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All the King’s Women : Polygyny and Politics in Europe, 900–1250

Rüdiger Jan

Rüdiger Jan, All the King’s Women : Polygyny and Politics in Europe, 900–1250, Boston – Leyde, 2020. XII + 452 p, 125 €.

ISBN : 978-90-04-43457-8.

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.



King Harald Fairhair’s Women : a Word on the Sources

Chapter 1 The Generative Aspect

Chapter 2 The Habitual Aspect

Chapter 3 The Agonistic Aspect

Chapter 4 The Expressive Aspect

Chapter 5 The Performative Aspect

Chapter 6 The Comparative View : Western Europe

Chapter 7 The Comparative View : Southern Europe

Polygyny and Europe : By Way of a Conclusion