Resources Marriage in Premodern Europe: Italy and Beyond Connect Now
Marriage in Premodern Europe: Italy and Beyond

The articles in this volume provide an overview of the issues and complexities that informed marriage in the premodern West. They provide a series of interdisciplinary and multicultural analyses of an institution that was fundamental across societies and cultures, but manifested in diverse practices and beliefs. Focusing, in particular, on the Italian peninsula, the articles move outward to include the distant worlds of England and Scotland. Studies of endogamy and exogamy reveal how complex marriage strategies functioned, often in contrast to their intended goals. The articles move from the highest reaches of society, royalty and papacy, to burghers and town dwellers. The richness of sources for the premodern world is explored including legal records, letters, paintings, and literature. Together the articles provide a window onto marriage as a social institution and as a lived experience, at once profoundly other yet curiously familiar.

Featuring articles by: P. Renée Baernstein, Elena Brizio, Ersie Burke, Erin J. Campbell, Mauro Carboni, Jennifer Mara DeSilva, Sally Hickson, Shennan Hutton, Reinier Leushuis, Heather Parker, Lesley Peterson, Katalin Prajda, Jamie Smith, William E. Smith III, Matteo Soranzo, and Elena Crislyn Woodacre.

“Strategic, pragmatic, or sociable, even at times affectionate, early modern elite marriages might have many goals, shapes, and consequences, not all of them intended. This interesting volume scouts and illustrates a vast and varied territory of matrimonial doctrines, rules, ideals, practices, and experiences.”
- Thomas Cohen, York University

“This fine collection features premodern interdisciplinary scholarship at its best, in service of our understanding of the marital bond, that fundamental yet ever-changing social relationship. The essays in this volume take us from the kingdom of Jerusalem to Scotland, from the poorest inhabitants of Europe to its crowned heads. Anyone interested in premodern European society will want to have this on the shelf.”
- Shannon McSheffrey, Concordia University


  • Jacqueline Murray, “Introduction: Marriage in Times of Change”

Part One: Women, Men, And Marriage

  • Elena Crislyn Woodacre, “The Queen’s Marriage: Matrimonial Politics in Premodern Europe”
  • Jennifer Mara DeSilva, “‘Personal Rituals’: The Office of Ceremonies and Papal Weddings, 1483-1521”
  • Sally Hickson, “The Compromise Bride: The Marriage of Federico II Gonzaga and Margherita Paleologa of Monferrato”
  • Elena Brizio, “‘Since she was determined to have him for her husband’: A Sienese Woman Who Chose for Herself”
  • Jamie Smith, “Keeping it Together: Women, Marriage, and the Family in Late Fourteenth-Century Genoa”
  • Shennan Hutton, “Mixed Marriages: Family Strategies Across the Noble-Burgher and Rural-Urban Divides”
  • Katalin Prajda, “Florentine Marriage Ties and Business Networks in the Kingdom of Hungary during the Reign of Sigismund of Luxemburg”
  • Ersie Burke, “Our Daughters and Our Future: Elite Greco-Venetian Marriages, 1520-1610”
  • P. Renée Baernstein, “Regional Intermarriage Among the Italian Nobility in the Sixteenth Century”
  • Heather Parker, “The Management of Marriage in Reformation-Era Scotland: The Carnegie Family”
  • Mauro Carboni, “Marriage Strategies and Oligarchy in Early Modern Bologna”

Part Two: Images and Ideologies

  • Erin J. Campbell, “Old Wives and Art in Early Modern Bologna”
  • Matteo Soranzo, “Poetry and Society in Aragonese Naples: Giovanni Pontano’s Elegies of Married Love”
  • Reinier Leushuis, “‘Col publicamento del matrimonio sgannar ciascuno’: Marriage and Betrothal in Bandello’s Novelle”
  • Lesley Peterson, “Marriage and Monumentalizing in Early Modern English Drama”
  • William E. Smith III, “Anne Wentworth’s Apocalyptic Marriages: Bigamy, Subjectivity, and Religious Conflict”

Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, 2012

Essays and Studies 27

978-0-7727-2123-5 (online)
978-0-7727-2122-8 (print)

OCUL Access:
The online edition of this title is now available to Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) member institutions on the OCUL Scholars Portal Books platform.

Ebook Sales:
Institutions outside of Ontario may purchase this title by contacting Iter

Print Sales:
A limited number of print copies are available for purchase from:

-The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies. Visit the volume page on the Centre's web site for details.

User Information
Welcome to Iter!

Log In