Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3043
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Smail , Daniel Lord.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Démanteler le patrimoine. Les femmes et les biens dans la Marseille médiévale
  • Source: Annales : Histoire, Sciences Sociales 52, 2 (mars-avril 1997): Pages 343 - 368.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Daughters Dowries Economics Family Husbands Inheritance Law Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France Property Wills Women's Rights
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 14
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Will; Marseille, Archives municipales de la ville.Marseille, Archives départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône.
  • Illustrations:
  • Table: Six tables and one chart. Figure One, a chart of the family of Blacier de Montoliu, circa 1350. Table One Contributors to dowries (most categories are family members) along with the number and percentage of individuals in each category and the percentage of the dowries their contributons represented, 1337-1362. Table Two Inheritance of daughters and sons according to fathers' wills, 1337-1362. Table Three Inheritance of daughters, sons, and husbands according to wills left by women. Table Four Numbers of daughters and sons mentioned in fathers' wills, 1337-1362. Table Five Rural and urban properties by sex of owner from four mid-fourteenth century registers. Table Six Legacies for wives in husbands' wills that repaid dowries, 1337-1362.
  • Abstract: The dowry in medieval Europe has long been understood to be one of the key provisions in a set of statutory regulations that conspired to disinherit daughters and preserve patrimonies within male lines of descent. Evidence from mid-fourteenth-century Marseille reveals that despite these legal norms, daughters at all social levels frequently enjoyed considerable rights in parental estates, although the coming of the plague appears to have generated new disinheriting strategies among the patriciate. Since much inherited wealth flowed through women's hands, familial properties were typically reformed in every generation outof the husband's and the wife's estates. Since husbands typically managed the joint estate, the principle that the wife was by virtue of her dowry the first creditor of an insolvent husband could even be used as a legal shelter in case of bankruptcy. Here, the dowry was serving as a tool not of disinheritance but rather of preservation. [Reproduced by permission of Annales Histoire Sciences Sociales].
  • Author's Affiliation: Fordham University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1997.
  • Language: French
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03952649
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: