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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages

People have engaged with concepts of love and marriage since the beginning of history, and these ideas continue to be relevant, and even controversial, in contemporary society.

Medieval marriage
Medieval marriage

This course will examine concepts of love and marriage from Chaucer to Henry VIII, investigating the diverse perspectives within medieval societies from the aristocracy to the peasant class.

Focusing on western Europe from approximately 1100-1500, each week will examine a single theme – such as chivalric romance, marital disputes or divorce. You will examine sources ranging from traditional historical material, such as chronicles and court records, to evidence from other disciplines, including music, art, literature and film.

The course will discuss medieval depictions of love, both in the ‘traditional’ form of the courtly romance and the illicit form of love magic. We will also address the role of the church and social class in both creating and dissolving marriages in the Middle Ages. You will have the opportunity to put your knowledge to use, judging real marriage cases from medieval ecclesiastical courts. The course will also highlight the differences and similarities between the medieval and modern Western mind-set regarding love and marriage in medieval Europe.


Date:  Tuesday evenings, starting 8 October 2013
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Duration: 12 meetings


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