Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2006-02 > 1139299276

From: "Katheryn_Swynford" <>
Subject: Re: OT When did it become legal to marry one's sister-in-law?
Date: 7 Feb 2006 00:01:16 -0800
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In-Reply-To: <>

But that's only for Levites, not all of humanity. The intention is the
continuity of the Levitical line IIRC. It is to continue the dead
brother's religious patrimony. The children are to be raised as those
of the dead brother's rather than your own.

But it's an issue made all the more interesting by gossip that John of
Gaunt (d. 1399, son of England's Edward III) had nearly contemporaneous
adulterous sexual relations with the sisters Roet, Katherine Swynford
and Philippa Chaucer. H.A. Kelly did a nice job of explaining what a
disaster that would have been; by the 1500s in Norway a nobleman was
'smoked, roasted or burnt' to death as a result of having done exactly
that (namely, having married his dead wife's sister: I don't recall the
citation exactly but you can find it as I cited it in my FMG article on
Katherine Roet's Swynfords).

And, yes, the law was almost certainly known at the time: Katharine of
Aragon I believe noted in her response to the divorce court that the
Levitical law didn't apply to Christians.



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