Tuesday, March 28, 2017
My Guest Today is Ashley York, Author of Irish Historical Romances
My guest today is author of Irish romances Ashley York. Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic.
She has an MA in History, which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author's imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.
Today she’s sharing with us some of her research on the subject of marriage from her new book, Curse of the Healer.
Marriage in Medieval Ireland, a Secular Event by Ashley York
Marriage being performed in a church is, historically speaking, a pretty recent development. It wasn't until the late Middle Ages (1300-1500) that marriage itself became one of the Seven Sacraments within the church. In Éire (Ireland) 1095, where Curse of the Healer takes place, marriages were the concern of Gaelic "secular" law. All that was required for a marriage was an agreement.
The agreement would include the all-important coibche, or bride price, agreed upon between the man responsible for the woman, usually the father, and the suitor. Any dowries would also be considered so that if the marriage was to end, the woman could not only get her dowry returned but could get part of the coibche paid for her. Her value could be a milch cow, land, or even silver.
In my upcoming release, Curse of the Healer, my hero, Diarmuid, settles the price with the cousin of my heroine, Aednat. It was handled this way because her cousin, Sean, had taken her in, or fostered her, and negotiated the price the same as her father would have if he'd been alive.
A person's worth was very important in this social order. Established by their standing within both their family and society, the position could be improved but it would be over generations rather than within a life time in most cases. Slaves had minimal value and no honour price because it was not a culture dependant on slaves. Each person's honour price was used to establish the amount they would receive for a wrong done to them. These wrongs could vary from a strike on the cheek to a wound that drew blood. This amount also helped establish the bride price.
Depending on the source, divorce was acceptable. In Hibernensis, the Irish Collection of Canon (church) Law circa 8th century, a couple could divorce only if the husband or wife joined the church and the other did not, they could then be considered divorced. In Gaelic law, if a couple decided to divorce, it could be done for a number of reasons or no reason at all. These reasons included impotence, loss of property, obesity, homosexuality, and not providing for his wife's needs, for example. Remarriage was expected and accepted so that men having several wives throughout their life was not unusual.
According to the Cáin Lánamna, a seventh century source for Irish Law, a man’s having more than one wife at a time was not unheard of. He could have his primary wife, or cétmuinter, who had the highest legal standing, as well as a lesser wife, or ben aititen, which translates as "recognized concubine" which doesn't sound very honorable a position to have. I'm thinking I would not want to be that second wife! How about you?
Ashley's new book is Curse of the Healer and she is giving away a copy of the ebook to one lucky commenter. Be sure and leave your email.
After the death of Brian Boru in 1014, a legend arose of a healer so great she could raise a man from the dead, with a power so strong it could make any warrior the next high king of Éire...and to steal it away from her, he need only possess her.
Fated to be a healer…
Aednat has spent her entire life training to be the great healer, knowing she must remain alone. When she meets Diarmuid, the intense attraction she feels toward him shakes her resolve to believe in such a legend. If she gives in to the passion he ignites in her, can she settle for being less?
Destined to be his…
Diarmuid of Clonascra is renowned for his bravery in battle. Only one thing daunts him: the prospect of taking a wife. The safest course would be to keep his distance from Aednat, the bold, headstrong healer who's far too tempting for his peace of mind. But his overking orders him to protect her from a group of craven warriors intent on kidnapping her to steal her power.