[LMB] age differences

Beatrice Otter beatrice_otter at zoho.com
Fri Dec 10 21:18:36 GMT 2021


---- On Fri, 10 Dec 2021 12:57:04 -0800 Lois Aleta Fundis <mailto:loisaletafundis at gmail.com> wrote ----



One thing I've learned from reading hisstory -- and not just historical 
fiction -- is that a lot of things our era finds squicky were not a 
problem, or not much of one, for people in other generations and other 
cultures. 
 
A couple of months ago I read a biography about the Empress Matilda -- 
daughter of Henry i of Engliand, granddaughter of Saint Margaret of 
Scotland, and mother of  King Henry II (and thus mother-in-law of Eleanor 
of Aquitaine)*, among her other claims to fame -- who was sent to Germany 
at age 8l, I think it was, to marry the Holy Roman Emperor at the time, who 
was considerably older (30? I forget now).  The biographer did not believe 
the marriage was connusmated, but such marriages among royalty was not 
uncommon in those days. Those days being the 12th Century. 
 




Beatrice Otter:

Key words being "among royalty." When large inheritances (both monetary and political) were at stake, sure, you get stuff like that. (I am reminded of what's-his-face from The Sound of Music saying "We have to keep all that lovely money in the family.")



But among ordinary folk, large age gaps (and marriages where one or both party was an adolescent) were far rarer. Sure, there were times when the average age at first marriage got really low, especially for women, but in most eras in most places the majority of people got married (for the first time, anyway) in their twenties. Why? Combination of economics (you have to have the resources to support a family, which takes time to acquire) and not being stupid (women who have kids in their teenage years are much more likely to die in childbirth and have sickly kids, which is a problem if producing more kids to work the land is part of the point of a marriage.)



Beatrice Otter


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