HIST 245-Microtheme 5 - dowry. Inheritance customs made the...

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Microtheme 5 In late medieval Florence if you were widowed as a young women, the expectation was that you would remarry. Young widowed women would go back to their patriarchal family of origin. Children were the property of their paternal family; thereby staying with the deceased husband’s family. Women’s dowries were part of them for life; so if they were young and left the family of the deceased husband in order to remarry, they would also take their dowry with them. This could cause financial ruin for the family of the deceased; in addition to the ruin for the children who were left behind by their mother. For their shifting identity associations to who is their family in the wake of the death of their husband, some women were termed “cruel” mothers because of abandoning their children and causing financial strain on the deceased’s family in the repayment of a
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Unformatted text preview: dowry. Inheritance customs made the situation of these women particularly difficult because of the damage it caused on the paternal familys economic stability. Ideas about the family made these womens situations difficult because family honor was highly valued at the time. There were many conflicting ideas about women in relation to the family that tied into inheritance customs. Since women should obey and follow men and since they can not take their children with them and remain alone without harm, they had no choice but to abandon their children and remarry. On the other hand, many viewed them as not possibly being able to express as much maternal love as the paternal father because their love could not be as perfect as his because they abandon their children....
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This essay was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course HIST 245 taught by Professor Mclaughlin during the Spring '08 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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