Mariages clandestins dans la Suède médiévale: le témoignage des statuts synodaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


According to medieval canon law, mutual consent was sufficient to create a valid marriage. A marriage contracted secretly could thus be perfectly valid. Such marriages, i.e. clandestine marriages, did however constitute one of the major problems in the marriage legislation of the medieval Catholic Church. This problem was particularly apparent at the local level and practically all synodal statutes in medieval Europe contain multiple prohibitions against such marriages. In this context, Swedish synodal statutes constitute an exception by the relatively modest place accorded to this problem.
This article compares the references to clandestine marriages in Swedish and French synodal statutes, analyzes their differences and explores the Swedish legal tradition to determine possible explanations for them. Swedish secular laws contained detailed rules for the formation of marriage that guaranteed a certain publicity. This made clandestine marriages, in the sense of marriages contracted secretly without witnesses, relatively scarce. Swedish synodal statutes reflect this situation, shows the implications of the Swedish matrimonial tradition, and how canon law was adapted to the Swedish context.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Ideas


  • Synodal statutes, Canon law, Sweden, Clandestine marriage, Secular law, Medieval
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)169-186
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

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