Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 3b.82-84
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[3b.82] CONCERNING DOWRY.

[3b.83] By a profound counsel it should be decreed that the sacrament of marriage has been commended to us through wise men. For when God formed woman from the side of the first man, he thus marvelously prefigured the identity of the marriage bond and those who had been fictively shaped as two were joined together in one body.

[3b.84] I, P. completing a marital relationship, taking M. as a wife and by an institution of the church granting myself to her as husband, wish it to by know to all by the present page, what I endow to her to have in dowry. For it is right for her to enjoy nuptial payments, who will sustain the burden of generation in the sufferings of childbirth.1 Thus I grant to her as dowry the village which is located near Gurk,2 with fisheries and other things. So that the transaction of my donation shall remain perpetually firm and undisturbed, I establish B. and C. as warrantors in good covenant. Nor should it be omitted that the aforesaid village owes to the lord king once a year the service of one horse, to be returned to the lord or lady of the village after its labor is completed. But if the king had claimed or retained one half or some other part <of the service>, the lord of the village, until it be restored, should not render service of a horse.


1 The sufferings of the childbearing woman, established at Genesis 3.16, was a commonly used standard for comparisons of pain in the Old Testament (Ps 47.7, Isai. 13.8, Ier. 6.24, 13.21, 22.23, 49.24, 50.43, Mich 4.9; cf. also I Par. 4.9 and Iob 15.35). The general idea that suffering may be converted into joy (Psalm 29.12, Ier. 31.13, Esth. 9.22, 13.17, 16.21, Lam. 5.15, Bar. 4.32, Iac. 4.9) is specifically applied to the childbearing woman in Joh. 16.21, where the joyous birth of a boy compensates for her sufferings (cf. also Tob 12.3 and Luc 1.44).

2 This geographic location (iuxta Gurcam) is a later addition to the original French charter. This charter employs formulas wholly unlike the extant two Carinthian charters of dowry: MHDC 1.96-7 no. 60 (Krassnitz, 1136) and 2.84-7 no. 636 (Kalsberg, 1260).

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
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