To nominate someone else as a Quality Contributor, message the mods. Was Prima Nocta an actual thing in European history? I was watching Braveheart I know the other day and the scene with that saying came up and I was just wondering if it was a actual legal right of feudal lords in Europe. From the searching I myself have done it seems to be a myth that sprang up in the Victorian age. I wrote about this in the feudalism AMA a few months ago.
How do you use i. Click To See The Answer! Prima nocta is the semi-historical legal right of a monarch to have sex with any female subject, particularly on her wedding night. While there are many references to the custom throughout the centuries, scholars since the s have questioned whether such a law ever truly existed or was practiced, with many believing it was simply a trope used to make rulers seem more barbaric. It it possible that prima nocta may have been real, and because its victims had no or low social status, the instances were never recorded.
The Rules, in Brief
Droit du seigneur [a] 'lord's right' , also known as jus primae noctis [b] 'right of the first night' , and prima nocta , was a supposed legal right in medieval Europe, allowing feudal lords to have sexual relations with subordinate women, in particular, on their wedding nights. Historians David A. Walker and Hector McKechnie wrote that the "right" might have existed in medieval Europe,   but other historians have concluded that it is a myth, and that all references to it are from later periods. The term is often used synonymously with jus primae noctis ,  Latin for "right of the first night". In the Epic of Gilgamesh , Gilgamesh is described as having practiced a similar custom: "He is king, he does whatever he wants Herodotus mentions a similar custom among the Adyrmachidae in ancient Libya : "They are also the only tribe with whom the custom obtains of bringing all women about to become brides before the king, that he may choose such as are agreeable to him. When the plebeians of the Etruscan city of Volsinii rebelled against the aristocrats in BC, "They took their wives for themselves and placed the daughters of the nobles under the jus primae noctis , while all their former masters on whom they could lay hands were tortured to death. The medieval marriage fine or merchet has sometimes been interpreted as a payment for the droit du seigneur to be waived.
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