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History of Marriage as a Form of Political Alliance

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  Quote Mira Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: History of Marriage as a Form of Political Alliance
    Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 07:49

Marriage as a form of political alliance was common throughout history.  Was marriage "politicized," where women were used as scapegoats by their male "guardians" to achieve and secure their political interests?  Or was it that women may have had great influence on policy-makers?

Any idea, anyone?

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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 08:01

Princes were just as much subject to the politicisation of marriage as princesses. (Or taking it down a few feudal steps, heirs as much as heiresses.)

I doubt that either Arthur or Henry wanted particularly to marry Catherine of Aragon, any more than she them.

 

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 08:33
I think that women in such marriages fulfilled several roles:
  • First of all, an affective guarantee that her relatives would behave friendly and honestly for the sake of her. In this regard she was a prisioner of her husband. 
  • Second, that her intra-marital influence would make the husband more favorable to her relatives. In this sense she was an "agent" of her father/brothers, being more effective where monogamy was the rule.
  • Third, that her sons (and secondarily daughters) were to be heirs maybe of both lineages, allowing possibly for an effective union of both families in a single person in some future. This is again more important in monogamic cultures.
Mostly patriarchs could use of their familes as posessions for their own plans - though obviously, due to their mortality, they had to keep some sons/daughters as heirs.


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  Quote Mira Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 10:40
Thank you, gcle2003 and Maju.  I'm trying to research the history of this practice, and I can't seem to find anything about it!


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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 13:52
I'm pretty sure Philip was quite devasted he had to come the England and marry Mary.
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 15:53
Especially the Austrian Habsburgs were notorious for their successful marriage policies, producing large number of offsprings amd marrying them off into the right places, with the result that their power grew without the usual means of war. It was so notorious that it became proverbial "Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube!" ("Others fight wars, you lucky Austria, marry!")
Looking into that might be good starting point.
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  Quote DayI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2006 at 16:09

I wrote it before and will write back with pleasure

short the marriages and campaigns of Orhan:

Quote:
Orhan Gazi became the leader of Kayi Clan after the death of Osman Gazi, in 1326. He had married to Teodora, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Yoannis Kontakuzinas XI, in 1346. His second wife was Holofira the daughter of the Byzantine Prince of Yarhisar. Holofira eloped with Orhan by leaving her marriage ceremony with the Prince of Bilecik. After she was married to Orhan Gazi she was converted to Islam and her name was changed as Nilufer Hatun. She gave birth to Murad, who had been the third sultan of the Ottomans. . He defeated Byzantine Emperor Andronicus III and conquered large parts of Asia Minor, including Nicaea and Izmit. In 1345 the Ottomans first crossed into Europe to aid Byzantine Emperor (John Cantacuzene). Orkhan married John's daughter Theodora. Orkhan crossed the Dardanelles two more times, assisting John against Stephen Duan of Serbia and gaining for the Ottomans a foothold in Europe.

this is beyazid the thunderbult:

Quote:

Bayezid was born in Edirne in 1360. His father was Murad I and his mother was Gulcicek Sultana. Bayezid had a round face, light complexion, ram nose, hazel eyes, blond hair, thick beard and large shoulders. Because of his bravery, he was called as "Yildirim"(thunderbolt). He spent his childhood with his brothers in the Bursa Palace. He was educated by the famous scholars of the time. In his youth, he was appointed as the governor of Kutahya province. Due to Sultan Murad's (Murad I) testament, he crowned in 1389 at the age of 29. He besieged Byzantine Emperor at Constantinople, then overcame the Turkish rulers in E Anatolia and defeated the army of Sigismund of Hungary at Nicopolis.In Serbia, Stefan Lazaroevic son of the King Lazar crowned king. He came to Edirne for the peace treaty and he gave his sister to Bayezid and with this marriage, Ottoman - Serbian friendship was accomplished. Unfortunately, Bayezid, was defeated in the Ankara War by Timur (the Mongolian Khan). Timur slaved him and Bayezid died in seven months twelve days. His sultanate took 13 very victorious years but ended very sadly. He wore clothes of brocade with a white loose neck and his turban was coiled and wound round a gold embroidered skf. He received a great amount of money from taxation so that the treasury became very rich. Regular pay was distributed to the soldiers for the first time during his reign.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2006 at 05:25
At the highest level of society marriage was an instution which mirrored the middling and aristocratic classes to an extent. Women were at first considered an economic asset in the early Middle Ages, taking a woman from a family to be your wife meant you had to pay the family a "morning gift" as compensation for the loss of a human resource. As the Medieval world progressed, however, the opposite became the case. Women at the higher levels were considered a liability requiring a dowry to pay for their upkeep and welfare. This trend took places in areas more in tune with trading and urbanisation.

By tying yourself to other families through marriage, it helped to resolve conflicts pre-emptively as the family connection made one think twice about attacking his rival. It was hardly a guarantee, but at times it helped.

For those at the top, marriage was often an interesting trade-off. The New Rich in medieval times, often merchants, bankers and the like, would often marry into an impoverished noble family with an illustrious lineage for the sake of gaining prestige and connection. The trade had obvious benefits to both sides, one gained access to much needed cash and the other gained the aforementioned scaling of the social ladder.]

Again, this is a largely medieval understanding of marriage, but it has relevence to other periods also.
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2006 at 08:56

Winston Churchill was famously the offspring of a noble English family and a rich American one. And arguably that helped lead to closer Anglo-American relations at a key point in history. So it wasn't only important at the royal level.

Originally posted by Paul

I'm pretty sure Philip was quite devasted he had to come to England and marry Mary.

But no-one was forcing him or  Mary to marry, any more than Henry V was forced to marry Katherine. Though I suppose Katherine dind't have much choice in the deal.

I think it's worth distinguishing between marriages between sovereigns and the marrying off of junior children to help cement alliances.

An interesting case is the complicated one of William III and Mary, which kind of backfired. Mary, Charles II's niece, was married to William in 1677 (she was 15, he 27) when Charles II was seeking to improve relations with the Netherlands. But William's mother was Mary, Charles II's sister, who was married off to William's father by Charles I in an earlier attempt at the same alliance  That was in 1641 at the beginning of the civil war when Mary was 10 and William II was 14 and his father was still Stadtholder.

(This is the Mary Stewart whose portrait is in the Rijksmuseum, or will be when it gets back to being fully open again).

Still with me?

The first marriage backfired because there was not much use being married to the daughter of a king who had just been decapitated. And the second backfired since it enabled the Dutch son-in-law (William III) to be an acceptable king for England to replace his father-in-law (James II)  in 1688.

Of course it all became academic when an even earlier marriage of Elizabeth, daughter of James I/VI and Anne of Denmark <sigh> (Elizabeth being briefly Queen of Bohemia until the 30 Years War interrupted things) to the Elector Palatine led eventually to George I of Hanover becoming King of England in 1715.

So when the Danes married their Princess Anne off to a Scotsman in 1589, little did they know that every single king and queen of England since then would be her descendant.

Not that it stopped Nelson bombarding the heck out of Copenhagen.

 

 

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  Quote DayI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2006 at 15:01

I guess i found the oldest "political marriage" so far

In the winter of 200 BC, following a siege of Taiyuan, Emperor Gao personally led a military campaign against Modu. At the battle of Baideng, he was ambushed reputedly by 300,000 elite Xiongnu cavalry. The emperor was cut off from supplies and reinforcements for seven days, only narrowly escaping capture.

After the defeat at Pingcheng, the Han emperor abandoned a military solution to the Xiongnu threat. Instead, in 198 BC, the courtier Liu Jing (Ⅵ) was despatched for negotiations. The peace settlement eventually reached between the parties included a Han princess given in marriage to the ''chanyu'' (called ''heqin'' 睿笒 or "harmonious kinship"); periodic gifts of silk, liquor and rice to the Xiongnu; equal status between the states; and the Great Wall as mutual border.

This first treaty set the pattern for relations between the Han and the Xiongnu for some sixty years. Up to 135 BC, the treaty was renewed no less than nine times, with an increase of "gifts" with each subsequent agreement. In 192 BC, Modu even asked for the hand of the widowed Empress L邦. His son and successor, the energetic Jiyu (儉粖), known as the "Laoshang ''chanyu''" (橾奻扃), continued his father's expansionist policies. Laoshang succeeded in negotiating with Emperor Wen, terms for the maintenance of a large-scale government-sponsored market system.

While much was gained by the Xiongnu, from the Chinese perspective marriage treaties were costly and ineffective. Laoshang showed that he did not take the peace treaty seriously. On one occasion his scouts penetrated to a point near Chang'an. In 166 BC he personally led 140,000 cavalry to invade Anding, reaching as far as the imperial retreat at Yong. In 158 BC, his successor sent 30,000 cavalry to attack the Shang commandery and another 30,000 to Yunzhong.


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  Quote Perseas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2006 at 19:35
Originally posted by DayI

I guess i found the oldest "political marriage" so far

In the winter of 200 BC, following a siege of Taiyuan, Emperor Gao personally led a military campaign against Modu. At the battle of Baideng, he was ambushed reputedly by 300,000 elite Xiongnu cavalry. The emperor was cut off from supplies and reinforcements for seven days, only narrowly escaping capture.

After the defeat at Pingcheng, the Han emperor abandoned a military solution to the Xiongnu threat. Instead, in 198 BC, the courtier Liu Jing (Ⅵ) was despatched for negotiations. The peace settlement eventually reached between the parties included a Han princess given in marriage to the ''chanyu'' (called ''heqin'' 睿笒 or "harmonious kinship"); periodic gifts of silk, liquor and rice to the Xiongnu; equal status between the states; and the Great Wall as mutual border.

This first treaty set the pattern for relations between the Han and the Xiongnu for some sixty years. Up to 135 BC, the treaty was renewed no less than nine times, with an increase of "gifts" with each subsequent agreement. In 192 BC, Modu even asked for the hand of the widowed Empress L邦. His son and successor, the energetic Jiyu (儉粖), known as the "Laoshang ''chanyu''" (橾奻扃), continued his father's expansionist policies. Laoshang succeeded in negotiating with Emperor Wen, terms for the maintenance of a large-scale government-sponsored market system.

While much was gained by the Xiongnu, from the Chinese perspective marriage treaties were costly and ineffective. Laoshang showed that he did not take the peace treaty seriously. On one occasion his scouts penetrated to a point near Chang'an. In 166 BC he personally led 140,000 cavalry to invade Anding, reaching as far as the imperial retreat at Yong. In 158 BC, his successor sent 30,000 cavalry to attack the Shang commandery and another 30,000 to Yunzhong.


There were much earlier incidents than that. Although not the most ancient, i think the case of Philip II of Macedon is the most interesting.

 As Satyrus has said about him " Philip always made his marriages war by war. Every time that he won a war Philip followed it up by including a political marriage as part of the peace settlement, thereby extending and refining a policy which was common also by earlier Macedonian rulers, but to a lesser extent.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Philip II of Macedon...total 7 marriages and only one...out of love. (certainly not Olympias!!)

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  Quote oslonor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2006 at 02:27

Marriage as a form of political tool is used on a massive scale. Large numbers of people from poor countries such as Africa are moved to some European country such as Sweden and Norway and sponsors of these schemes are trying to change the ethnic composition of these countries. 
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  Quote LeopoldPhilippe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jul-2015 at 20:04
Two important foreign political alliances for the Tudor dynasty were the marriage of Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VII of England, to James IV of Scotland, and also Mary Tudor, the younger daughter of Henry VII, to King Louis XII of France.     
These marriages were intended to neutralize threats from Scotland and France.
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  Quote LeopoldPhilippe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jul-2015 at 20:23
In 1658, as war with France began to wind down, a union between the royal families of Spain and France was proposed as a means to secure peace.       
Infanta Maria Theresa, the daughter of King Philip IV, would marry King Louis XIV of France.       
Anne of Austria desired an end to hostilities between her native country of Spain and her adopted one, France.      
Maria Theresa married Louis in 1660.
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