Stepmothers in Frankish legal life
in Law, laity and solidarities
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

This chapter explores the question of why crimes within families and in society at large are, and have been, laid at the door of stepmothers, whereas the slur of wickedness has never clung to stepfathers to anything like the same extent. Widowers had socially acceptable options if they wanted to maintain their households and provide care for their children, and they were able to evade the problem of giving their children a stepmother. Stepmothers are mentioned in the legal evidence in the context of two distinct areas: incest and remarriage. Ecclesiastical marriage legislation, including the establishment of the prohibited degrees, and the prohibition of incest, in conciliar decrees, capitularies and penitentials, has been very thoroughly studied for the Frankish Empire. Widow remarriage, taken for granted in the late Roman legal codes, was frowned on in public opinion, both in pagan Roman society and in the views of the Church Fathers.

Law, laity and solidarities

Essays in honour of Susan Reynolds


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 32 32 4
Full Text Views 2 2 0
PDF Downloads 1 1 0