Re: Inbreeding (was Bestiality in Prax?)

From: Peter Metcalfe <metcalph_at_LUe1DKfJqVIEWQXmhytxiYd1VZ3XBo1cdbVLjxvRS2WK058Y9iUzTlP2JNCvYIoMCQ0>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 17:43:57 +1300

On 2/20/2012 1:13 PM, Andrew Larsen wrote:
> It's worth pointing out that different cultures use different definitions of incest. Our modern definition tends to emphasize close blood relationship. Sex between siblings is definitely incest, sex between first cousins is probably incest, sex between second cousins probably isn't. Sex between step-siblings, or step-parent and step-child (like Woody Allen) isn't incest, but seems close enough to it to be creepy.
> For comparison, the 12th century Church definition of incest was very different. Seventh cousins were unable to marry for reasons of incest. Fictive ties such as a marriage and god-parentage also applied, so that one could not marry the sister of your sibling's spouse. Nor could you marry someone related to your godparent or the priest who baptized you, or the relatives of anyone you had had sex with (so sleeping with your wife's sister is incest).

The medieval church definitions of incest were largely an artifact of church lawyers having far too much time on their hands. What the Church said and what it was capable of enforcing were two different things. An expanded definition of incest was only significant at the upper levels of society and even then from the examples I've seen, it was used mostly as a reason to annul marriages (ie a "get out of marriage free card") rather than a prohibition on impending marriages (cf the Hapsburgs which is replete with first cousin and uncle-niece marriages). Most european christians operated with the standard definition of incest, ie having it off with your family is disgusting.

Specific gloranthan examples that I'm aware of are:

First Cousin Marriages are legal in Pithdaros but seen as incestuous by other Seshnegi (Middle Sea Empire p29).

Emperor Orogoros makes laws against incest (Fortunate Succession p89). However we are not giving any information about what type of relationships he prohibited.

The Red King committed unwitting incest with Naveria (Entekosiad p92).

Lords of Terror has a deity of incest, Sidana the Black Goat, who was revered by a pre-dawn seshnelan dynasty. I suspect this was padding mixed with humour (due to the mention of the Mofo among other things) but I could be wrong.

--Peter Metcalfe            

Powered by hypermail