the veil which until then almost entirely conceals social facts from the historian. But it is mainly because that period in the area of Europe which was under Carolingian domination, experienced a sort of cooperation, centered on the annointed king, between civil power and ecclesiatical authority, which for a while, combined their efforts to construct, for the use of the Christian people, a social morality less remote from the injunctions of scripture. This task involved above all reflection on concrete exemplary cases which occurred in the matrimonial affairs of the Empire's highest aristocracy and brought into play what we would refer to as politics
The specific task of the oratores, that is to say bishops, was to study the mystery of marriage (nuptials mysterium) so as better to guide their flock. The applied the wisdom (sopientia) with which their consecration had imbued them to the conceptual development of patristic material. In so doing they set out to construct a theory of marriage for purely pastoral and practical purposes. At the time the worke requiered codification in that wider domain where, under the gaze of the soveraign who presided over the general sessions of court and council, the secular and the sacred were more closely intertwined than ever before. Indeed by that time marriage was regarded as coming under bth the authority (auctoritus) of the prelates and the power (potestas) of the princes, and the system of sanctions of which the two associated authorities - as Hincmar says with the reference to the abduction of Judith - were the driving forces in the hierarchy.

Thus, from this alliance, there originated, almost complete, that normative construct, which as I have mentioned above, must not be considered in isolation, but which none the less is worth looking at quite closely during the period when it suddenly emerged from the Dark Ages. It consisted of precepts and exhortations to conduct, thereby offering a model of Christian life for married couples (conjugati) whom the conception of the ordines, or orders, relagated to the lowest level of ternary hierarchy of perfection. This hierarchy first exalted virginity and then continence, but it at least offered salvation to married couples whilst it denied to others, to fornicators who were cast out into darkness because they rejected the exclusive constrainsts of a conjugal sexuality which was indisoluable and chaste. To these admonitions were added rules to maintain the social order, to prevent and allay the discord, which could arise out of the institution of marriage.

It is obvious that when marriage was taken out of the secular into the ecclesiastical, it's purpose shifted and therefore the rules changed to match the change in purpose..

Friday, June 6, 2008

William Gellone's son Bernard

William Gellone had a son named Bernard. He was commononly referred to as Bernard of Septimania. I descend from him as well as my previously mentioned lines.

I am not sure if he was a man you would be proud to claim. He held a position at court. His wife Duoda was the one I found interesting. During the Middle Ages, it was difficult for a woman to have any power. She evidently persevered and found a way. She was able to write and read in fluent Latin.

Bernard was chancellor to Charlemagne's son Louis when he succeeded his father. He was also godfather to Louis' son Charles. He lost favor with Louis, because he either held his troups back in an important battle or was late arriving. To prove his loyalty, he sent his son William to Louis' as a hostage to guarantee his loyalty. This must have been a terrible loss for Duoda.

In addition to losing this elder son, Bernard took a son from her who was so young he had not been baptised and sent him to another of his estates. She satisfied her maternal instincts by writing a series of books for William and his younger brother which contained everything she had learned from her education, from scripture and from life. In effect, she determined to have a part in their raising, despite the political machinations of the men of her world. She included word games and number games and simplified Biblical stories as a means of making her writing appeal to young minds.
Here is a link to read part of her work

Another can be found here.
When I began researching my family’s genealogy, I had no idea that I would ever find any information beyond a few generations. I figured that the memory of my grandparents would be about as far as I could go into the past. I have been amazed at how far I have gone.

I began thinking I might have some ancestors who came through Ellis Island and all the romance that goes with that, which we are taught about in school. Maybe I might have some ancestors who came here from Europe during either WWI or WWII.

My ancestors have all been here far longer than that. Most of them were here before the Revolutionary War and some were here in the 1600’s.

Once you get back that far, every generation you find brings more amazement. I began finding many family names, which were noble family names and these led to royal families.

I became interested in the Merovingian lineages, which were written about in the Holy Blood Holy Grail book and the resultant movie The Da Vinci Code. I don’t think that I was alone in this interest, given the many documentaries on the History Channel and The National Geographic Channel.

What was surprising to me was being directly descended from the families mentioned in these books, movies and shows. My husband is also descended from them and this piqued my curiosity further. If there is any significance to these lineages, then my children have double, triple, quadruple and more descents and could be very affected by this.

I do not as yet know where this research will lead me, but at present, I do not believe that there are descendants of Jesus Christ. However, I do believe there is some higher plan that has been in effect for many millennia.

I will jump right into the midst of things, and relate everything I can find out about William/Guillaum Gellone. The first place I came across his name, it meant nothing to me. I have found that I descend from him, which changes my perspective.

William Gellone was the son of a man named Thierry/Theodoric/Machir/Makir and some sources also name him Natroni.

If no source can agree on Theirry’s name, I do not know if it is possible to accurately show his parentage.

Some sources say Thierry was the son of Claribert (Herbert) I Count of Leon and his wife Bertrada.

Claribert was the son of Thierry III and Clotilda. Thierry III descended directly from Merovec, from which the term Merovingian derives. His wife Clotilde descended from Merovec’s brother, Sigimaerus I on her father’s side. They were in effect, of the same bloodline. If this is the correct parentage for Thierry, who was the father of William of Gellone, it is traceable back through a Jewish ancestor.

Merovec and Sigimaerus had a great grandmother who was Jewish. Supposedly she descends from a son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, named Joseph. I am not buying into that theory, but it is possible that she was Jewish. She may have even been a niece of Jesus, through one of his brothers.

The other opinion is that Machir was sent to the Narbonne area of France in order to rid the ruler of Bagdad of an element of descension and make an ally of France. Arthur J. Zuckerman, in his book, identifies Machir with Natronai and says he was the rightful Exilarch in Babylon, but had been deposed. Thus sending him to Narbonne and setting him up in his own domain, would have pascified him. Some others such as Athol Bloomer, say that while Machir was an Exilarch, he was not Natronai.

Regardless of who Thierry/Machir descended from, his wife Auda was the daughter of Charles Martel and aunt of Charlemagne. Thierry married into a very powerful family.
What makes William Gellon so interesting? Firstly it is the things which have been written about him.

He is referred to as Saint William of Gellon and his day is traditionally observed on May 28. He was born in Northern France in 755, and died 812 or 814. He is known as Guilhem, Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, and the Marquis au court nez. He was the second count of Toulouse from 790 until his replacement in 811.

He is the hero of the Chanson de Guillaume, an early chanson de geste, and of several later sequels, which were categorized by thirteenth-century poets as the geste of Garin de Monglane. Another early product of oral traditions about William is a Latin Vita ("Biography"), written before the 11th century, according to Jean Mabillon, or during the 11th century according to the Bollandist Godfrey Henschen.

As a close relative he was a trusted courtier and it is said that after being made count of Toulouse, Charlemage gave his son Louis into his care. It was common during the middle ages for noble families to send their sons to other trusted families for training in the art of war and chivalry. William must have been well trusted to have the care of the young prince.

In 793 Hisham I and his Muslim army of 100,000 invaded Asturius and Languedoc, penetrating as far as Narbonne. William defeated them, but was later defeated himself at river Orbieux, at Villedaigne
He founded a monastery at Gellone in 804,

which is now called Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. It is near Lodève in the diocese of Maguelonne, and dedicated it to Saint Benedict of Aniane, whose monastery was nearby. He retired as a monk there in 806 where he died on the 28th of May 812 (or 814). His feast is on that date.
He gave o the monastery a piece of the true cross,which he had received from Charlemagne. Charlemagne reportedly wept at his death. According to legend, the bells of Orange rang by themselves when he died.

There are 24 chansons-de-geste written about him. One of them tells about his father and he is referred to as Aymeri of Narbonne in it. Yet another name for William’s parent.
He was by all evidence, a remarkable man.

Now,to return to my personal interest in him. William Gellone and his wife Kunigunda, had a daughter named Cunnigundis Des Francs. She married Bernard Roy De Italie. They in turn had a son named Pepin II who with his wife had a daughter named Cunigunde des Francs. She married Wido Des Senlis and also Berengar de Bayeaux. Sources differ as to who her daughter Poppa was fathered by. Poppa married Rolf Ragnvaldsson nd had Adele (Gerloc) of Normandy who married William Guillaume I Duke of Aquitaine

Their daughter Adela married Hugh Capet, King of France Rolf Ragnvaldsson was Duke of Normandy

I have several lines of descent through these Capetian kings and the Norman Dukes.

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

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via FoxyTunes I found a review of a book written by a Jewish man named Hyam Maccaby, who has the opinion that The Apostle Paul was 1. Not Jewish 2. Created Christianity 3. Used elements of older Pagan religions. He states weird things like the eucharist was magically transformed into Christ's Blood and flesh and that Jewish people of the time would have abhored this.

Of course the Jews would have found that idea repugnant. The Last Supper was celebrated at the time of Passover. It was celebrated in memory of their salvation from having their first born children die in Egypt. Jesus wanted his disciples to celebrate this in his memory instead. He did not tell them that the wine became his blood. He told them that it was to symbolize his blood. He did not tell them that the unleavened bread from Passover was his flesh, but that it was to symbolize his flesh.
I do not believe these men who were handpicked by Jesus would have been too simple minded to understand symbolism. They had already been familiar with the idea of symbolism in the celebration of Passover as any Jew of that time would have been.

This sort of shoots Mr. Maccaby's point out of the water about using elements of older religions in the Communion. I have no doubt that the Catholic Church may have perpetrated the magic transformation of the eucharist to their Pagan converts. They have a long history of just putting a new face on Pagan religions instead of trying to stop their practice. Mr. Maccaby's problem is in the assumpton that all Christians are Catholic in ideaology. He blames anti-Semitism on Paul and attributes the idea that the Jews were responsible for the crucifixtion to Paul.

From my earlier post, you will find that I believe people frequently have their minds made up on a particular subject and then try to find validation of their opinions.
He picks and chooses scripture to back up his opinions an leaves the ones which contradict him.

The Bible refers to Paul as Saul of Tarsus. Saul is a Hebrew name. Why would a mother name her son a name from a persecuted people? She would have to hate him pretty bad to mark him as a Jew if he were not one. If he were Roman and wanted to persecute and execute Christians, he wouldn't have to pretend to be Jewish to do it. Here's another good point. He was born to the tribe of Benjamin. If you know your Jewish history, you know that periodically, the Jews had to travel to the city of their birth tribe in order to be counted. A sort of early census. If he falsely claimed to be a Benjamite, there would have been records to refer to. The Jews and the Romans both would have loved to find such a blatant lie.

The anti-Semitism was not taught by Paul, but was perpetrated by the Catholic Church.
The early Christians would not have tried to convert Jews if they despised them. There were many Jews that believed Christianity was only for Jews and was not to be shared with the Greeks and Gentiles. The New Testament chastised people for clling themselves followers of this one and that one, but should all be followers of Christ.

You might consider it a good read, but be sure you check up on the references. With the internet, it isn't all that difficult to even check out the historical aspects.

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Up For Interpretation

Have you ever noticed on any subject that has supposed experts, just how much is left to interpretation? Let's say I have been rained on many times. If I spend any amount of time pondering this phenomena, I could call myself an expert. I could tell people that my educated opinion, based on scientific study and the data I have collected, rain is created by moisture falling from the air. Now here is the interesting thing; someone else could easily state that in their opinion, rain materialized from miraculous supernatural phenomena in mid-air.

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I was intrigued by Dan Brown's book about the Grail Blood Line and with his Angel's and Demons book about the Illuminati. I did not end up believing that these secret societies are truly in existence to protect the descendants of Jesus Christ.

As I stated before, you cannot convince someone they are wrong if they are close minded; if they have already made up their minds.

Where does this leave us? I came to the conclusion that it didn't matter if there was any credence to the Grail Blood Line. What matters is that there have been people for 2000 years who did believe it and believed it gave them divine right to do as they pleased. Some of them probably didn't believe it, they just figured out that if people around them believed it, they would give them the power to do as they pleased instead of opposing them.

I will be using this blog for the purpose of sharing my own personal descendancy from the royal houses of Europe and the royal houses in the Middle East that tie into them. When possible, I will post biographies on the individuals.

I will also use this blog to post theories on the Merovingian Bloodline and the different conspiracy theories I run across.

Remember, it is not important whether you or I believe it to be true; it is only important that there are those who do.

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