Polygyny, in Europe? The grand narrative of Western history is the development of monogamous marriage, culminating in the central Middle Ages. Other kinds of relationships have often, perhaps too lightly, been dismissed as ‘just lust’. In this book, Jan Rüdiger investigates the plurality of man-woman relationships in medieval Scandinavia and analyses the social and political ‘uses’ of elite polygyny.
By way of comparison the findings from the North are then applied to England, France, and the Iberian Peninsula, in order to propose a new overall image of elite polygyny, including marriage, in the medieval West.
Jan Rüdiger, Dr.phil. (Basel 1998), Habil. (Berlin 2007), is Professor of General Medieval History at the University of Basel. He has published a monograph on 12th-century Occitania and numerous articles on linguistic and political cultures in medieval Europe.
All interested in the history of gender relations and sexual relationships, especially in the Middle Ages. Students/scholars of medieval Norse and Scandinavian history.