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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Research => Topic started by: Christine B. on July 20, 2012, 04:58 PM

Title: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Christine B. on July 20, 2012, 04:58 PM
My WIP is a fairy tale set in a made-up kingdom that has some resemblance to Medieval England but with large differences (a made-up history, religion, culture, etc.).

I know that for a large part of Medieval Europe, princes and princesses often married first cousins.

There's a plot point that I am playing with where the crown princess in my WIP needs a husband, but her two male first cousins need to be out of the question for the plot point to work. Would you buy this, in a fairy tale in a made-up place? If I just said, by law, the princess cannot marry her first cousin, period, would that be enough for you?
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Anne Marie on July 20, 2012, 05:03 PM
It's made up.  Works for me.
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Tori on July 20, 2012, 05:30 PM
I'm with Anne Marie, and I majored in medieval history and still use it as background settings for some of my books.  Go for it!  Or, should I say, "Onward!"
Aloha,
Tori :palmtree
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: rab on July 20, 2012, 06:32 PM
I agree with Tori and Anne Marie. If it's in a made-up, pseudo-medieval setting and you've established that the law says they can't marry, I'll buy it.
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Liz Straw on July 20, 2012, 06:36 PM
Your Kingdom, your law.  Besides maybe that branch of the family has bats in their belfry.  Not a good match.  Pitty the poor babies. :grin
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Kurtis on July 20, 2012, 06:43 PM
Hm. I'll play devil's advocate and say if I read that, I would think the author was imposing modern values on a historic setting -- which is common enough, and it wouldn't ruin the book for me or anything, but it wouldn't ring true. There are plenty of ways around it -- they don't like one another, their parents don't like one another, or there would be no benefit to marrying them since it wouldn't expand the kingdom, etc.
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: ruecole on July 20, 2012, 06:52 PM
I'm inclined to agree with Kurtis. There are other ways around it than to institute a law that just seems far too modern. I like the idea of making it a political disadvantage for her to marry one of them.

Hope that helps!

Rue
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Liz Straw on July 20, 2012, 06:55 PM
 :oops  I guess my answer goes against everything I argued against in another thread.  Go with the not a good match, they need a rich person or someone to expand the kingdom or someone to stop a war.

Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: MysteryRobin on July 20, 2012, 07:04 PM
Or come up with a law that makes sense in your world with good justification for it... maybe they are first cousins, but they can't marry because of some other obscure law. Maybe they are too old, or from the wrong branch of the family or walked backwards on a Tuesday. You can take them out of the running for any reason you want, really, since the point is just to get them out of the running...
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: dinalapomy101 on July 20, 2012, 07:07 PM
The current law against first cousin marriage could be based on a "big bad thing" that happened in the kingdom's history so now it is outlawed....
Title: Re: Marrying cousins in Medieval period?
Post by: Christine B. on July 20, 2012, 10:19 PM
Thank you for all the responses, on both sides of the issue!