Were there any Frankish/French kings who probably had no extramarital sexual relations?

Were there any Frankish/French kings who probably had no extramarital sexual relations?

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I was listening to Dan Carlin's podcast about the start of Merovingian dynasty, and he made a snide quip about the early Merovingians (starting with Clovis) and even Carolingians not exactly being paragons of Christian morality - including having official concubines.

We also know that many later French kings in 16th+ century clearly had mistresses (I'm excluding Louis XIII who everyone and their grandmother thinks was homosexual or at least bi, and had male lovers even if he had no known female mistresses).

Were there any French kings who probably had no extramarital sexual relations? (e.g. who were renowned among their contemporaries for their "chastity," as opposed to merely not having proof to the contrary).

I'm doing this according to Catholic doctrine, so divorcing and re-marrying counts as "extramarital" - so Philip I the Amorous doesn't count even if he married Bertrade de Montfort.

Also, someone who was actually married and of an age/position to have extramarital affairs is a working assumption here.

Fortunately, Wikipedians maintain a list of French royal mistresses, so we can knock off a whole slew of Kings at once (link). The list starts with Clovis I and ends with Napoleon III: the A-Z of French royal infidelity.

Any king not on that list is a candidate for having been a faithful husband. I'll suggest that Saint Louis IX was among the most likely to have been faithful. Discussions of his sex life suggest that although he loved his wife and had eleven children with her, he was still pretty good with self-control:

If one were to pass judgment on the marital life of Louis IX, one could say without reservation that it fulfilled all the requirements made by Pope Piux XI in his encyclical on marriage, Casti connubii. It was a chaste marriage, in which there was no misuse of the marriage right… Ever since their youth they had faithfully practiced marital continence… The biographers explicitly report that they observed continence during the so-called "days of abstinence" in the liturgical year, in Advent and Lent, also on Friday and Saturday of each week, and, furthermore, for one day before and one day after the reception of Holy Communion… It goes without saying that sexual abstinence was also practiced in the marriage whenever the wife was pregnant…

After lots of Googling and Google book-searching, I haven't found any mention of courtesans, affairs, or mistresses associated with Louis IX. Given the amount of historiographical interest in Louis IX, and given that biographers were apparently familiar with his sex life, Louis IX seems as "probably chaste" as any of the other French kings left off that list.

King Louis VII was probably one such king. His first wife, Eleanor of Acquitaine (in)famously complained that he was "more of a monk than a man." When they got married (as teenagers), he donated her wedding gift, a valuable rock crystal vase, to the St. Denis Basilica (church).

Viking Love: 8 Facts about Love and Love Making Among the Vikings

Vikings in popular culture are often viewed as the brutes of the Dark Ages, robbing, raping and pillaging people and goods. However, an analysis of their personal lives shows a much different side. Family life was important to Norse men, and every proper, upstanding Viking aimed to marry and have children. And although their parents arranged their marriages, Norsemen liked to court their ladies- and made a special effort to impress with their appearance.

As for Norse women, although they had to put up with their husband&rsquos affairs with live-in mistresses, slaves and even other men, they had the right to divorce their partners for violence, neglect, and various sexually related issues. In fact, Norse customs of love, marriage, and sex set a high standard in their time- and some even survive to this day. Here are just eight facts about sex, love, and marriage in the Viking era.

Title: Sexual Behavior in Pre Contact Hawai&lsquoi: A Sexological Ethnography

Note: An earlier version of this chapter first appeared in J.R. Feierman (Ed.). Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions. 1990.


Anthropological studies of human sexual behavior traditionally are difficult to conduct and to interpret. Usually this is because so much of any sexual behavior is private and must be understood through reporting by others rather than through direct observation. Sexual behavior between adults and nonadults or between unusual partners is especially difficult to study but an understanding can be facilitated if one looks at such behavior across time, species, and societies. Traditional, precontact, Hawai&lsquoi 1 has several characteristics that make it a useful society in which to view such behaviors. For better and worse, however, present day Hawai&lsquoi is very different from its precontact character.

Hawai&lsquoi was one of the first South Pacific societies to be visited and written about by Westerners (Cook, 1773). What it currently lacks in cultural purity, as a consequence of long association with foreigners, is partly compensated for by 200-plus years of contact and recorded observations. Furthermore, over the years since Cook&rsquos visit, published comparisons have been drawn between Hawai&lsquoi and lesser-known societies in other parts of Oceania and Polynesia (e.g., Marshall and Suggs, 1971).

This author has spent more than 35 years living and working in Hawai&lsquoi as an academic sexologist. This chapter presents a wide range of sexual behaviors in the context of a non-Judeo-Christian and non-Western society a society that saw sex without guilt, shame or sin.

Two introductory notes of caution must be given. The first concerns the research methods. Many of the findings reported in this chapter are derived from historic anthropological records that were written after the late 18th century, when contact between the Hawai&lsquoian Islands and the outside world was established. In addition, some of the information presented was obtained through personal interviews with Hawai&lsquoians, including kupuna 2 (elders), who pass down what they know as traditional. Contradictions that arose between research sources, i.e., the written ethnographic records and interviews, were integrated during the preparation of this chapter or are noted herein.

The second caution is about the term &ldquotraditional.&rdquo Traditional behavior patterns are the early behavior patterns of the Hawai&lsquoi described by Captain Cook and others of the late 1700s. While the majority of these have disappeared, some practices continue to some degree into the 21st century. The behavior patterns that were the most quickly lost were the ones that were part of the kapu 3 system, an elaborate cultural pattern of rules, restrictions, and punishments regulating interpersonal actions and relationships to the gods, the chiefs of varying stature (ali&lsquoi), and the &lsquoāina (land or homeland) (Kuykendall, 1938, Vol. 1, pp. 7-9 Valeri, 1985, pp. 90-95).The kapu system was officially abolished in November 1819 (Kuykendall, 1938, Vol. 1, pp. 65- 70 Kamakau, 1961, pp. 2 19-228).

Under the kapu system, there were forms of bondage and slavery, human sacrifice (Valeri, 1985), and infanticide (Malo, 1951, p. 70 Kamakau, 1961, p. 234). While adult females were afforded many rights and some had great status, it was kapu for them to eat certain foods they could be put to death for eating pork, certain kinds of bananas or coconuts, and certain fish (Malo, 1951, p. 29). Poi and taro 4 (basic staples of the Hawai&lsquoian diet) were not to be eaten from the same dish by males and females. Furthermore, in certain circumstances upon threat of death, adult males and adult females were not allowed to eat together, although they could have sex together. Religious laws controlled eating more than they controlled sex.

The Western concept of marriage did not exist in Hawai&lsquoi (Sahlins, 1985, pp, 22-25), and even if a common definition of marriage is applied (Malinowski, 1962, p. 252 Ford and Beach, 1951, pp. 187-192), sexual/genital interactions were socially accepted in many &ldquononmarital&rdquo and non-committed relations. The concepts of premarital and extramarital sexual activities were absent, and it was probably true of Hawai&lsquoi, as it was said to have been true of much of Polynesia, that &ldquothere are no people in the world who indulge themselves more in their sensual appetites than these&rdquo (Ellis, 1782, Vol. 2, p. 153).

Within the framework just presented, this chapter places human adult/nonadult sexual behavior in Hawai&lsquoi in a broader cultural context. (For ethnography, see Davenport, 1976 Diamond, 1985 Ford and Beach, 1951 Gregersen, 1982 Handy and Pukui, 1958 Handy et al., 1965, Kamakau, 1961, 1964 Kuykendall, 1938 Malo, 1951 Marshall and Suggs, 1971 Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, Vols. I and 2 Suggs, 1966 and Valeri, 1985.)


In traditional Hawai&lsquoi, nudity was not seen primarily as being sexual. Warm climate often dictates less clothing. The basic dress was a malo (loin cloth) for adult males and a leaf or tapa (bark) skirt for adult females. The female breasts were not covered. Very young children went uncovered. A young male was permitted to wear a malo only after he began to live in the hale mua (&ldquomen&rsquos house&rdquo), usually between the ages of 4 and 6 (Handy and Pukui, 1958, P. 9). Once the pubic hair began to grow, the genitals were covered, reportedly out of respect for the piko ma&lsquoi (genitals) and to protect the organs that gave progeny. A tapa robe might be added for protection against the cold or sun (Handy, 1930, P. 10), not for modesty.

Adult males and adult females engaged in all water sports without clothes. They dared not wear wet clothes on land, because to do so in the presence of royalty was a crime punishable by death (Malo, 1951, p. 56see Fornander, 1916/1917-1920, Vol. 5, p. 110). &ldquoThe missionaries banned surfing because the surfers stood unashamedly naked on their boards&rdquo.

Nudity among adults had important nonsexual significance, such as being a symbol of death or punishment (Fornander, 1916/1917-1920, Vol. 5, p. 324) or of lamentation and anguish (Kamakau, 1964, pp. 34-35). Individuals who were slated for sacrifice or who were banished were stripped naked. A dream of nudity, it was claimed, was a portent of death.

Nudity as a ceremonial condition could be a sign of submission or of resignation, or it could be an appeal for forgiveness. One who had wronged or angered another might disrobe and follow the injured individual asking forgiveness. When approached by &ldquonight marchers&rdquo (souls of the departed) or in the presence of spirits, one might disrobe and lie flat, face up, until they passed (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, P. 107).

Nudity also was a sign of respect. Consider this quotation from Kamakau 1961, pp. 208-209) writing in the 1860s of Kamehameha the Great (Ka-mehameha en hawaiano):

&ldquoKamehameha did not ordinarily take Keopuolani [his first coital partner] as his sleeping companion. She was his niece and of so high a taboo that he had to take off his malo before he came into her presence, but he desired above everything to have children of the highest rank.&rdquo 5

Ceremonial nudity also could be a sign of respect extended not merely to the Highest Chief or Chiefess but even to their bearers or possessions. &ldquoWhoever happened to meet the King&rsquos calabash of water as it was brought from the spring. . . was required to unrobe and lie down upon the earth, till the bearer of the vessel had gone by&rdquo (Tyerman and Bennet, 1832, Vol. 2, p. 69). Ceremonial nudity with prayer was also used to avert sorcery. Hawai&lsquoians had a ceremony called &ldquomānewanewa.&rdquo At high noon or at midnight families attempting to avert evil disrobed. One person stayed at the doorway to the hale (house) and prayed. The others prayed while they walked around the house. After the fifth time around, the one at the door poured water over the heads of the others, and the ceremony ended (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972. p. 107).

The attitude of traditional Hawai&lsquoians toward familial nudity was different from their attitude toward societal nudity. It was common for whole families to bathe and swim together nude in a formalized but also sociable manner, and often, baths or swims occurred several times a day.

On the basis of these examples, therefore, it can be seen that nudity was ritualized in many aspects of society. In fact, an individual seen nude out of a ritualized context was considered to be pupule (crazed) with grief, not lustful (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, pp. 107, 183).

Mary Kawena Pukui, a highly respected kupuna, claimed, &ldquogenital exposure was not an indecent, or even sexually-tinged action . To expose oneself was never perversion it was frequently a protection&rdquo (Pukui, Haertig and Lee, 1972, p. 107). (See Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990.)


The genitals were considered holy and were appreciated as being good. They were treated with respect and worship, and ostensibly. they were covered for protection, not shame (Sahlins, 1985, p. 15). Also, it was believed that the genitals possessed mana (spiritual power), and this belief was expressed with clarity in the traditional woodcarvings of the powerful gods, whose genitals were shown to be prominent.

The positive attitudes held by the traditional Hawai&lsquoians toward the genitals also were conveyed in part through some of the stone carvings still present in the Hawai&lsquoian Islands. The most noted of the major carvings are the phallic rocks of the Island of Moloka&lsquoi. These carvings are the penis stone named after Kauleonanahoa (Ka-ule-o-Nanahoa en hawaiano), a noted chief of the island, and the vulva stone named after Kawahuna, his wife. Both of these stones stand head high or taller. Throughout the islands, rocks configured into the shape of male and female genitals or identified as being male or female rocks were not uncommon (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 103). They were and still are used as totems to enhance fertility and sexual prowess (Summers, 1971).

On the &ldquoBig Island&rdquo of Hawai&lsquoi, in addition, there is a cave with a rock vagina some 20 feet in length. All of these kinds of formations, possessed of great mana, were used to enhance fertility and sexual ability. As can be judged by contemporary offerings (ho &lsquookupu) seen at these formations, they still are visited reverently in Hawai&lsquoi.


Within the culture, genitals were addressed in song and story. Traditional Hawai&lsquoians had public names for their private parts, and they were proud of their endowments. Hawai&lsquoian royalty, and commoners as well, had their own mele ma&lsquoi, a genital chant (Handy and Pukui, 1958,p. 93 Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 76). These chants described, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally and openly, the individual&rsquos sexual organs.

Queen Lili&lsquouokulani&lsquos (Lili&lsquou-o-ka-lani en hawaiano) mele ma&lsquoi told of &lsquoAnapau (Frisky), her frolicking genitals that went up and down. King Kalakaua&rsquos mele ma&lsquoi described the large size of his penis (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 85).

These mele ma&lsquoi were composed with respect and affection. Typically, the genitals of ali&lsquoi were named in infancy, and the songs were written when the individuals were young so they might be predictive or set role expectations. During the celebration of a young ali&lsquoi&lsquos first birthday, and often a young commoner&rsquos, poets, chanters, and dancers composed dances, chants, and songs to that individual. Among these songs and poems were mele ma&lsquoi describing the genitals as being valuable for begetting future generations (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 76 Sahlins, 1985, pp. 15-16).



Subincision of the foreskin was practiced, and ostensibly, to prepare for this practice, the penis was blown into daily starting from birth (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 94 Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972. p. 75). The blowing was said to loosen and balloon the foreskin and separate it from the glans, so that when the time of subincision came, the skin was quickly and easily slit. The blowing continued daily until the infant was old enough to urinate in an arch, wetting the blower, then it was done less often, perhaps three times a week until the young male was 6 or 7. 6

A makua hine (&ldquoaunt&rdquo) or kupuna wahine (&ldquograndmother&rdquo) did the blowing (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 80). Any number of adult females was qualified to be the blower for a particular young male, because, traditionally in Hawai&lsquoi, all age mates of an offspring&rsquos parents were considered to be &ldquoparents&rdquo in some way, and all individuals of grandparental age were considered to be kupuna (grandparent or elder). Therefore, the same term might refer to a blood relative, a non-relative, or a neighbor.

The penis-blowing procedure was said to guarantee health and efficient coitus (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 75). This procedure, and the vulva treatment to be mentioned, was said to make the genitals more beautiful and to be a form of &ldquoblessings with which loving relatives desired to endow the firstborn throughout life . What was true for the firstborn was true for subsequent children, to a lesser degree&rdquo (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 94).

Several informants reported this penis-blowing procedure in the 1980s as having been experienced personally one Hawai&lsquoian male received this attention as an infant, and one Hawai&lsquoian female reported performing it on her grandchildren. One Caucasian male reported that his Hawai&lsquoian mother-in-law had performed the procedure on his own infant. The Hawai&lsquoian-male informant placed the procedure in its cultural setting and saw it neither as being a sexual activity nor as potentially creating a problem. The Caucasian informant, who had been unaware of the practice, was disturbed when he discovered what his baby-sitting Hawai&lsquoian mother-in-law was doing to his young son. Even after his wife and mother-in-law put the procedure in its cultural context, he was not placated. He did convince his mother-in-law to cease the activity, but she did not appreciate his reasoning and remained concerned for her grandson&rsquos health.

When a young male was 6 or 7, penile subincision was performed by a specially trained kahuna (priest). Whereas the procedure was a puberty initiation rite in the Mangaia Islands (Cook Islands) (Marshall, 1971), in traditional Hawai&lsquoi, it was a religious rite and de facto acceptance of the young male&rsquos having reached a certain stage of life (Malo, 1951, pp. 93-94). Hawai&lsquoi did not have any puberty rites as such.


While a female was still an infant, mother&rsquos breast milk was squirted into her vagina, and the labia were pressed together (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 94). The mons was rubbed with kukui (candlenut) oil and pressed with the palm of the hand to flatten it and make it less prominent. The molding continued until the labia did not separate. This chore usually was done by the mother or by an &ldquoaunt&rdquo or a tütü wahine (&ldquograndmother&rdquo: a colloquial, less traditional Hawai&lsquoian term than kupuna wahine).

Among the Marquesas Islanders, similar attention was given to the vulva, but in addition, the young female&rsquos labia minor were stretched to make them longer. This practice often was done orally by the caretaking adult females (Suggs, 1966, p. 42). Danielsson (1986, p. 74) reported similar lengthening of the clitoris of young females in the Society and Austral Islands.


In the perspective of traditional Hawai&lsquoians, the buttocks were related to sexuality and the genitals. The buttocks of infants, males more than females, were molded so that they became rounded and not flat (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 91). This practice and all of the customs discussed in relation to the preparation of the genitals exemplified adult/nonadult behavior that was not seen as being erotic, sexual, or abusive. It was seen as being an appropriate aspect of adult care of nonadults, a necessary chore. The practices were for the social benefit of the child, not for the erotic pleasure of the adult.


Until the age of 4-6, young males and females played together. Between 4 and 6, young males went to live in the hale nua, where, through observation, they learned sex roles and sex-related expectations from adult males. Unlike traditions that were present in some other parts of Oceania (see Schiefenhovel, 1990), there is no evidence that ritualized adult-male/adolescent-male sexual activities were practiced in traditional Hawai&lsquoi.

Similarly, young females learned from the older women, with whom they remained. They were taught to look forward to sex and appreciate its pleasures. Both sexes heard the sex-positive conversations, songs, and stories of their elders and learned accordingly. By the age of puberty sexual exploration with same-sex age mates was actively encouraged.

Young males learned to fish, plant, cook, and fight and to honor the ali&lsquoi, the gods and spirits, and work. Young females, too, learned of the ali&lsquoi, the gods and spirits, and sex-typed tasks, such as mat weaving, feather-garment and fiber crafts, hula, attending to births, and so on (Kuykendall, 1938. p. 6). In regard to sex, Valeri (1985, p. 123), in a manner some consider highly overdrawn, stated that &ldquothe occupation of a young woman is to procreate, which in the Hawai&lsquoian culture implies all that relates to seduction, in which it is said that women play a more active role than men . properly feminine activities are . . . chanting, dancing, and other activities that promote eroticism. It is the women who often compose and chant the "mele inoa" (name chants) with their deliberately erotic content, and even the "mele ma &lsquoi" (chants praising the genitals).&rdquo Actually, these sex-role stereotypes do not reflect the complexity of the situation (see Linnekin, 1990).

Sex training was direct and firsthand. Young individuals learned of coitus and sex play from instruction, direct observation, and practice. As they slept in the family house (hale noa), they observed their parents having coitus. &ldquoPublic privacy&rdquo among the Mangaian Islanders, as it was described by Marshall (1971, p. 108), probably is similar to the &ldquoprivacy&rdquo that was found in Hawai&lsquoi and elsewhere in Polynesia: &ldquo[A Mangaian may copulate], at any age, in the single room of a hut that contains from five to fifteen family members of all ages &mdash as have his ancestors before him. His daughter may receive and make love with each of her varied nightly suitors in the same room . But under most conditions, all of this takes place without social notice: everyone seems to be looking in another direction.&rdquo

The young observed dogs, pigs, and other animals mating, and these activities were discussed openly with parents or other adults. Parturition was not a secret event and was well attended by the young and by adults, all of whom observed traditions that included the washing and burying of the placenta and, usually, the disposing of the umbilical cord (Pukui, Haertig and Lee, 1972, p. 16 Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 78).

The young Hawai&lsquoian also acquired sex education in day-by-day exposure to precepts, practices, and attitudes concerning sex. Traditionally, . . . childish curiosity about sex was satisfied, with neither guilt nor shame instilled&rdquo (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 249). With variations depending upon rank, region, and social circumstances, the young individual learned the lore of kapu, social restraints and preferences, and attitudes toward both sex for procreation or love and sex for fun and pleasure. Each kind of sex was appreciated for its own value (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 79).


Individuals of both sexes were expected to initiate and participate in coitus at puberty, although sexual activity, play, instruction, and so forth occurred much earlier. For instance, as part of exploratory play, the young investigated each other&rsquos genitals, and young males and females might masturbate each other heterosexually or homosexually. This activity occurred without adult disapproval, and it was considered to be an introduction to adulthood. Casual intercourse before adolescence was not an uncommon experience both for males (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p.95) and females (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 78).

Ellis (1782, Vol. 2, p. 153) wrote of sexual expression in Oceania: &ldquoThe ladies are very lavish of their favors . and some of their attachments seemed purely the effects of affection. They are initiated into this way of life at a very early period we saw some, who could not be more than ten years old.&rdquo

The time considered &ldquoright&rdquo to start coitus was not so much based on chronological age as on ability or maturity (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 78). A male doing adult work or holding adult responsibilities was considered to be &ldquoold enough.&rdquo A young male who could grow taro or catch many fish was considered mature. A female&rsquos first menses usually signaled she was ready for coitus if she had not already experienced it. Kamehameha the Great, who unified all the Hawai&lsquoian Islands, took his first &ldquowife&rdquo, Ka&lsquoahu-manu, when she was 13 (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 78) he probably was several years older than she (Judd, 1976, p. 71).

As physical signs of maturity appeared. the young Hawai&lsquoian received more formal sex education. Among commoners, this education was traditionally and usually the responsibility of the tūtū wahine for the females and the tūtū kane (&ldquograndfather&rdquo) for the males. Suggs (1966) elaborated on the early sexual experiences of pubertal males with married females in their 30s and 40s in the Marquesas Islands, who &ldquotake special pains to be pleasing and patient with them . a source of enjoyment for many Marquesan women&rdquo (p. 61). For young females of the Marquesas Islands, the first coital experience reportedly is earlier than it is for young males before menarche &mdashand occurs unplanned with an adult male (Suggs, 1966, p. 63).

Among ali&lsquoi, an experienced chiefess, usually a blood &ldquoaunt,&rdquo instructed and trained the young males. Similarly, young females were trained by their &ldquoaunt,&rdquo by another experienced woman, or by a tutu kane. The training concerned not only what to expect and what to do but also how to increase or maximize pleasure. Less formal but similar training was afforded to commoners. There was practice as well as theory. A young male was taught &ldquotiming&rdquo and how to please a female in order to help her attain orgasm (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 79). A young female was taught how to touch and caress a male and move her body to please them both. She was taught how to constrict and rhythmically contract her vaginal muscles (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 79). Several of the informants who were interviewed remember being so instructed. One adult female told of being instructed on how to get her vagina to &ldquowink.&rdquo.

These adult/nonadult sexual interactions were socially approved behaviors. Kamehameha the Great, again can be used as an example. Before he aligned himself with Ka&lsquoahu-manu, he had an infant, while &ldquostill a beardless youth,&rdquo by Chiefess Kanekapoli, a wife of Kalaniopu&lsquou (Judd, 1976, p. 71). The infant was welcome and was accepted without stigma, as was any pregnancy resulting from such unions (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 110). For adults not to have given such practical education would have been unthinkable - a dereliction of duty.

Most important for Hawai&lsquoian society, the young learned of sexual humor. Among the Hawai&lsquoians, sex was and remains a rich source of humor and enjoyment. In everyday conversation and in song and story, it was considered to be an &ldquoart form&rdquo to speak using sexual double entendres (kaona). One well- known folk song, still sung, uses the vowels as erotic expressions their elongated sounds are highly sexual: aaaaaaa, eeeeeee, iiiiiii, ooooooo, uuuuuuu (Johnson, 1983). Erotic imagery was, and remains, common in speech, poetry, and songs: coconut tree bending over a female a digging stick spreading a female&rsquos legs.

Suggs (1966, p. 39) considered the early manifestations of infantile and childhood sexual behavior, including sexual behavior with adults, to be among the most distinguishing features of Marquesan sexual behavior. Many of the activities he described, however, are similar to activities that were present in Hawai&lsquoi and elsewhere in Oceania. Oliver (1974, pp. 458-459), for example, reported on adult/nonadult sexual behavior in Tahiti and quoted the missionary Orsmond from 1832: &ldquoIn all Tahitians as well as officers who come in ships there is a cry for little girls,&rdquo and older females, when in a position to choose, preferred younger males. Marshall (1971, p. 126) described the routine early sexual encounters of young males and females in Mangaia as being with older, experienced males and females.


As long as the individuals involved were of the appropriate social class, just about any type of sexual behavior between them was sanctioned. If a pregnancy resulted, it was welcome. If a socially inferior male had sex with a female of royalty, however, her family might demand his death or exile, and if a baby was born, it might be killed immediately (Malo, 1951, p. 70). A higher class male&rsquos having sex with a lower class female was seen as being good, on the other hand, in that it added to her status. However, if the two participants were too far apart in class, any offspring was killed or sent into exile (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 79).

Neither physical appearance nor age mattered where coitus-for-genealogy was involved. The main concern in such instances was to preserve the highest level of mana and rank and to not dilute the family prestige (Kamakau, 1961, p. 208). if no offspring resulted, the sexual behavior itself was considered to be inconsequential.

The word for orgasm, le&lsquoa, also means &ldquofun&rdquo and &ldquojoy&rdquo (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 83), an appropriate term in the Hawai&lsquoian language because the object of sexual interactions was mutual happiness and pleasure. There were no restrictions regarding any positions for intercourse. The appellation probably is undeserved, but the posture in which the male squats between the supine female&rsquos legs has been called the &ldquoOceanic position&rdquo since its description by Malinowski (Gregersen, 1982, p. 61).

Sexual positions rarely are mentioned in ethnographies of Hawai&lsquoi, while other potentially curious or &ldquouncouth&rdquo matters are. For example, oral, anal, masturbatory, and other kinds of sexual behavior were documented practices. Types of homosexual behavior were accepted and, reportedly, were unstigmatized many of the royalty were known for their ambisexual activities (Kamakau, 1961, pp. 234-235 Malo, 1951, p.256).

According to the reports of Westerners. extensive foreplay was not a standard part of coitus. Many reports and stories tell of an adult male and an adult female meeting on a trail, in the bush, or on a secluded beach and engaging in coitus immediately, with little conversation and few preliminaries. This kind of behavior also has been reported as having been the norm elsewhere in Oceania, e.g. among Mangaian Islanders (Marshall. 1971, pp. 118-121) and Marquesas Islanders (Suggs, 1966, p. 98). Note-worthy in regard to such behavior is that orgasm for both the female and the male was not reported to be a problem despite the briefness of the encounter. Both males and females reportedly climaxed easily and frequently in traditional societies of Oceania.

It is possible that some of the reports of seemingly promiscuous and nonrelational sex that occurred in Oceania might reflect sampling and Western-oriented biases. This possibility has to be considered, because such interactions are not consistent with contemporary versions of traditional songs, which speak of erotic and sensual courtship and foreplay (Kekuni Blaisdell, personal communication).


Aside from restrictions of class and family, there were few sex kapu for common people. Masturbation, sex between uncommitted individuals, paired individuals having lovers, liaisons, polyandry, polygyny, homosexual patterns of behavior, and such were all accepted practices (Malo, 1951, p. 74). Sex was considered to be good and healthy for all, young and old included.

Virginity was considered to be a virtue only for female chiefs where genealogy was crucial. With this point in mind, ali&lsquoi &mdashparticularly the first-born of either sex, with special status rights&mdash often were betrothed while they were quite young. Sometimes the age difference between the betrothed was significant. Handy (1952, p. 272) reported the acceptance of pairings in which the female was hardly of walking age and the male was old enough to be her grandfather, as well as pairings in which tiny males were betrothed to elderly matrons. Such young individuals obviously did not have to restrain themselves as their libido matured, but it also is possible that mechanisms, such as the Westermarck effect 8 , dampened eroticism if the individual was betrothed at a very young age (see Shepher, 1971 Wolf and Huang, 1980).

Once paired with a chief, the chiefess, like the commoners she ruled over, could have as many lovers or additional permanent sexual partners as she desired. One missionary, Reverend Thurston, described a secondary wife of Kalaniopuu, Ruling Chief of the Island of Hawai&lsquoi in Cook&rsquos time. By her own admission, she had not fewer than 40 sexual partners and usually several concurrently (Thurston, December 10, 1828, Kailua). King Kamehameha had 21 known &ldquowives&rdquo (Judd, 1976, pp. 290-292). Regarding age disparity, it was noted: &ldquoWhen he was an old man well on in years . he took two young chiefesses to warm Kamehameha&rsquos old age&rdquo (Kamakau, 1961, p. 208).

Peripubertal females, in many cultures of Oceania, were noted to often be publicly sexually active with adults (Oliver, 1974, p. 362). Cook (1773, Vol. 1, p. 128) reported copulation in public in Hawai&lsquoi between an adult male and a female estimated to be 11 or 12 &ldquowithout the least sense of it being indecent or improper.&rdquo The disapproval implicit in Cook&rsquos report probably was caused as much by the public nature of the activity as by the age-related aspects. In Tahiti, one missionary noted in his diary that the High Priest Manimani, &ldquothough nearly blind with age, is as libidinous now as when thirty years younger &hellip[he] has frequently upwards of a dozen females with him, some of them apparently not above twelve or thirteen years of age&rdquo (cited in Danielsson, 1986, P. 57).Gauguin credited the inspiration for his famous painting &ldquoManao tupapau&rdquo (&ldquoThe Specter Watches Over Her&rdquo), completed in 1892, to his 13-year-old Tahitian &ldquowife&rdquo Teha&lsquoamana (Hobhouse, 1988).

Suggs (1966, pp. 51-53) cited many cases of full heterosexual intercourse in public between adults and prepubertal individuals in Polynesia. The crews of the visiting ships showed no compunction against the activities, and the natives assisted in the efforts. Cunnilingus with young females was recorded without accompanying remarks that this kind of behavior was unusual or disapproved of for the participants. Occasions were recorded of elders assisting youngsters in having sex with other elders. Among the Marquesas Islanders in particular, Suggs (1966, p. 119) reported, extramarital relations were frequent and often involved older males with young virginal females and older females with young virginal males.

Until fairly recently, the birth of an infant to an unmarried female in Hawai&lsquoi, as elsewhere in Polynesia, was not a problem for her or society. Her fertility was proven, and the infant was wanted and taken care of by the extended &lsquoohana (family). illegitimacy, in the Western sense, is inapplicable in regard to traditional Hawai&lsquoi (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 96).

While betrothals occurred, occasionally arranged by parents of chiefs or by other prominent persons, such formalized relationships were uncommon (Kamakau, 1964, pp. 25-26). Specific words for &ldquohusband&rdquo and &ldquowife&rdquo did not exist he was simply called kane (man) and she wahine (woman) (Handy and Pukui, 1958. p. 51 Sahlins, 1985, p. 23).

Individuals stayed together or not by choice rather than by commitment or obligation. One member of a pair could be monogamous while the other was polygamous. While public announcements of intentions to stay together among ali&lsquoi were noteworthy and often elaborate affairs, they were uncommon. David Malo, an advisor to King Kalakaua III and an Hawai&lsquoian convert to Christianity, wrote in 1839: &ldquoOf the people about court there were few who lived in marriage. The number of those who had no legitimate relations with women was greatly in the majority. Sodomy and other unnatural vices in which men were the correspondents, fornication and hired prostitution were practiced about court&rdquo (Malo, 1951, p. 65) 9 .

A &ldquopairing&rdquo ceremony among commoners was even more rare (Sahlins, 1985, P. 23). Couples that wanted to sleep and live together just did so (Sahlins, 1985, p. 23). Typically, no contract was expressed openly, although there probably was a vague set of expectations that linked the couple. Sahlins (1985, p. 23) expressed the situation thus: &ldquoFor the people as for the chiefs, the effect of sex was society: a shifting set of liaisons that gradually became sorted out and weighted down by the practical considerations attached to them.&rdquo

Monogamy, polygyny, and polyandry coexisted among ali&lsquoi and among commoners. Often, polygamy involved siblings (Morgan, 1964, p. 361). 10 Taking another sexual partner usually was acceptable if the first mate knew about the relationship and sanctioned it. Secret relationships were not approved of, however, although the discovery of such a relationship usually was disruptive only temporarily. Such sexual license greatly disturbed the early Christian missionaries. The &ldquocrimes&rdquo most commonly reported by the haole (foreigner, now refers to Caucasians) to occur among the Hawai&lsquoians, recorded as being 4-5times more common than theft or property crimes, were fornication and adultery (Sahlins, 1985, p. 24) these terms, of course, had no meaning to the Hawai&lsquoians. &ldquoAdultery&rdquo came to be defined by the Hawai&lsquoians as &ldquosexual activity with a nonregular partner within the hale. If the coitus occurred outside the house in private, it was not a problem to the Hawai&lsquoian, since it did not disrupt the status quo.

Sexual exclusivity was not associated with &ldquomarriage.&rdquo Such an idea would have been unusual to Polynesian society (Danielsson, 1986, p. 115). Gregersen (1982, p. 250) reported monogamy in only 30 of 127 Pacific island cultures studied, the rest of the cultures being polygamous. Worldwide, Ford and Beach (1951, P. 108) found multiple mateships permitted in 84% of the 185 societies in their Human Area Files sample.

Relationships were dissolved at the desire of one or both partners. Sex with others was not seen as a cause for separation. Jealousy was considered unwarranted. Handy and Pukui (1958, pp. 57-58) wrote: &ldquo&hellip where love of one man by two women were involved [and vice versa], it was considered bad manners (maika&lsquoi &lsquoole, &ldquonot good&rdquo) for apunalua (lover) to hold spite or malice in their hearts towards each other. The very existence of the formal [punalua] relationship. . . worked against ill feeling.

If one left a first mate for a second, the relationship to the first was not necessarily broken, Certainly, the ties were kept to any children that came from the union (Johnson, 1983), and often, the sexual relationship between old partners continued 11 . In this context, the Western concentration on things &ldquopremarital,&rdquo &ldquomarital,&rdquo and &ldquopost marital&rdquo did not have comparable meaning to traditional Hawai&lsquoians. In fact, it is only within the last 50 years or so that a majority of native Hawai&lsquoians have looked to the state licensing board to legitimize their marriages. Cohabitation without legal marriage was and is so frequent that, to encourage formal marriage, Hawai&lsquoi state law does not recognize &ldquocommon-law&rdquo marriages.

Considering that ali&lsquoi had much mana, commoner parents of a young female often wanted her to be impregnated by an ali&lsquoi male or to be taken as his mistress. The privilege of jus primae noctis for chiefs was often observed and was viewed with favor by a young female&rsquos parents (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 91 Sahlins, 1985, p. 24). If she were lucky, she might conceive his offspring and be allowed to keep it. This wish for high-mana descendants and relatives prompted Hawai&lsquoian families to send their daughters and wives to sleep with crewmen of early visiting ships. They thought the strange newcomers-with their large vessels and weapons that could kill immediately and at a distance—were indeed gods (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 92).

Promiscuity as a concept was not related to the number of sexual partners but rather to an improper concern with the lineage of potential offspring. Invitations to or direct acceptance of sex from the right strangers. on the part of males and females, were seen by the Hawai&lsquoians as good fun, good politics, good &ldquomana&rdquo and cross- fertilization, or just good socialization (Pukui, Haertig and Lee, 1972. p. 98). For a male or a female to be &ldquopropositioned&rdquo was considered a compliment, not an insult.

To have sex at the request of another was seen more as being passion than compassion. To want sex with another was seen as being natural. As one respondent put it: Women didn&rsquot say no because it would have been considered &ldquobad form&rdquo, a rudeness. Also, they took the invitation as a compliment and often also wanted the sex themselves.

Prostitution, as it now would be defined, was nonexistent in pre-Western contact Hawai&lsquoi, because sexual partners were readily available for mutual enjoyment. After Western contact occurred, the females continued to want sex openly, now with the mana-loaded sailors and traders. These males advocated bartering for sex, and with no religious or social restrictions against prostitution, the natives had no hesitancy about profiting from the newcomers&rsquo desires.

Females in traditional Hawai&lsquoi did experience intercourse that was imposed upon them. While Westerners would interpret the forcing of intercourse on an individual as being criminal rape, the Hawai&lsquoians supposedly saw a romantic abduction or passionate lust (Johnson. 1983). There also were practices known as &ldquowife-capture&rdquo and &ldquohusband-capture&rdquo (Sahlins, 1985. p. 10). Abductions and imposed sex supposedly were more commonly practiced by the ali&lsquoi. In one well-known instance, a chief who forced himself sexually upon an unwilling &ldquomarried&rdquo female rewarded her by offering to make an ali&lsquoi of any possible male offspring, and this arrangement, it was said, was satisfactory to her and her &ldquohusband&rdquo (Malo, 1951, pp. 25 8-259).

There are tales of love that was unrequited for any number of reasons: because one individual was promised to another, because one partner was jealous, because of feuds, for example. Also, sex was rejected if the other was thought to be extremely unattractive, if one was promised to another. if it was solicited in an inappropriate place or with an inappropriate partner. Suicide because of unrequited love was known (Johnson, 1983).


A Hawai&lsquoian legend may be instructive here. Poi, the staple food of Hawai&lsquoi, is made from the root of the taro plant. Taro was itself considered sacred, supposedly the heavenly gift of an incestuous union. The god Wakea, the Sky- father, mated with the god Papa, the Earth-mother, to have their first offspring, a daughter, Ho&lsquoohokukalani (night-sky and stars). Wakea later mated with his daughter, and their first offspring was the taro root, Haloa. A second incestuous union brought forth a son, Taro. Taro is propagated by cuttings thus, the basic taro is considered ageless and godlike. The taro stalk, ha (ancient one breath of life), is the symbol of the primary male god, Kane. The image of sacred offspring coming from a central stalk is considered by some to be a positive, folklore model that rationalizes incest, at least for chiefs. 12

Some types of inbreeding were preferred for ali&lsquoi, and sometimes inbreeding was their obligation. An offspring of a royal full-brother/full-sister incestuous mating was considered to have the highest mana and, thus, to be the most sacred. &ldquoThe children born of these two were gods, fire, heat and raging blazes&rdquo (Kamakau, 1964, p. 4). The union would strengthen their dynasty. The chief born of such a union, a nī &lsquoaupi &lsquoo, was so divine he often did not travel during the day, since all who saw him had to prostrate themselves until he left (Malo, 1951, p. 54). To prevent a lust-inspired first mating from occurring between a member of royalty and one of the kauwā (despised) cast, young highborn male or female chiefs might be paired &ldquoprophylactically&rdquo with an older brother or sister or another member of the family (Maio, 1951, p. 71). Ali&lsquoi were forbidden to defile themselves by mating with members of the outcast kauwā group (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee 4 1972, p. 86).

Among chiefs, the value of a relationship was measured more by its political and genealogical significance than purely by its consanguinity. Nephew/aunt or niece/uncle pairings were not uncommon and were approved of. It was expected that an older chiefess would sexually train one or more of her nephews, and any offspring of the two were warmly received into the household. Mother/son and father/daughter incestuous unions, however, were not approved of (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 86). Father/step-daughter matings also were generally disapproved of, but exceptions were known and occasionally accepted. The same attitude was held regarding matings between &ldquofather-in-law&rdquo and &ldquodaughter-in-law.&rdquo

The inbreeding and incestuous pairings mentioned for ali&lsquoi were forbidden to commoners. There was a preference for exogamous matings of both male and female commoners with individuals who were members of a higher social class (hypergamy) (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee. 1972, p. 87), since traditional Hawai&lsquoi had several classes or castes (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, pp. 286-287).

Within a given caste, first-cousin pairings were common. However, there was cultural disapproval of the mating of an adult female with a young male whom she had taken care of as an infant. Such behavior was not an offense against the gods but, rather, a social faux pas, and the thinking seems to have been, &ldquoWhy couldn&rsquot she find someone more appropriate?&rdquo In keeping with the culture&rsquos collective attitudes, the punishment was not severe it was characterized by ridicule and expressions of disgust (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 87). Suggs (1966, p. 128) reached a similar conclusion regarding incest in traditional Marquesan society that it was disapproved of, but not seriously.


Traditional Hawai&lsquoian society was culturally complex. Sex was seen as being positive and pleasurable, and although many cultural precepts existed concerning nonsexual aspects of life, the attitude toward sex was comparatively open and permissive. Sexual needs and desires were seen as being as basic as the need to eat, and the young were instructed in matters of sex. Adults attended physically to the sexual development of the young, including the preparation of their genitals. These sexual interactions between adults and the young, from the society&rsquos perspective, were seen as benefiting the young individual rather than as gratifying the adult. The sexual desire of an adult for a nonadult, heterosexual or homosexual, was accepted (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 111), and the regular erotic preference by an adult for a young individual probably was viewed more as being unusual than as being intrinsically bad. As Sahlins (1985, p. 29) put it, the Hawai&lsquoian &ldquosocial system [was] constructed out of passion, structured out of sentiment.&rdquo Even the basic Hawai&lsquoian creation story &ldquoThe Kumulipo,&rdquo is highly sexual. It starts with the mating of the male god Wakea and the female god Papa and, throughout, turns to many sexual encounters. 13

The Hawai&lsquoian approach to sex and sex education seemed to be fruitful in many ways. Sexual dysfunctions such as impotence and inhibitions of desire or lack of orgasm among males or females, common enough in Western society today, reportedly were unknown or at least rare (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, pp. 84, 97). Sex was a salve and glue for the total society.

The absence of concern with sexually transmitted disease (this affliction arrived with the first sailors from Europe in 1778), the lack of concern with illegitimacy, a permissive attitude toward multiple sex partners, and a feeling of obligation to sexually instruct in deed as well as in theory, freed the traditional Hawai&lsquoians from most of contemporary Western society&rsquos great fears associated with sexual expression. To the Hawai&lsquoians, sex was definitely not a subject or a set of behaviors to be avoided or reserved only for adults or committed partners nor were sexual activities restricted to certain time, place or occasion

To know about sexual interactions between adults and the young in traditonal Hawai&lsquoi is most instructive, because these interactions illustrate the power that cultural tradition wields not only in contributing to the organization of behavior but also in shaping humans&rsquo self-reported attitudes toward behavior patterns.

&ldquoI believe that if you really feel Hawai&lsquoian&mdashif in your bones you&rsquore Hawai&lsquoian&mdashthen you&rsquoll enjoy intercourse without constraint and with fulfillment. You&rsquoll know le&lsquoa as your ancestors did. It&rsquos natural. It&rsquos beautiful and satisfying. And its just lots of fun!&rdquo Mary Kawena Pukui (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 98)


For much of this chapter I am indebted to many persons. My primary thanks go to the informants who shared their confidences and histories with me. Additionally, I would like to thank the following Hawai&lsquoi scholars of the University of Hawai&lsquoi-Mānoa for contributing their insights and advice: Professor Richard Kekuni Blaisdell, Acting Chairman, Hawai&lsquoi Studies Department Professor Rubellite Kawena Johnson, Department of Indo-Pacific languages Assistant Professor Jocelyn S. Linnekin, Department of Anthrology Professor Joel Michael Hanna, Professor of Anthropology and Physiology and Karen Peacock, Hawai&lsquoi and Pacific Collection Curator. Special thanks go to &lsquoAuntie&rsquo Emma DeFries for the hours we visited and “talked story.” Connie Brinton-Diamond deserves thanks for her library work and perspective.


COOK, J. An account of a voyage round the world. Vols. I and II. London: Hawkesworth Edition, 1 773.

DANIELSSON, B. Love in the South Seas. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1986.

DAVENPORT, W.H. Sex in cross-cultural perspective. In F.A. Beach (Ed.), Human sexuality in four perspectives. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976, pp. 115-163.

DIAMOND, M. The world of sexual behavior: Sexwatching. New York: Gallery Press, 1985.

EIBL-EIBESFELDT, I., Dominance, Submission, and Love: Sexual Pathologies from the Perspective of Ethology. In J.R. Feierman (Ed.), Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions, 1990, pp. 150-175.

ELLIS, W. An authentic narrative of a voyage performed by Captain Cook and Captain Clarke 2 vols. in 1. London: Robinson, 1782. (Reprinted edition: Bibliotheca Australiana p55/56. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969.)

FORD, C.S., and Beach, F.A. Patterns of sexual behavior. New York: Harper & Row, 1951.

FORNANDER, A. Collection of Hawai&lsquoian antiquities and folklore, 3 vols. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1016/1917-1920. (Also published as Memoirs of the Bishop Museum, Vols. 4, 5, and 6.).

GREGERSEN, E. Sexual practices: The story of human sexuality. London: Mitchell Beazley, 1982.

HANDY, E.S.C. History and culture in the Society Islands. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishap Museum, 1930.

HANDY, E.S.C. The Polynesian family system in Ka-u Hawaii. Journal of Polynesian Society, 1952, 1(3,4), 243-282.

HANDY, E.S.C., and PUKUI, M.K. The Polynesian family system in Ka-&lsquou Hawaii. Wellington, New Zealand: Journal of Polynesian Society, 1 958.

HANDY, E.S.C., et al. Ancient Hawaiian Civilization: A series of lectures delivered at The Kamehameha Schools (rev. ed.). Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle, 1965.

HOBHOUSE, J. Civilized man, savage artist. Newsweek, May 16, 1988, pp. 78-80.

JOHNSON, R.K. Old Hawaiian sexual indoctrination. Lecture presented at a meeting of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, Honolulu, Hi., 1983. Audiotape.

JUDD, W.F. Kamehameho: A biography. Honolulu: Island Heritage, 1976.

KAMAKAU, S.M. Ruling chiefs of Hawaii. Honolulu: Kamehameha School Press, 1961.

KAMAKAU, S.M. Ko Po&lsquoe Kahiko: The people of old Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum Press, 1964.

KUYKENDALL, R.S. Hawaiian kingdom 1778-1854: Vol. 1. Foundation and transformation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1938.

LINNEKIN, J. Sacred queens and women of consequence: Rank, gender and colonialism in the Hawaiian Islands. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1990.

MALINOWSKI, B. Sex, culture and myth. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1 962.

MALO, D. Hawaiian antiquities (2nd ed.). Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1951.

MARSHALL, D.S. Sexual behavior on Mangaia. In D.S. Marshall and R.C. Suggs (Eds.), Human sexual behavior. New York: Basic Books, 1971, pp. 103-162.

MARSHALL, D.S., and SUGGS, R.C. (Eds.). Human sexual behavior. New York, Basic Books, 1971.

MORGAN, L.H. Ancient society. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1964.

OLIVER, D.L. Ancient Tahitian society. Vol. 1, ethnogrophy (2nd ed.). Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1974.

PUKUI, M.K., HAERTIG, E.W., and LEE, C.A. Nana I Ke Kumu, Vols.1 and 2. Honolulu: Queen LiLi&lsquouokalani Children&rsquos Center, 1972.

SAHLINS, M. Islands of history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

SCHIEFENHOVEL, W., Ritualized Adult-Male/Adolescent-Male Sexual Behavior in Melanesia: An anthropological and Ethological Perspective. In J.R. Feierman (Ed.), Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions, 1990, pp. 394-421.

SHEPHER, J. Mate selection among second generation kibbutz adolescents and adults: Incest avoidance and negative imprinting. Archives SexualBehavior,1971, 1, 293-307.

SUMMERS, C.: Molokoi: A site survey. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Department of Anthropology, 1971, (pp. 228-230 for phallic stones).

SUGGS, R.C. Marquesan sexual behavior. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966.

THURSTON, A. Missionary letters, 1828. In the Collection of the Hawaiian Mission Children&rsquos Society Library, Honolulu, Hi.

TYERMAN, D., and BENNET, G. Journal of voyages and travels . in the South Sea Islands, China, India, etc., between the years 1821 and 1829, Vol. 2. Boston: Cracker & Brewster, 1832.

VALERI, V. Kingship and sacrifice: Ritual and society in ancient Hawaii. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

WHITMAN, J.B. An account of the Sandwich islands: The Hawaiian Journal of John B. Whitman 1873-1875. (1.0. Holt, Ed.). Honolulu: Topgallant, 1979.

WOLF, A.P., and HUANG, C. Marriage and adoption in China, 1845-1945. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1980.


1 The apostrophe (&lsquo) denotes a glottal stop in the pronunciation of Hawai&lsquoian words. Since this chapter is about traditional times, this chapter uses the type of wordage preferred by Hawai&lsquoians.

2 Italicized words in this chapter are Hawai&lsquoian-Language words.

3 Kapu can mean either taboo, sacred or forbidden. Rules associated with the Kapu system were part of an elaborate social structure that regulated much of Hawai&lsquoian society. Basically anything that was kapu should not be done because it would anger the gods or Hawai&lsquoian ali&lsquoi.

4 Taro is a root from which poi is made (by pounding into a paste-like food). Poi was and remains a basic staple of Hawaiian diet comparable to rice or potatoes elsewhere.

5 The taboo was such that Keopuolanis rank demanded that those inferior to her, even one as highly ranked as Kamehameha the Great, had to show respect by being nude in her presence even if for just general social interactions.

6 In contemporary times, pediatricians advise mothers to retract the foreskin and wash the glans usually during the bath. This action prevents phimosis and serves a hygienic function similar to blowing.

7 Much of the information presented in this section was modified from Pukui, Haertig, and Lee (1792) and Handy and Pukui (1958).

8 This is the phenomenon in which those persons that grow up together do not find each other sexually attractive.

9 Terms such as "sodomy", "fornication" and "adultery" were introduced pejoratively by the missionaries and are used pejoratively in these quotations. Among traditional Hawai&lsquoians, however, such nuances were absent.

10 In Hawai&lsquoian tradition, lineage rights were transmitted by females, not by males. Thus, a male could have several wives, and each wife maintained her individual inheritance. The inheritance of prime importance was a genealogy that linked one to the ali'i class and royalty. Material wealth was not "owned" as the concept exists in the West. Private property was not a feature of traditional Hawai&lsquoian life. (The chief owned everything but couldn't take your genealogy that could grant status and privilege.)

11 Having one or many sexual partners had no necessary correlation with the love of one's primary partner. Intense love was known, and the loss of a dear one was not just lamented but might be evidenced by self-inflicted pain and mutilation (e.g., Whitman, 1979, p. 26) in the form of self-burning by fire, breaking of teeth, or even blinding. One might take bones or body parts of a dead lover to sleep with (Malo, 1951, p. 99) or as keepsakes (Kamakau, 1964, p. 35).

12 These gods, Wakea and Papa, also had multiple sexual partners. Wakea had at least three mates, and Papa had at least eight (Kamakau, 1964, p. 25).

13 Contrast this story with the biblical concept of Creation, which is completely asexual. The Judeo-Christian god desired the formation of the world, and it came about by his will.

53 – The Kingdom of God

Gary: Quick announcement before we start the episode. The Intelligent Speech Conference is back. This April 24 th top history podcasters like the History of England, Ben Franklin’s World, Wittenberg to Westphalia and others will deliver educational talks. Sign up for just $20 for 24 hours of content spread across four different streams. Interact with your favorite hosts and fellow fans. And just for our fans enter the promo code ‘french’ for a discount. That’s f-r-e-n-c-h.

Karen Girod: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes. When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests and the Levites, and all the people, great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers.”

-2 Chronicles 34 1-7, 29-33, New King James Version

Shoutout to Momma French History Podcast for taking us to church.

King Charles of Francia, Emperor of the Romans, was a remarkable man. He was semi-literate but he voraciously loved books, which he often had read to him. His favorite works were classical Roman military texts which he studied to coordinate his armies, and the Bible which he used to manage his kingdom. Of all Biblical figures, Charles chose to model himself after King Josiah, who tore down the idols to false gods, rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem and returned the Kingdom of Judah to righteousness. In 789 Charles issued the capitulary Admonitio generalis, in which he claimed he was a new Josiah, come fourteen centuries later to save the souls of the Franks.

So often in history’s it’s hard to tell if a leader was truly religious or if they were just using religion as a means to consolidate power. One cannot help but question Constantine and Clovis’ piety given that they took on the Christian religion when it was most convenient for them. There’s little question that Charles believed what he said. He patronized the church more than any of his predecessors. He ordered the creation of scriptoriums to reproduce the Bible, and patronized literacy to disseminate the Good Book. He forcibly converted pagans. He hosted three synods, religious councils that brought bishops from across his vast realms to debate church issues. He regularly requested monastic orders and relics from Italy so that his people could practice the true religion.

Charles’ devotion was even more pronounced later on in his reign. It’s not hard to see divine providence in recounting his life: Charles’ brother conveniently died at just the right time for him to disown his weak relatives and gain control of all of Francia. Astounding military victories meant he created the largest empire in Europe since Rome. He conquered Islamic land and sank their naval raiders. He destroyed pagan idols, burned sacred groves and elder trees, baptized pagans and sent missionaries to preach Christianity to them. By book and sword, Charles’ army of preachers and his army of…army, converted more souls to Christianity than maybe anyone before him. The Frank was first coronated by the Pope as king, then in 800 as Emperor, taking over from the wicked Byzantine Empress Irene.

Charles also hosted numerous theologians at his palace at Aachen who debated numerous Biblical points, among them eschatology, the study of the final days of the world and the Last Judgement. Alcuin of York suggested that Charles’ coronation as Emperor of the Romans on Christmas 800 was exactly 6,000 years after the creation of the universe and marked the beginning of the Sixth Age, wherein a godly kingdom would rule on Earth for 1,000 years before Armageddon, Satan’s ultimate defeat and the end of the world. It’s hard not to think you have some special place in God’s plan when your ministers keep telling you that your reign is the beginning of all good things and the end of all malevolence forever. I mean, I get a big head when someone writes a nice review for the show.

Charles’ belief that he occupied an important and unique role in God’s plan had important affects on the development of Christianity. Priests became obsessed with “true religion,” or more accurately, they were obsessed with everything that wasn’t true religion. Sin, transgressions against God, became of paramount importance. People were increasingly expected to do penance to right their sins. Failure to do penance brought God’s wrath on a community, and if one died before being forgiven they were damned to hell for all eternity.

Since most people were illiterate the church wasn’t overly-concerned with people’s beliefs but their actions. Beliefs were ill-defined at the time and the Franks regularly lumped superstition, paganism, heretical doctrines and magic together. Priests combatted this nebulous conglomeration of bad beliefs by instructing people to follow godly habits. People were expected to attend mass, maintain the sacraments, pray and act in a godly manner in their communities. Traditional Frankish burials with worldly items declined in favor of simple Christian burials in coffins at church grounds. Priests discouraged concubinage and outlawed sexual and marital relations between spiritual family members, such as between a godson and his godfather’s daughter. Weddings became public events and were insoluble.

But not everyone was devout or even moral and there’s evidence that some Franks bribed priests so that they wouldn’t have to perform penance. Much later when church figures learned they could make enormous amounts of money selling forgiveness this led to what are known as indulgences. These indulgences won’t be a major issue for another 700 years when the controversy birthed the Protestant Reformation and literally split the Catholic world in half, but it’s worth noting that its early, informal precedent was already practiced in Charles’ kingdom.

Priests, monks and nuns were supposed to be celibate, non-violent, economically independent of secular lords, literate, possess the necessary texts, and be socially distinct from those they served. By 800 most holy people could practice all of these traits. Extensive patronage meant that they were freed from secular economic domination. Charles’ mass sponsorship of literature and learning meant holy people were at least partially-educated. Professional Frankish armies patrolling well-kept roads maintained peace so priests didn’t have to pick up a mace and bash raiders’ heads in like in the 5 th century.

In medieval Europe land was power, and holy people had a lot of it due to their large land grants. Churches and monasteries rented land to peasants. They raised and equipped soldiers. Monasteries also doubled as storehouses for weapons and were involved in selling government-issued arms. Abbots also acted as mediators between powerful elites. Moreover, there wasn’t a clear division between the religious and secular spheres and holy men could administer law and engage in politics. Charles required monasteries and churches to set up schools to teach psalms, musical notation, singing, computation and grammar, those skills he believed were required to save souls. Education meant people from humble backgrounds could rise up, as was the case with Ebo who was born a serf then later became the archbishop of Reims.

The domination of the Franks also impacted Rome and Italy. The Italians couldn’t compete with the Franks’ secular dominance, but they had remarkable religious authority. As the Italian states became tertiary political powers, the Vatican and other Italian religious institutions spread their spiritual power. Charles played right into this and regularly asked for authoritative religious texts to take back to Francia so his people could be taught the best form of Christianity. The Vatican was more than happy to produce or fabricate all the texts the Franks asked for. For example, Charles once asked for a sacramentary by Pope Gregory the Great but none existed, so Pope Hadrian sent a mass book called the Hadrianum containing a text with Gregorian associations. The text was outdated and no longer used in Rome but Charles gladly took it. Charles also asked for the set of monastic regulations known as The Rule of Saint Benedict. If he had listened to this podcast he would know that there was no uniform rule, and that Benedictines developed many different rules, albeit with similar characteristics. But Charles wanted to create a godly kingdom and he and his people gladly bought up every text and relic that Italians sold to them.

Charles didn’t limit his Christianizing role to his own realm. By holding synods he helped formulate church doctrine across the Christian world. He held three synods, two more than his father, and his were attended by bishops from Francia, Italy and even the British Isles. His first gathering was the 794 Council of Frankfurt which condemned Adoptionism in Spain, a heretical belief that Jesus was the adopted son of God. The council also condemned Byzantine beliefs regarding iconography. At the time the Byzantines were undergoing a major rift in religious doctrine. Since the Eastern Roman Empire was wealthy and had had a large Christian population far longer than anywhere else they had accumulated large amounts of mosaics, paintings, statues and other images depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and other Christian figures. Some within Byzantium watched people pray towards objects and worried that simple people weren’t praying to or worshipping God but that these icons had become their objects of belief. These concerned zealots began the Iconoclasm movement, which aimed to destroy all religious icons, which they condemned as false idols. The Byzantine Second Council of Nicaea allowed icons with the understanding that people were using them to pray to God and the saints. In response, the Council of Frankfurt (794) condemned iconodualism for equating worship through icons as worship of God. If you’re like me you’re probably tuning out because minute theological differences don’t really titillate you. Let me sum this up for you: King Charles wanted to have a say in Christian theology but the Byzantines held a major council without inviting him and he got pissed. He was already mad at their iconoclasm phase and their political presence in Italy, so this snub only made matters worse. Since Charles didn’t get invited to their council he held his own and he made his bishops come up with a complex theological reason to condemn the Byzantines even though they mostly shared the same beliefs as the Franks, who actually approved of their eastern neighbors easing up on the iconoclasm. Charles wasn’t above altering Christian doctrine in order to get some petty revenge.

After an uneventful second council, in 809 Charles held a third council at Aachen. This synod affirmed many previous decisions while adding the filioque to the Nicene Creed. As you probably know, Christianity is a monotheistic religion wherein God is a single entity but that entity exists in three connected forms known as The Trinity. The Trinity is composed of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is always in heaven ordering the universe, The Son came to Earth as Jesus Christ to save people from sin, while the Holy Spirit is a subtle but active agent working on Earth, enacting the divine will, giving spiritual power to the faithful and otherwise operating in the background. The Nicene Creed held that the Holy Spirit emanates from the Father alone. The Council of Aachen decreed that the Holy Spirit also emanates from the Son. The Franks supported the idea that Jesus could call forth the Holy Spirit just as The Father does as an attack on doctrines like Adoptionism and Arianism, which downplayed Jesus’ importance. Meanwhile the Byzantines raised holy hell when they heard about this and lambasted the Council of Aachen. They argued that the Holy Spirit cannot emanate from two sources as the Spirit is made of one substance. To imply that The Holy Spirit is divisible is a lot like Monophysitism, that formerly popular Eastern heresy that held that Jesus was both human and divine, which meant he wasn’t wholly God.

Now if you’re rolling your eyes again let me tell you that this debate is incredibly important and not because of anything relating to theology. Charles and the Eastern Emperor probably didn’t give two seax about whether Jesus could direct the Holy Spirit or not what mattered was that the Byzantines held religious councils that decided Christian doctrine and didn’t invite the Franks, so the Franks held their own councils and didn’t invite the Byzantines and they attacked each other. This whole back and forth is petty and childish but history turns upon just such things.

What we need to understand about Christianity is that to most Europeans it was an Eastern religion. It originated in an ancient, troubled, desert-area where it spread to the Greeks as a mystery cult. By the 4 th century most Eastern Romans were Christian while most Western Romans weren’t. When Theodosius declared Christianity the state religion in 380 up until the 7 th century the Eastern Roman Empire dominated Christianity it had more Christians than any other country, it controlled the Holy Land and its long history meant it had more authority than the recently-converted west. Then Islam arose and Byzantium lost the Holy Land. Arab attacks combined with internal chaos meant the Byzantines lost their hold on much of Italy, including Rome, the seat of the Papacy, the highest authority in Christianity. The Pope in Rome was the heir of Saint Peter and was theoretically the head of the church but Italy’s decline meant that Popes had to depend on the Byzantines for secular protection. Then in the 8 th century King Charles emerged as the protector of the Pope, meaning Christ’s vicar on Earth depended on the Western Frankish King. Charles used his power to assert control over Christian doctrine. Under Charles the Popes were increasingly pressured to oppose the Byzantines.

A remarkable transformation was taking place. Charles was propping up the Pope as a counterweight in his struggle for dominance against the Byzantines. For the first time the Byzantines had a rival for control of Christendom. Additionally, Charles was taking a traditionally Eastern religion and asserting the Western tradition’s dominance over it, while lambasting the East as falling into corruption and heresy. The two powers held councils and went back and forth condemning each other as a means of asserting their authority over Christian doctrine. But the Franks and Byzantines mostly believed the same thing, so if the doctrinal points I mentioned seem small and unimportant it’s because these two schools of Christianity were pretty much one and the same. But these differences kept adding up. These micro-condemnations between Francia and Byzantium are going to cause Western and Eastern Christianity to drift apart until in 1054 the Western and Eastern churches split with the West calling itself the Catholic Church and the East calling itself the Eastern Orthodox Church. One of the irreconcilable differences the Eastern Orthodox cited during the East-West Schism was the inclusion of the filioque by King Charles’ 809 Council of Aachen.

Charles’ secular power was enough to challenge the Byzantines and allowed Western theologians to compete for supremacy of this Eastern religion. Furthermore, Charles encouraged fighting between the two religious camps as a means of hurting his political enemies. Now, don’t misquote me and say that, “Gary said Charlemagne is the reason Christianity split in half.” I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that Charles did the same thing to Western Christianity that he did to Western medieval government, culture, society, education, and the military. He imposed prerogatives for all of these and his successors copied his actions either because they agreed with him or because they weren’t strong enough or smart enough to buck these trends. King Charles’ reforms didn’t have to be the foundation for so much of European society. But when Charles’ successors looked at his awesome accomplishments they emulated his actions. Emulation became habit, which became tradition, which became civilization.

Catholicism as we know it owes an enormous amount to Charles, for good and ill. He empowered Western bishops to challenge their Eastern contemporaries like never before. Today, the Catholic Church has 1.3 billion members, while there are only 200 million Eastern Orthodox followers. And if you ask people what is the Western religion, they’ll almost certainly say, “Christianity.” Again, I am not saying Charles picked up the faith from Jerusalem and planted it at Aachen. But he encouraged Western theologians to fight for an equal or even superior authority against the East. As the Byzantine Empire fell, the Western church followed Charles’ example and claimed power over this religion.

A Short History of Amorous Generals

“You’re a very bad man. ” So yelled Dorothy at the Wizard of Oz, once the imposing, larger-than-life face on the screen was revealed to be a mere projection of a tiny old man behind a curtain fidgeting with levers and knobs.

“No, my dear.” The embarrassed all-too-human wizard answered back, “I’m a very good man. I'm just a very bad wizard.”

Given the lurid allegations about Gen. David Petraeus with Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley—many of them still unproven but perhaps with still more to surface from an FBI investigation—is the wizard Petraeus now revealed as a “very bad man”? Or is he just a “very bad general”—or both, or neither?

Photo credit: isafmedia

All we know for now is that Petraeus has confessed to a single extramarital relationship with his biographer Paula Broadwell. And he insists that the affair developed after he left the Army, during his directorship of the CIA. Under convoluted circumstances, the tryst became known to the FBI and, shortly after, to the Obama administration, leading to Petraeus’s resignation 72 hours after the 2012 presidential election. But what has all this got to do with any assessment of Petraeus as a military commander in the field?

Most Americans remain ambivalent about the personal lives of their politicians—how could they not be given the legacy of Bill Clinton? But even in the past, they seemed to have put up with infidelity and did not consider the affairs of a Warren Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, or John F. Kennedy as referenda on their political effectiveness. But there were important qualifications: The lapses should not involve illegality and be kept largely out of the newspapers—which stand in stark contrast to the public scandals that ruined the reputations of John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliot Spitzer, and others. It helps also to be effective politicians. They weather personal scandals far better than do mediocrities, whose fall from public life is rarely missed. Schwarzenegger’s sexual failings were well known—and dismissed—when he ran for California governor in a wave of popular goodwill, but came back to haunt him only when as a two-term ineffective governor, his tryst with his housekeeper became the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back of voter forgiveness.

Judging Generals as Generals

Are generals, however, to be judged under different rules? Unlike most politicians, they operate under more stringent codes of personal conduct and are often in harm’s way with responsibilities for the lives of thousands under their commands.

History offers some rough guidelines to the real men who wore masks of command. In a word, many of the best were as pursuant of women as they were of the enemy—and the former did not seem to impair the latter. Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, and Plutarch have as much to say about Alexander the Great’s alcohol-driven sexual liaisons as they do about his brilliance on the battlefield. The court biographer Suetonius related that Julius Caesar—the finest general that Rome produced—was alleged by a critic to be, “Every woman’s man, and every man’s woman.” Cleopatra seduced both Caesar and Marc Antony when they deployed to Egypt.

In postclassical—and supposedly more staid times—the married Napoleon was a confirmed womanizer, often in the midst of his campaigning to unify Europe under French leadership. The equally married 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Napoleon’s conqueror at Waterloo, apparently made it a point to sleep with two of Napoleon’s mistresses, the Parisian Marguerite Weimer and the acclaimed beautiful Italian singer Josephina Grassini. Weimer was supposedly asked to rate the two great generals on their comparable sexual prowess and came down firmly on the side of the Duke: “Monsieur Le Duc etait de beaucoup le plus fort.” Wellington’s contemporary, Lord Horatio Nelson conducted an open affair with the married model, actress, and sometimes singer, Emma Hamilton.

If such dalliances hampered their generalship, it is hard to see how and where. The personal lives of an array British imperial military heroes—William Howe, Herbert Kitchener, and Orde Wingate—were surrounded in salacious controversy, and the rumors had no effect whatsoever on their military careers.

America’s best commanders were often subject to allegations of womanizing. Some controversial biographers have alleged that William Tecumseh Sherman, the man who gave Lincoln the 1864 election by taking Atlanta, engaged in a number of affairs during his postwar military career. Fleet admiral Ernest King, who more or less singlehandedly directed U.S. naval strategy in World War II, was an inveterate skirt chaser. Gen. Douglas MacArthur was mired in a publicized feud with gossipmonger Drew Pearson over his exposed affair with the Eurasian Rosario “Dimples” Cooper, whom MacArthur had brought to Washington from the Philippines when he was appointed Army Chief of Staff. When MacArthur began his relationship with the 16-year-old Cooper, she was over 30 years younger than the general.

More controversial was the near inexplicable behavior of the usually sober and judicious Dwight Eisenhower, who oversaw all allied ground operations in Europe after June 1944. Ike spent much of his time at the front accompanied by his chauffeur, the thirty-six-year-old British subject Kay Summersby, who, in old age, would go on to claim in her ghost-written memoir (Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower) that the two had been in love and that the general had been unable to consummate their affair.

George S. Patton proved the best armored commander in American history. He was also profane and boisterous—and saved thousands of American lives by his brilliant leadership of the 3rd Army during the nine months between August 1944 and April 1945. Patton was probably having an ongoing affair with his wife’s half-niece Jean Gordon, perhaps beginning years before the war when Jean, who would later commit suicide after Patton’s death, was in her early twenties. At any rate, a close colleague once wrote in his diary that Patton, in the midst of the pursuit of the German army, bragged to him of Gordon, “She’s been mine for twelve years.” The list of philandering American generals, some of them brilliant, many more mediocre, is near endless. But it still begs the question—so what?

The answer is not so clear cut, given that it involves morality, legality, responsibility—and, most importantly—military performance. In response to rumors swirling from the front, should Gen. George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, have warned Eisenhower either to send Kay Summersby home or to have come home himself—thus depriving the allies of about the only senior general who was capable of waging coalition war alongside the British and in dealing with the enormous egos of Gens. Bernard Montgomery, Omar Bradley, and George S. Patton?

By removing Patton from major military responsibility for slapping two soldiers in Sicily, Eisenhower already had robbed the American army of critical leadership on the eve of the Italian invasion, a theater that would be plagued by inept decision-making that cost tens of thousands of American lives. Should Ike have also sent Patton home as he later barreled toward the Siegfried Line, on rumors that he was once more seeing Jean Gordon?

On the other hand, did Kay Summersby offer the lonely and often stressed Ike much needed companionship that energized his command, or did such flirtation waste valuable hours that prevented Eisenhower from being fully engaged when the allies under his command committed strategic and tactical blunders by not closing the Falaise Pocket, carrying through with the ill-conceived Market-Garden operation, or being utterly surprised and unprepared at the Battle of the Bulge? No historian has ever made such allegations.

The Case of David Petraeus

In the case of David Petraeus, his leadership in Iraq between early 2007 and late 2008 was critical to the success of the surge that may well have salvaged the entire American effort in Iraq—an achievement that is unaltered by Petraeus’s later personal failings. True, his 2010-11 tenure in Afghanistan was marked by an inability to apply the successful Iraqi counter-insurgency protocols to a far more difficult theater of operations. The degree to which Paula Broadwell’s more frequent presence in Afghanistan distracted Petraeus is unknown, but it is unlikely that Petraeus’s personal life accounts for his failure to pull off yet another improbable victory—given the innate greater difficulty of waging counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

Is the moral character of top commanders to be judged by absolute fidelity without the knowledge of the exact circumstances of one’s marriage? In other words, does the rumored presence of a Kay Summersby, Jean Gordon, or Paula Broadwell always undermine the moral force of a general’s leadership? In the present U.S. military that is gender-blind, and to the extent that such dalliances become well known to troops under a general’s command, the answer is probably yes.

Yet to the degree affairs remain private, the question then hinges on whether they detract from a commander’s ability to lead—by simply wasting precious time, causing mental turmoil and guilt, or inducing paranoia over exposure. Here we do not know the answer, and can hardly attribute a general’s setbacks to romantic distractions. In the case of David Petraeus, his tenure at CENTCOM, as senior ground commander in Afghanistan, and as Director of the CIA, was not marked with the same energy and competence as displayed earlier in Iraq. But either health issues—an older Petraeus battled prostate cancer in his post-Iraq billets—or the nature of the different commands, may explain the difference far better than hours spent jogging alongside Broadwell.

Finally, military codes of conduct also explain a lot. Nothing Wellington or Nelson did was illegal. For that matter, a more prudish America did not demand that its generals be relieved of command for extra-marital relations during World War II. After all, the Commander in Chief Franklin Roosevelt himself was not innocent. However, with the rise of the modern fully integrated military, a whole array of new standards of conduct arose to deal with the presence of tens of thousands of female soldiers at the front. Petraeus’s problem, then, could also have become legal, if information had arisen that, despite his denials, the general had become involved with Broadwell on active duty—while responsible for sending home any subordinate married officers caught in similar romantic relationships.

For now, what are the moral parameters for American military leadership? They are certainly different from the past when military brilliance, the rigors of lonely command at the front, and an ability to keep private lives from public attention provided generals and admirals de facto exemption. We live in both a more risqué and repressed age—as popular culture celebrates raw sexuality even as we become ever more moralistic about sex.

In the complex new culture, the rules are nevertheless clear for America’s generals and admirals, and they hinge entirely on absolute adherence to the military code of conduct: engage in an extramarital affair and get caught, and your military career will be all but ended—regardless of whether you are another Ike or Patton.

The French Revolution

Though the queen had supported Jacques Necker’s return to power at the end of August 1788 and had approved of the concession of double representation to the Third Estate, her unpopularity was at its height when the Estates-General convened at Versailles in May 1789. This was because she was regarded, though without justification, as an associate of the reactionary coterie of the king’s brother Charles, comte d’Artois, and because of the aspersions cast on her character by the king’s cousin, Louis-Philippe-Joseph, duc d’Orléans. At the end of May she seemed to have intervened little in politics, as she was distracted by the illness of her elder son, who died early in June.

During the crises of 1789 as well as those to come, Marie-Antoinette proved to be stronger and more decisive than her husband. After a crowd stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the queen failed to convince Louis to take refuge with his army at Metz. In August–September, however, she successfully prodded him to resist the attempts of the Revolutionary National Assembly to abolish feudalism and restrict the royal prerogative. As a result, she became the main target of the popular agitators, whose animosity contributed to the legend that, on being told that the people had no bread, she callously remarked, “Let them eat cake!” (“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!”). In October 1789 popular pressure compelled the royal family to return from Versailles to Paris, where they became hostages of the Revolutionary movement. During this time the queen had been deprived of the company of many of her most intimate friends, as they had emigrated after the fall of the Bastille, but she continued to display great personal courage that sustained the royal family both then and throughout its later disasters.

Because of Louis XVI’s irresolution, Marie-Antoinette was to play an increasingly important part in the secret intrigues to liberate the royal family from its virtual captivity in Paris. In May 1790 the queen reached out to the comte de Mirabeau, a prominent member of the National Assembly who hoped to restore the authority of the crown. She never fully trusted Mirabeau, however, and the king refused to contemplate a civil war, which would have been the inevitable result of Mirabeau’s initial plans. They called for an escape to the interior of France and an appeal for royalist support in the provinces. After Mirabeau’s death in April 1791, the queen turned to émigrés and friends outside France for help. It was with the assistance of the Swedish count Hans Axel von Fersen, French aristocrat Louis Auguste Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, and royalist general François-Claude-Amour de Bouillé that the plans were laid for the flight of the royal family to Montmédy, on the eastern frontier. They arranged for the king and queen to escape from Paris on the night of June 20, but Revolutionary forces apprehended the royal couple at Varennes (June 25) and escorted them back to Paris.

Characteristics of the principal classes

Despite controversies over the theory of class, there is general agreement among social scientists on the characteristics of the principal social classes in modern societies. Sociologists generally posit three classes: upper, working (or lower), and middle.

The upper class in modern capitalist societies is often distinguished by the possession of largely inherited wealth. The ownership of large amounts of property and the income derived from it confer many advantages upon the members of the upper class. They are able to develop a distinctive style of life based on extensive cultural pursuits and leisure activities, to exert a considerable influence on economic policy and political decisions, and to procure for their children a superior education and economic opportunities that help to perpetuate family wealth.

Historically, the principal contrast with the upper class in industrial societies was provided by the working class, which traditionally consisted of manual workers in the extractive and manufacturing industries. Given the vast expansion of the service sector in the world’s most advanced economies, it has been necessary to broaden this definition to include in the working class those persons who hold low-paying, low-skilled, nonunionized jobs in such industries as food service and retail sales. There are considerable differences within the working class, however, and a useful distinction exists between skilled, semiskilled, and unskilled workers that broadly corresponds to differences in income level. What characterizes the working class as a whole is a lack of property and dependence on wages. Associated with this condition are relatively low living standards, restricted access to higher education, and exclusion, to a large extent, from the spheres of important decision making. Aside from the dramatic rise in living standards that occurred in the decades after World War II, the main factor affecting the working class since the mid-20th century was a general shift in the economy from manufacturing to service industries, which reduced the number of manual workers. In the United States and Britain, among other countries, the decline in traditional manufacturing industries left a core of chronically unemployed persons isolated from the economic mainstream in decaying urban areas. This new urban substratum of permanently jobless and underemployed workers has been termed the underclass by some sociologists.

The middle class may be said to include the middle and upper levels of clerical workers, those engaged in technical and professional occupations, supervisors and managers, and such self-employed workers as small-scale shopkeepers, businesspersons, and farmers. At the top—wealthy professionals or managers in large corporations—the middle class merges into the upper class, while at the bottom—routine and poorly paid jobs in sales, distribution, and transport—it merges into the working class.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Brian Duignan, Senior Editor.


The first ever anti-miscegenation law was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 1691, criminalizing interracial marriage. [3] In a speech in Charleston, Illinois, in 1858, Abraham Lincoln stated, "I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people". [4] By the late 1800s, 38 US states had anti-miscegenation statutes. [3] By 1924, the ban on interracial marriage was still in force in 29 states. [3] While interracial marriage had been legal in California since 1948, in 1957 actor Sammy Davis Jr. faced a backlash for his relationship with a white actress. [5] Davis briefly married a black dancer in 1958 to protect himself from mob violence. [5]

In 1958, officers in Virginia entered the home of Richard and Mildred Loving and dragged them out of bed for living together as an interracial couple, on the basis that "any white person intermarry with a colored person"— or vice versa—each party "shall be guilty of a felony" and face prison terms of five years. [3] The law was ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia. [3]

Early prohibitions on interracial marriages date back to the rule of the Dutch East India Company when High Commissioner Van Rheede prohibited marriages between European settlers and heelslag or full-blooded slave women (that is, of pure Asian or African origin) in 1685. The ban was never enforced. [6]

In 1927, the Pact coalition government passed a law prohibiting marriages between whites and blacks (though not between whites and "coloured" people). An attempt was made to extend this ban in 1936 to marriages between whites and coloureds when a bill was introduced in parliament, but a commission of inquiry recommended against it. [7]

South Africa's Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, passed in 1949 under Apartheid, forbade marriages between whites and anyone deemed to be non-whites. The Population Registration Act (No. 30) of 1950 provided the basis for separating the population of South Africa into different races. Under the terms of this act, all residents of South Africa were to be classified as white, coloured, or native (later called Bantu) people. Indians were included under the category "Asian" in 1959. Also in 1950, the Immorality Act was passed, which criminalized all sexual relations between whites and non-whites. The Immorality Act of 1950 extended an earlier ban on sexual relations between whites and blacks (the Immorality Act [No. 5] of 1927) to a ban on sexual relations between whites and any non-whites. [8] Both Acts were repealed in 1985 as part of the reforms carried out during the tenure of P. W. Botha.

Egypt Edit

In Egypt the government reviews [ further explanation needed ] all marriages between Egyptian men and Israeli women to decide on an individual basis whether to strip the men of their Egyptian citizenship. The cabinet takes into consideration whether the Israeli woman is an Arab or a Jew.

Egyptian law says citizenship can only be revoked if the citizen is proven to be spying on his country, and marrying an Israeli is considered an act of spying or a risk to national security. [9] [10]

Saudi Arabia Edit

Saudi women are prohibited from marrying men other than Arab citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries without special dispensation from the King. [11] Under Shari'a law, Saudi women, as Muslims, are not permitted under any circumstances to marry non-Muslim men. [12]

Saudi men require a government permit to marry a foreign woman and must be at least 25 years old to apply for such a permit. They may obtain a permit to take a foreign woman as a second wife only if their first wife has cancer, is disabled, or is unable to bear children. Saudi men are forbidden to marry women from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Chad and Pakistan. Supposedly, this decision was predicated on the population of these countries collectively surpassing 500,000. [13]

China Edit

Laws and policies which discouraged miscegenation were issued in various dynasties, including an 836 AD decree forbidding Chinese to have relations with other peoples such as Iranians, Arabs, Indians, Malays, Sumatrans, and so on. [14]

India Edit

While there are no specific provisions in the Constitution of India regarding the freedom to marry someone from a different race, Article 21 of the Constitution, which is a Fundamental Right, is widely regarded as to provide that freedom as it comes under "personal liberty", which the Constitution guarantees to protect. [15]

After the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, [16] several anti-miscegenation laws were passed by the British colonial government. [17]

North Korea Edit

After the deterioration of relations between North Korea and the Soviet Union in the 1960s, North Korea began to enact practices such as forcing its male citizens who had married Eastern European and African women to divorce. [18]

Additionally, the North Korean government has been accused of performing forced abortions and infanticides on repatriated defectors to "prevent the survival of half-Chinese babies". [19]

Nazi Germany Edit

The U.S. was the global leader in codified racism, and its race laws fascinated the Germans. [20] The National Socialist Handbook for Law and Legislation of 1934–35, edited by the lawyer Hans Frank, contains a pivotal essay by Herbert Kier on the recommendations for race legislation which devoted a quarter of its pages to U.S. legislation—from segregation, race based citizenship, immigration regulations, and anti-miscegenation. [20] The Nazis enacted miscegenation statutes which discriminated against Jews, Roma and Sinti ("Gypsies"), and Black people. The Nazis considered the Jews to be a race supposedly bound by close genetic (blood) ties to form a unit which one could neither join nor secede from, rather than a religious group of people. The influence of Jews had been declared to have detrimental impact on Germany, in order to justify the discrimination and persecutions of Jews. To be spared, one had to prove one's Aryan descent, normally by obtaining an Aryan certificate.

Jews, Romani and Black people Edit

Although Nazi doctrine stressed the importance of physiognomy and genes in determining race, in practice race was determined only through the religions followed by each individual's ancestors. Individuals were considered non-'Aryan' (i.e. Jewish) if at least three of four of their grandparents had been enrolled as members of a Jewish congregation it did not matter if those grandparents had been born to a Jewish mother or had converted to Judaism. The actual religious beliefs of the individual himself or herself were also immaterial, as was the individual's status under Halachic law.

An anti-miscegenation law was enacted by the Nazi government in September 1935 as part of the Nuremberg Laws. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour ('Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre'), enacted on 15 September 1935, forbade sexual relations and marriages between Germans classified as so-called 'Aryans' and Germans classified as Jews. [21] This applied also to marriages concluded in Germany with only one spouse of German citizenship. On 26 November 1935, the law was extended to include, "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring". [22] [23] [24] Such extramarital intercourse was marked as Rassenschande ("race defilement") and could be punished by imprisonment — later usually followed by the deportation to a concentration camp, often entailing the inmate's death. Germans of African and other non-European descent were classified following their own origin or the origin of their parents. Sinti and Roma ("Gypsies") were mostly categorised following police records, e.g. mentioning them or their forefathers as Gypsies, when having been met by the police as travelling peddlers.

The existing 20,454 (as of 1939) marriages between persons racially regarded as so-called 'Aryans' and non-Aryans — called mixed marriages (German: Mischehe) — would continue. [25] However, the government eased the conditions for the divorce of mixed marriages. [26] In the beginning the Nazi authorities hoped to make the 'Aryan' partner get a divorce from their non-Aryan-classified spouses, by granting easy legal divorce procedures and opportunities for the 'Aryan' spouse to withhold most of the common property after a divorce. [27] Those who stuck to their spouse would suffer discriminations like dismissal from public employment, exclusion from civic society organisations, etc. [28]

Any children — whenever born — within a mixed marriage, as well as children from extramarital mixed relationships born until 31 July 1936, were discriminated against as Mischlinge. However, children later born to mixed parents, not yet married at passing the Nuremberg Laws, were to be discriminated against as Geltungsjuden, regardless if the parents had meanwhile married abroad or remained unmarried. Any children who were enrolled in a Jewish congregation were also subject to discrimination as Geltungsjuden.

According to the Nazi family value attitude, the husband was regarded the head of a family. Thus people living in a mixed marriage were treated differently according to the sex of the 'Aryan' spouse and according to the religious affiliation of the children, their being or not being enrolled with a Jewish congregation. Nazi-termed mixed marriages were often not interfaith marriages, because in many cases the classification of one spouse as non-Aryan was only due to her or his grandparents being enrolled with a Jewish congregation or else classified as non-Aryan. In many cases both spouses had a common faith, either because the parents had already converted or because at marrying one spouse converted to the religion of the second (marital conversion). Traditionally the wife used to be the convert. [29] However, in urban areas and after 1900, actual interfaith marriages occurred more often, with interfaith marriages legally allowed in some states of the German Confederation since 1847, and generally since 1875, when civil marriage became an obligatory prerequisite for any religious marriage ceremony throughout the united Germany.

Most mixed marriages occurred with one spouse being considered as non-Aryan, due to his or her Jewish descent. Many special regulations were developed for such couples. A differentiation of privileged and other mixed marriages emerged on 28 December 1938, when Hermann Göring discretionarily ordered this in a letter to the Reich's Ministry of the Interior. [30] The "Gesetz über die Mietverhältnisse mit Juden" (English: Law on Tenancies with Jews ) of 30 April 1939, allowing proprietors to unconditionally cancel tenancy contracts with Germans classified as Jews, thus forcing them to move into houses reserved for them, for the first time enacted Göring's creation. The law defined privileged mixed marriages and exempted them from the act. [31]

The legal definitions decreed that the marriage of a Gentile husband and his wife, being a Jewess or being classified as a Jewess due to her descent, was generally considered to be a privileged mixed marriage, unless they had children who were enrolled in a Jewish congregation. Then the husband was obviously not the dominant part in the family and the wife had to wear the yellow badge and the children as well, who were thus discriminated against as Geltungsjuden. Without children, or with children not enrolled with a Jewish congregation, the Jewish-classified wife was spared from wearing the yellow badge (else compulsory for Germans classified as Jews as of 1 September 1941).

In the opposite case, when the wife was classified as a so-called 'Aryan' and the husband as a Jew, the husband had to wear the yellow badge, if they had no children or children enrolled with a Jewish congregation. In case they had common children not enrolled in a Jewish congregation (irreligionist, Christian etc.) they were discriminated as Mischlinge and their father was spared from wearing the yellow badge.

Since there was no elaborate regulation, the practice of exempting privileged mixed marriages from anti-Semitic invidiousnesses varied amongst Greater Germany's different Reichsgaue. However, all discriminations enacted until 28 December 1938, remained valid without exemptions for privileged mixed marriages. In the Reichsgau Hamburg, for example, Jewish-classified spouses living in privileged mixed marriages received equal food rations like Aryan-classified Germans. In many other Reichsgaue they received shortened rations. [32] In some Reichsgaue in 1942 and 1943, privileged mixed couples, and their minor children whose father was classified as a Jew, were forced to move into houses reserved for Jews only this effectively made a privileged mixed marriage one where the husband was the one classified as so-called 'Aryan'.

The inconsistent application of privileged mixed marriages led to different compulsions to forced labour in 1940: Sometimes it was ordered for all Jewish-classified spouses, sometimes for Jewish-classified husbands, sometimes exempting Jewish-classified wives taking care of minor children. No document or law indicated the exemption of a mixed marriage from some persecutions and especially of its Jewish-classified spouse. [33] Thus if arrested, non-arrested relatives or friends had to prove their exemption status, hopefully fast enough to rescue the arrested from any deportation.

Systematic deportations of Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent started on 18 October 1941. [34] German Jews and German Gentiles of Jewish descent living in mixed marriage were in fact mostly spared from deportation. [35] In case a mixed marriage ended by death of the 'Aryan' spouse or divorce, the Jewish-classified spouse residing within Germany was usually deported soon after, unless the couple still had minor children not counting as Geltungsjuden. [32]

In March 1943, an attempt to deport the Berlin-based Jews and Gentiles of Jewish descent living in non-privileged mixed marriages, failed due to public protest by their relatives-in-law of 'Aryan kinship' (see Rosenstraße protest). Also, the Aryan-classified husbands and Mischling-classified children (starting at the age of 16) from mixed marriages were taken by the Organisation Todt for forced labour, starting in autumn 1944.

A last attempt, undertaken in February/March 1945 ended, because the extermination camps already were liberated. However, 2,600 from all areas of the Reich, not yet captured by the Allies, were deported to Theresienstadt, of whom most survived the last months until their liberation. [36]

With the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 the laws banning mixed marriages were lifted again. Marriage dates could be backdated, if so desired, for couples who lived together unmarried during the Nazi era due to the legal restrictions, upon marrying after the war. [37] Even if one spouse was already dead, the marriage could be retroactively recognised, in order to legitimise any children and enable them or the surviving spouse to inherit from their late father or partner, respectively. In the West German Federal Republic of Germany 1,823 couples applied for recognition (until 1963), which was granted in 1,255 cases. [38]

France Edit

In 1723, 1724 and 1774 several administrative acts forbade interracial marriages, mainly in colonies, although it is not clear if these acts were lawful. On 2 May 1746, the Parlement de Paris validated an interracial marriage. [39]

Under King Louis XVI, the order of the Conseil du Roi of 5 April 1778, signed by Antoine de Sartine, forbade "whites of either sex to contract marriage with blacks, mulattos or other people of color" in the Kingdom, as the number of blacks had increased so much in France, mostly in the capital. [40] Nevertheless, it was an interracial marriage prohibition, not an interracial sex prohibition. Moreover, it was an administrative act, not a law. There was never any racial law about marriage in France, [41] with the exception of French Louisiana. [42] But some restricted rules were applied about heritage and nobility. In any case, nobles needed the King's authorization for their marriage.

On 20 September 1792, all restrictions regarding interracial marriage were repealed by the Revolutionary government. [43] On 8 January 1803, a Napoleonic governmental circular forbade marriages between white males and black women, or black men and white women, [44] although the 1804 Napoleonic code did not mention anything specific about interracial marriage. In 1806, a French court validated an interracial marriage. [45] In 1818, the highest French court (cour de cassation) validated a marriage contracted in New York between a white man and a colored woman. [46] All administrative prohibitions were canceled by a law in 1833. [47]

Italy Edit

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century, the Ostrogoths under the Theodoric the Great established the Ostrogothic Kingdom at Ravenna, ruling Italy as a dominant minority. [48] [49] [50] In order to prevent the Romanization of his people, Theodoric forbade intermarriage between Goths and Romans. [48] [49] Theodoric's effort to separate Goths and Romans was however not entirely successful. [49] The Rugii, a Germanic tribe which supported Theodoric while preserving its independence within the Ostrogothic Kingdom, likewise avoided intermarriage with Goths and other tribes in order to preserve the purity of their race. [51] [52]

As part of the Charter of Race in Fascist Italy, laws prohibiting marriage between Italians and non-European races were passed in Italy and its foreign colonies. A subsequent Grand Council's resolution reiterated the prohibition of marriage between Italians and people belonging to Semitic, Hamitic, African and other non-European (or "non-Aryan") races it established also a ban on marriage between public servants and foreigners. [53] An analogous legislation was adopted in 1942 in the Fascist Republic of San Marino. [54]

Spain Edit

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century, the Visigoths established the Visigothic Kingdom in Iberia, ruling the peninsula as a dominant minority. The Visigoths were subjected to their own legal code, and were forbidden from intermarrying with the Romans. This law was abolished in the 6th century. [55]

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Charlemagne

CHARLEMAGNE [ Charles the Great ] (c. 742–814), Roman emperor, and king of the Franks, was the elder son of Pippin the Short, king of the Franks, and Bertha, or Bertrada, daughter of Charibert, count of Laon. The place of his birth is unknown and its date uncertain, although some authorities give it as the 2nd of April 742 doubts have been cast upon his legitimacy, and it is just possible that the marriage of Pippin and Bertha took place subsequent to the birth of their elder son. When Pippin was crowned king of the Franks at St Denis on the 28th of July 754 by Pope Stephen II., Charles, and his brother Carloman were anointed by the pope as a sign of their kingly rank. The rough surroundings of the Frankish court were unfavourable to the acquisition of learning, and Charles grew up almost ignorant of letters, but hardy in body and skilled in the use of weapons.

In 761 he accompanied his father on a campaign in Aquitaine, and in 763 undertook the government of several counties. In 768 Pippin divided his dominions between his two sons, and on his death soon afterwards Charles became the ruler of the northern portion of the Frankish kingdom, and was crowned at Noyon on the 9th of October 768. Bad feeling had existed for some time between Charles and Carloman, and when Charles early in 769 was called upon to suppress a rising in Aquitaine, his brother refused to afford him any assistance. This rebellion, however, was easily crushed, its leader, the Aquitainian duke Hunold, was made prisoner, and his territory more closely attached to the Frankish kingdom. About this time Bertha, having effected a temporary reconciliation between her sons, overcame the repugnance with which Pope Stephen III. regarded an alliance between Frank and Lombard, and brought about a marriage between Charles and a daughter of Desiderius, king of the Lombards. Charles had previously contracted a union, probably of an irregular nature, with a Frankish lady named Himiltrude, who had borne him a son Pippin, the “Hunchback.” The peace with the Lombards, in which the Bavarians as allies of Desiderius joined, was, however, soon broken. Charles thereupon repudiated his Lombard wife (Bertha or Desiderata) and married in 771 a princess of the Alamanni named Hildegarde. Carloman died in December 771, and Charles was at once recognized at Corbeny as sole king of the Franks. Carloman’s widow Gerberga had fled to the protection of the Lombard king, who espoused her cause and requested the new pope, Adrian I., to recognize her two sons as the lawful Frankish kings. Adrian, between whom and the Lombards other causes of quarrel existed, refused to assent to this demand, and when Desiderius invaded the papal territories he appealed to the Frankish king for help. Charles, who was at the moment engaged in his first Saxon campaign, expostulated with Desiderius but when such mild measures proved useless he led his forces across the Alps in 773. Gerberga and her children were delivered up and disappear from history the siege of Pavia was undertaken and at Easter 774 the king left the seat of war and visited Rome, where he was received with great respect.

During his stay in the city Charles renewed the donation which his father Pippin had made to the papacy in 754 or 756. This transaction has given rise to much discussion as to its trustworthiness and the extent of its operation. Our only authority, a passage in the Liber Pontificalis, describes the gift as including the whole of Italy and Corsica, except the lands north of the Po, Calabria and the city of Naples. The vast extent of this donation, which, moreover, included territories not owning Charles’s authority, and the fact that the king did not execute, or apparently attempt to execute, its provisions, has caused many scholars to look upon the passage as a forgery but the better ​ opinion would appear to be that it is genuine, or at least has a genuine basis. Various explanations have been suggested. The area of the grant may have been enlarged by later interpolations or it may have dealt with property rather than with sovereignty, and have only referred to estates claimed by the pope in the territories named or it is possible that Charles may have actually intended to establish an extensive papal kingdom in Italy, but was released from his promise by Adrian when the pope saw no chance of its fulfilment. Another supposition is that the author of the Liber Pontificalis gives the papal interpretation of a grant that had been expressed by Pippin in ambiguous terms and this view is supported by the history of the subsequent controversy between king and pope.

Returning to the scene of hostilities, Charles witnessed the capitulation of Pavia in June 774, and the capture of Desiderius, who was sent into a monastery. He now took the title “king of the Lombards,” to which he added the dignity of “Patrician of the Romans,” which had been granted to his father. Adalgis, the son of Desiderius, who was residing at Constantinople, hoped the emperor Leo IV. would assist him in recovering his father’s kingdom but a coalition formed for this purpose was ineffectual, and a rising led by his ally Rothgaud, duke of Friuli, was easily crushed by Charles in 776. In 777 the king was visited at Paderborn by three Saracen chiefs who implored his aid against Abd-ar-Rahman, the caliph of Cordova, and promised some Spanish cities in return for help. Seizing this opportunity to extend his influence Charles marched into Spain in 778 and took Pampeluna, but meeting with some checks decided to return. As the Frankish forces were defiling through the passes of the Pyrenees they were attacked by the Wascones (probably Basques), and the rearguard of the army was almost annihilated. It was useless to attempt to avenge this disaster, which occurred on the 15th of August 778, for the enemy disappeared as quickly as he came the incident has passed from the domain of history into that of legend and romance, being associated by tradition with the pass of Roncesvalles. Among the slain was one Hruodland, or Roland, margrave of the Breton march, whose death gave rise to the Chanson de Roland (see Roland, Legend of ).

Charles now sought to increase his authority in Italy, where Frankish counts were set over various districts, and where Hildebrand, duke of Spoleto, appears to have recognized his overlordship. In 780 he was again in the peninsula, and at Mantua issued an important capitulary which increased the authority of the Lombard bishops, relieved freemen who under stress of famine had sold themselves into servitude, and condemned abuses of the system of vassalage. At the same time commerce was encouraged by the abolition of unauthorized tolls and by an improvement of the coinage while the sale of arms to hostile peoples, and the trade in Christian slaves were forbidden. Proceeding to Rome, the king appears to have come to some arrangement with Adrian about the donation of 774. At Easter 781, Carloman, his second son by Hildegarde, was renamed Pippin and crowned king of Italy by Pope Adrian, and his youngest son Louis was crowned king of Aquitaine but no mention was made at the time of his eldest son Charles, who was doubtless intended to be king of the Franks. In 783 the king, having lost his wife Hildegarde, married Fastrada, the daughter of a Frankish count named Radolf and in the same year his mother Bertha died. The emperor Constantine VI. was at this time exhibiting some interest in Italian affairs, and Adalgis the Lombard was still residing at his court so Charles sought to avert danger from this quarter by consenting in 781 to a marriage between Constantine and his own daughter Rothrude. In 786 the entreaties of the pope and the hostile attitude of Arichis II., duke of Benevento, a son-in-law of Desiderius, called the king again into Italy. Arichis submitted without a struggle, though the basis of Frankish authority in his duchy was far from secure but in conjunction with Adalgis he sought aid from Constantinople. His plans were ended by his death in 787, and although the empress Irene, the real ruler of the eastern empire, broke off the projected marriage between her son and Rothrude, she appears to have given very little assistance to Adalgis, whose attack on Italy was easily repulsed. During this visit Charles had presented certain towns to Adrian, but an estrangement soon arose between king and pope over the claim of Charles to confirm the election to the archbishopric of Ravenna, and it was accentuated by Adrian’s objection to the establishment by Charles of Grimoald III. as duke of Benevento, in succession to his father Arichis.

These journeys and campaigns, however, were but interludes in the long and stubborn struggle between Charles and the Saxons, which began in 772 and ended in 804 with the incorporation of Saxony in the Carolingian empire (see Saxony ). This contest, in which the king himself took a very active part, brought the Franks into collision with the Wiltzi, a tribe dwelling east of the Elbe, who in 789 was reduced to dependence. A similar sequence of events took place in southern Germany. Tassilo III., duke of the Bavarians, who had on several occasions adopted a line of conduct inconsistent with his allegiance to Charles, was deposed in 788 and his duchy placed under the rule of Gerold, a brother-in-law of Charles, to be governed on the Frankish system (see Bavaria ). Having thus taken upon himself the control of Bavaria, Charles felt himself responsible for protecting its eastern frontier, which had long been menaced by the Avars, a people inhabiting the region now known as Hungary. He accordingly ravaged their country in 791 at the head of an army containing Saxon, Frisian, Bavarian and Alamannian warriors, which penetrated as far as the Raab and he spent the following year in Bavaria preparing for a second campaign against them, the conduct of which, however, he was compelled by further trouble in Saxony to entrust to his son king Pippin, and to Eric, margrave of Friuli. These deputies succeeded in 795 and 796 in taking possession of the vast treasures of the Avars, which were distributed by the king with lavish generosity to churches, courtiers and friends. A conspiracy against Charles, which his friend and biographer Einhard alleges was provoked by the cruelties of Queen Fastrada, was suppressed without difficulty in 792, and its leader, the king’s illegitimate son Pippin, was confined in a monastery till his death in 811. Fastrada died in August 794, when Charles took for his fourth wife an Alamannian lady named Liutgarde.

The continuous interest taken by the king in ecclesiastical affairs was shown at the synod of Frankfort, over which he presided in 794. It was on his initiative that this synod condemned the heresy of adoptianism and the worship of images, which had been restored in 787 by the second council of Nicaea and at the same time that council was declared to have been superfluous. This policy caused a further breach with Pope Adrian but when Adrian died in December 795, his successor, Leo III., in notifying his elevation to the king, sent him the keys of St Peter’s grave and the banner of the city, and asked Charles to send an envoy to receive his oath of fidelity. There is no doubt that Leo recognized Charles as sovereign of Rome. He was the first pope to date his acts according to the years of the Frankish monarchy, and a mosaic of the time in the Lateran palace represents St Peter bestowing the banners upon Charles as a token of temporal supremacy, while the coinage issued by the pope bears witness to the same idea. Leo soon had occasion to invoke the aid of his protector. In 799, after he had been attacked and maltreated in the streets of Rome during a procession, he escaped to the king at Paderborn, and Charles sent him back to Italy escorted by some of his most trusted servants. Taking the same journey himself shortly afterwards, the king reached Rome in 800 for the purpose (as he declared) of restoring discipline in the church. His authority was undisputed and after Leo had cleared himself by an oath of certain charges made against him, Charles restored the pope and banished his leading opponents.

The great event of this visit took place on the succeeding Christmas Day, when Charles on rising from prayer in St Peter’s was crowned by Leo and proclaimed emperor and augustus amid the acclamations of the crowd. This act can hardly have been unpremeditated, and some doubt has been cast upon the statement which Einhard attributes to Charles, that he would not ​ have entered the building had he known of the intention of Leo. He accepted the dignity at any rate without demur, and there seems little doubt that the question of assuming, or obtaining, this title had previously been discussed. His policy had been steadily leading up to this position, which was rather the emblem of the power he already held than an extension of the area of his authority. It is probable therefore that Charles either considered the coronation premature, as he was hoping to obtain the assent of the eastern empire to this step, or that, from fear of evils which he foresaw from the claim of the pope to crown the emperor, he wished to crown himself. All the evidence tends to show that it was the time or manner of the act rather than the act itself which aroused his temporary displeasure. Contemporary accounts lay stress upon the fact that as there was then no emperor, Constantinople being under the rule of Irene, it seemed good to Leo and his counsellors and the “rest of the Christian people” to choose Charles, already ruler of Rome, to fill the vacant office. However doubtful such conjectures concerning his intentions may be, it is certain that immediately after his coronation Charles sought to establish friendly relations with Constantinople, and even suggested a marriage between himself and Irene, as he had again become a widower in 800. The deposition and death of the empress foiled this plan and after a desultory warfare in Italy between the two empires, negotiations were recommenced which in 810 led to an arrangement between Charles and the eastern emperor, Nicephorus I. The death of Nicephorus and the accession of Michael I. did not interfere with the relations, and in 812 an embassy from Constantinople arrived at Aix-la-Chapelle, when Charles was acknowledged as emperor, and in return agreed to cede Venice and Dalmatia to Michael.

Increasing years and accumulating responsibilities now caused the emperor to alter somewhat his manner of life. No longer leading his armies in person he entrusted the direction of campaigns in various parts of his empire to his sons and other lieutenants, and from his favourite residence at Aix watched their progress with a keen and sustained interest. In 802 he ordered that a new oath of fidelity to him as emperor should be taken by all his subjects over twelve years of age. In 804 he was visited by Pope Leo, who returned to Rome laden with gifts. Before his coronation as emperor, Charles had entered into communications with the caliph of Bagdad, Harun-al-Rashid, probably in order to protect the eastern Christians, and in 801 he had received an embassy and presents from Harun. In the same year the patriarch of Jerusalem sent him the keys of the Holy Sepulchre and in 807 Harun not only sent further gifts, but appears to have confirmed the emperor’s rights in Jerusalem, which, however, probably amounted to no more than an undefined protectorate over the Christians in that part of the world. While thus extending his influence even into Asia, there was scarcely any part of Europe where the power of Charles did not make itself felt. He had not visited Spain since the disaster of Roncesvalles, but he continued to take a lively interest in the affairs of that country. In 798 he had concluded an alliance with Alphonso II., king of the Asturias, and a series of campaigns mainly under the leadership of King Louis resulted in the establishment of the “Spanish march,” a district between the Pyrenees and the Ebro stretching from Pampeluna to Barcelona, as a defence against the Saracens. In 799 the Balearic Islands had been handed over to Charles, and a long warfare was carried on both by sea and land between Frank and Saracen until 810, when peace was made between the emperor and El-Hakem, the emir of Cordova. Italy was equally the scene of continuous fighting. Grimoald of Benevento rebelled against his overlord the possession of Venice and Dalmatia was disputed by the two empires and Istria was brought into subjection.

With England the emperor had already entered into relations, and at one time a marriage was proposed between his son Charles and a daughter of Offa, king of the Mercians. English exiles were welcomed at his court he was mainly instrumental in restoring Eardwulf to the throne of Northumbria in 809 and Einhard includes the Scots within the sphere of his influence. In eastern Europe the Avars had owned themselves completely under his power in 805 campaigns against the Czechs in 805 and 806 had met with some success, and about the same time the land of the Sorbs was ravaged while at the western extremity of the continent the Breton nobles had done homage to Charles at Tours in 800. Thus the emperor’s dominions now stretched from the Eider to the Ebro, and from the Atlantic to the Elbe, the Saale and the Raab, and they also included the greater part of Italy while even beyond these bounds he exercised an acknowledged but shadowy authority. In 806 Charles arranged a division of his territories among his three legitimate sons, but this arrangement came to nothing owing to the death of Pippin in 810, and of the younger Charles in the following year. Charles then named his remaining son Louis as his successor and at his father’s command Louis took the crown from the altar and placed it upon his own head. This ceremony took place at Aix on the 11th of September 813. In 808 the Frankish authority over the Obotrites was interfered with by Gudrod (Godfrey), king of the Danes, who ravaged the Frisian coasts and spoke boastfully of leading his troops to Aix. To ward off these attacks Charles took a warm interest in the building of a fleet, which he reviewed in 811 but by this time Gudrod had been killed, and his successor Hemming made peace with the emperor.

In 811 Charles made his will, which shows that he contemplated the possibility of abdication. The bulk of his possessions were left to the twenty-one metropolitan churches of his dominions, and the remainder to his children, his servants and the poor. In his last years he passed most of his days at Aix, though he had sufficient energy to take the field for a short time during the Danish War. Early in 814 he was attacked by a fever which he sought to subdue by fasting but pleurisy supervened, and after partaking of the communion, he died on the 28th of January 814, and on the same day his body was buried in the church of St Mary at Aix. In the year 1000 his tomb was opened by the emperor Otto III., but the account that Otto found the body upright upon a throne with a golden crown on the head and holding a golden sceptre in the hands, is generally regarded as legendary. The tomb was again opened by the emperor Frederick I. in 1165, when the remains were removed from a marble sarcophagus and placed in a wooden coffin. Fifty years later they were transferred by order of the emperor Frederick II. to a splendid shrine, in which the relics are still exhibited once in every six years. The sarcophagus in which the body originally lay may still be seen at Aix, and other relics of the great emperor are in the imperial treasury at Vienna. In 1165 Charles was canonized by the antipope Paschal III. at the instance of the emperor Frederick I., and Louis XI. of France gave strict orders that the feast of the saint should be observed.

The personal appearance of Charles is thus described by Einhard:—“Big and robust in frame, he was tall, but not excessively so, measuring about seven of his own feet in height. His eyes were large and lustrous, his nose rather long and his countenance bright and cheerful.” He had a commanding presence, a clear but somewhat feeble voice, and in later life became rather corpulent. His health was uniformly good, owing perhaps to his moderation in eating and drinking, and to his love for hunting and swimming. He was an affectionate father, and loved to pass his time in the company of his children, to whose education he paid the closest attention. His sons were trained for war and the chase, and his daughters instructed in the spinning of wool and other feminine arts. His ideas of sexual morality were primitive. Many concubines are spoken of, he had several illegitimate children, and the morals of his daughters were very loose. He was a regular observer of religious rites, took great pains to secure decorum in the services of the church, and was generous in almsgiving both within his empire and without. He reformed the Frankish liturgy, and brought singers from Rome to improve the services of the church. He had considerable knowledge of theology, took a prominent part in the theological controversies of the time, and was responsible for the addition of the clause filioque to the Nicene Creed. The most ​ attractive feature of his character, however, was his love of learning. In addition to his native tongue he could read Latin and understood Greek, but he was unable to write, and Einhard gives an account of his futile efforts to learn this art in later life. He loved the reading of histories and astronomy, and by questioning travellers gained some knowledge of distant parts of the earth. He attended lectures on grammar, and his favourite work was St Augustine’s De civitate Dei. He caused Frankish sagas to be collected, began a grammar of his native tongue, and spent some of his last hours in correcting a text of the Vulgate. He delighted in the society of scholars—Alcuin, Angilbert, Paul the Lombard, Peter of Pisa and others, and in this company the trappings of rank were laid aside and the emperor was known simply as David. Under his patronage Alcuin organized the school of the palace, where the royal children were taught in the company of others, and founded a school at Tours which became the model for many other establishments. Charles was unwearying in his efforts to improve the education of clergy and laity, and in 789 ordered that schools should be established in every diocese. The atmosphere of these schools was strictly ecclesiastical and the questions discussed by the scholars were often puerile, but the greatness of the educational work of Charles will not be doubted when one considers the rude condition of Frankish society half a century before. The main work of the Carolingian renaissance was to restore Latin to its position as a literary language, and to reintroduce a correct system of spelling and an improved handwriting. The manuscripts of the time are accurate and artistic, copies of valuable books were made and by careful collation the texts were purified.

Charles was not a great warrior. His victories were won rather by the power of organization, which he possessed in a marked degree, and he was eager to seize ideas and prompt in their execution. He erected a stone bridge with wooden piers across the Rhine at Mainz, and began a canal between the Altmühl and the Rednitz to connect the Rhine and the Danube, but this work was not finished. He built palaces at Aix (his favourite residence), Nijmwegen and Ingelheim, and erected the church of St Mary at Aix, modelled on that of St Vitalis at Ravenna and adorned with columns and mosaics brought from the same city. He loved the simple dress and manners of the Franks, and on two occasions only did he assume the more stately attire of a Roman noble. The administrative system of Charles in church and state was largely personal, and he brought to the work an untiring industry, and a marvellous grasp of detail. He admonished the pope, appointed the bishops, watched over the morals and work of the clergy, and took an active part in the deliberations of church synods he founded bishoprics and monasteries, was lavish in his gifts to ecclesiastical foundations, and chose bishops and abbots for administrative work. As the real founder of the ecclesiastical state, he must be held mainly responsible for the evils which resulted from the policy of the church in exalting the ecclesiastical over the secular authority.

In secular affairs Charles abolished the office of duke, placed counts over districts smaller than the former duchies, and supervised their government by means of missi dominici, officials responsible to himself alone. Marches were formed on all the borders of the empire, and the exigencies of military service led to the growth of a system of land-tenure which contained the germ of feudalism. The assemblies of the people gradually changed their character under his rule. No longer did the nation come together to direct and govern, but the emperor summoned his people to assent to his acts. Taking a lively interest in commerce and agriculture, Charles issued various regulations for the organization of the one and the improvement of the other. He introduced a new system of weights and measures, which he ordered should be used throughout his kingdom, and took steps to reform the coinage. He was a voluminous lawgiver. Without abolishing the customary law of the German tribes, which is said to have been committed to writing by his orders, he added to it by means of capitularies, and thus introduced certain Christian principles and customs, and some degree of uniformity.

The extent and glamour of his empire exercised a potent spell on western Europe. The aim of the greatest of his successors was to restore it to its pristine position and influence, while many of the French rulers made its re-establishment the goal of their policy. Otto the Great to a considerable extent succeeded Louis XIV. referred frequently to the empire of Charlemagne and Napoleon regarded him as his prototype and predecessor. The empire of Charles, however, was not lasting. In spite of his own wonderful genius the seeds of weakness were sown in his lifetime. The church was too powerful, an incipient feudalism was present, and there was no real bond of union between the different races that acknowledged his authority. All the vigilance of the emperor could not restrain the dishonesty and the cupidity of his servants, and no sooner was the strong hand of their ruler removed than they began to acquire territorial power for themselves.

Authorities. —The chief authorities for the life and times of Charlemagne are Einhard’s Vita Karoli Magni, the Annales Laurissenses majores, the Annales Fuldenses, and other annals, which are published in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores, Band i. and ii., edited by G. H. Pertz (Hanover and Berlin, 1826–1892). For the capitularies see Capitularia regum Francorum, edited by A. Boretius in the Monumenta. Leges. Many of the songs of the period appear in the Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, edited by E. Dümmler (Berlin, 1881–1884). The Bibliotheca rerum Germanicarum, tome iv., edited by Ph. Jaffé (Berlin, 1864–1873), contains some of the emperor’s correspondence, and Hincmar’s De ordine palatii, edited by M. Prou (Paris, 1884), is also valuable.

The best modern authorities are S. Abel and B. Simson, Jahrbücher des fränkischen Reiches unter Karl dem Grossen (Leipzig, 1883–1888) G. Richter and H. Kohl, Annalen des fränkischen Reichs im Zeitalter der Karolinger (Halle, 1885–1887) E. Mühlbacher, Deutsche Geschichte unter den Karolingern (Stuttgart, 1886) H. Brosien, Karl der Grosse (Leipzig and Prague, 1885) J. I. Mombert, History of Charles the Great (London, 1888) M. Lipp, Das fränkische Grenzsystem unter Karl dem Grossen (Breslau, 1892) J. von Döllinger, Das Kaiserthum Karls des Grossen und seiner Nachfolger (Munich, 1864) F. von Wyss, Karl der Grosse als Gesetzgeber (Zürich, 1869) Th. Sickel, Lehre von den Urkunden der ersten Karolinger (Vienna, 1867) E. Dümmler in the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, Band xv. Th. Lindner, Die Fabel von der Bestattung Karls des Grossen (Aix-la-Chapelle, 1893) J. A. Ketterer, Karl der Grosse und die Kirche (Munich and Leipzig, 1898) and J. B. Mullinger, The Schools of Charles the Great and the Restoration of Education in the 9th century (London, 1877).

The work of the monk of St Gall is found in the Monumenta, Band ii. an edition of the Historia de vita Caroli Magni et Rolandi, edited by F. Castets, has been published (Paris, 1880), and an edition of the Kaiserchronik, edited by E. Schröder (Hanover, 1892). See also P. Clemen, Die Porträtdarstellung Karls des Grossen (Aix-la-Chapelle, 1896). ( A. W. H.* )

Innumerable legends soon gathered round the memory of the great emperor. He was represented as a warrior performing superhuman feats, as a ruler dispensing perfect justice, and even as a martyr suffering for the faith. It was confidently believed towards the close of the 10th century that he had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and, like many other great rulers, it was reported that he was only sleeping to awake in the hour of his country’s need. We know from Einhard (Vita Karoli, cap. xxix.) that the Frankish heroic ballads were drawn up in writing by Charlemagne’s order, and it may be accepted as certain that he was himself the subject of many such during his lifetime. The legendary element crept even into the Latin panegyrics produced by the court poets. Before the end of the 9th century a monk of St Gall drew up a chronicle De gestis Karoli Magni, which was based partly on oral tradition, received from an old soldier named Adalbert, who had served in Charlemagne’s army. This recital contains various fabulous incidents. The author relates a conversation between Otkar the Frank (Ogier the Dane) and the Lombard king Desiderius (Didier) on the walls of Pavia in view of Charlemagne’s advancing army. To Didier’s repeated question “Is this the emperor?” Otkar continues to answer “Not yet,” adding at last “When thou shalt see the fields bristling with an iron harvest, and the Po and the Ticino swollen with sea-floods, inundating the walls of the city ​ with iron billows, then shall Karl be nigh at hand.” This episode, which bears the marks of popular heroic poetry, may well be the substance of a lost Carolingian cantilena. [1]

The legendary Charlemagne and his warriors were endowed with the great deeds of earlier kings and heroes of the Frankish kingdom, for the romancers were not troubled by considerations of chronology. National traditions extending over centuries were grouped round Charlemagne, his father Pippin, and his son Louis. The history of Charles Martel especially was absorbed in the Charlemagne legend. But if Charles’s name was associated with the heroism of his predecessors he was credited with equal readiness with the weaknesses of his successors. In the earlier chansons de geste he is invariably a majestic figure and represents within limitations the grandeur of the historic Charles. But in the histories of the wars with his vassals he is often little more than a tyrannical dotard, who is made to submit to gross insult. This picture of affairs is drawn from later times, and the sympathies of the poet are generally with the rebels against the monarchy. Historical tradition was already dim when the hypothetical and much discussed cantilenae, which may be taken to have formed the repository of the national legends from the 8th to the 10th century, were succeeded in the 11th and the early 12th centuries by the chansons de geste. The early poems of the cycle sometimes contain curious information on the Frankish methods in war, in council and in judicial procedure, which had no parallels in contemporary institutions. The account in the Chanson de Roland of the trial of Ganelon after the battle of Roncesvalles must have been adopted almost intact from earlier poets, and provides a striking example of the value of the chansons de geste to the historian of manners and customs. In general, however, the trouvère depicted the feeling and manners of his own time.

Charlemagne’s wars in Italy, Spain and Saxony formed part of the common epic material, and there are references to his wars against the Slavs but especially he remained in the popular mind as the great champion of Christianity against the creed of Mahomet, and even his Norman and Saxon enemies became Saracens in current legend. He is the Christian emperor directly inspired by angels his sword Joyeuse contained the point of the lance used in the Passion his standard was Romaine, the banner of St Peter, which, as the oriflamme of Saint Denis, was later to be borne in battle before the kings of France and in 1164 Charles was canonized at the desire of the emperor Frederick I. Barbarossa by the anti-pope Pascal III. This gave him no real claim to saintship, but his festival was observed in some places until comparatively recent times. Charlemagne was endowed with the good and bad qualities of the epic king, and as in the case of Agamemnon and Arthur, his exploits paled beside those of his chief warriors. These were not originally known as the twelve peers [2] famous in later Carolingian romance. The twelve peers were in the first instance the companions in arms of Roland in the Teutonic sense. [3] The idea of the paladins forming an association corresponding to the Arthurian Round Table first appears in the romance of Fierabras. The lists of them are very various, but all include the names of Roland and Oliver. The chief heroes who fought Charlemagne’s battles were Roland Ganelon, afterwards the traitor Turpin, the fighting archbishop of Reims Duke Naimes of Bavaria, the wise counsellor who is always on the side of justice Ogier the Dane, the hero of a whole series of romances and Guillaume of Toulouse, the defender of Narbonne. Gradually most of the chansons de geste were attached to the name of Charlemagne, whose poetical history falls into three cycles:—the geste du roi, relating his wars and the personal history of himself and his family the southern cycle, of which Guillaume de Toulouse is the central figure and the feudal epic, dealing with the revolts of the barons against the emperor, the rebels being invariably connected by the trouvères with the family of Doon de Mayence (q.v.).

The earliest poems of the cycle are naturally the closest to historical truth. The central point of the geste du roi is the 11th-century Chanson de Roland (see Roland, Legend of ), one of the greatest of medieval poems. Strangely enough the defeat of Roncesvalles, which so deeply impressed the popular mind, has not a corresponding importance in real history. But it chanced to find as its exponent a poet whose genius established a model for his successors, and definitely fixed the type of later heroic poems. The other early chansons to which reference is made in RolandAspremont, Enfances Ogier, Guiteclin, Balan, relating to Charlemagne’s wars in Italy and Saxony—are not preserved in their original form, and only the first in an early recension. Basin or Carl et Élégast (preserved in Dutch and Icelandic), the Voyage de Charlemagne à Jerusalem and Le Couronnement Looys also belong to the heroic period. The purely fictitious and romantic tales added to the personal history of Charlemagne and his warriors in the 13th century are inferior in manner, and belong to the decadence of romance. The old tales, very much distorted in the 15th-century prose versions, were to undergo still further degradation in 18th-century compilations.

According to Berte aus grans piés, in the 13th-century remaniement of the Brabantine trouvère Adenès li Rois, Charlemagne was the son of Pippin and of Berte, the daughter of Flore and Blanchefleur, king and queen of Hungary. The tale bears marks of high antiquity, and presents one of the few incidents in the French cycle which may be referred to a mythic origin. On the night of Berte’s marriage a slave, Margiste, is substituted for her, and reigns in her place for nine years, at the expiration of which Blanchefleur exposes the deception whereupon Berte is restored from her refuge in the forest to her rightful place as queen. Mainet (12th century) and the kindred poems in German and Italian are perhaps based on the adventures of Charles Martel, who after his father’s death had to flee to the Ardennes. They relate that, after the death of his parents, Charles was driven by the machinations of the two sons of Margiste to take refuge in Spain, where he accomplished his enfances (youthful exploits) with the Mussulman king Galafre under the feigned name of Mainet. He delivered Rome from the besieging Saracens, and returned to France in triumph. But his wife Galienne, daughter of Galafre, whom he had converted to the Christian faith, died on her way to rejoin him. Charlemagne then made an expedition to Italy (Enfances Ogier in the Venetian Charlemagne, and the first part of the Chevalerie Ogier de Dannemarche by Raimbert of Paris, 12th century) to raise the siege of Rome, which was besieged by the Saracen emir Corsuble. He crossed the Alps under the guidance of a white hart, miraculously sent to assist the passage of the army. Aspremont (12th century) describes a fictitious campaign against the Saracen King Agolant in Calabria, and is chiefly devoted to the enfances of Roland. The wars of Charlemagne with his vassals are described in Girart de Roussillon, Renaus de Montauban, recounting the deeds of the four sons of Aymon, Huon de Bordeaux, and in the latter part of the Chevalerie Ogier, which belong properly to the cycle connected with Doon of Mayence.

The account of the pilgrimage of Charlemagne and his twelve paladins to the Holy Sepulchre must in its first form have been earlier than the Crusades, as the patriarch asks the emperor to ​ free Spain, not the Holy Land, from the Saracens. The legend probably originated in a desire to authenticate the relics in the abbey of Saint Denis, supposed to have been brought to Aix by Charlemagne, and is preserved in a 12th-century romance, Le Voyage de Charlemagne à Jérusalem et à Constantinople. [4] This journey forms the subject of a window in the cathedral of Chartres, and there was originally a similar one at Saint-Denis. On the way home Charles and his paladins visited the emperor Hugon at Constantinople, where they indulged in a series of gabs which they were made to carry out. Galien, a favourite 15th-century romance, was attached to this episode, for Galien was the son of the amours of Oliver with Jacqueline, Hugon’s daughter. The traditions of Charlemagne’s fights with the Norsemen (Norois, Noreins) are preserved in Aiquin (12th century), which describes the emperor’s reconquest of Armorica from the “Saracen” king Aiquin, and a disaster at Cézembre as terrible in its way as those of Roncesvalles and Aliscans. La destruction de Rome is a 13th-century version of the older chanson of the emir Balan, who collected an army in Spain and sailed to Rome. The defenders were overpowered and the city destroyed before the advent of Charlemagne, who, however, avenged the disaster by a great battle in Spain. The romance of Fierabras (13th century) was one of the most popular in the 15th century, and by later additions came to have pretensions to be a complete history of Charlemagne. The first part represents an episode in Spain three years before Roncesvalles, in which Oliver defeats the Saracen giant Fierabras in single combat, and converts him. The hero of the second part is Gui de Bourgogne, who recovers the relics of the Passion, lost in the siege of Rome. Otinel (13th century) is also pure fiction. L’Entrée en Espagne, preserved in a 14th-century Italian compilation, relates the beginning of the Spanish War, the siege of Pampeluna, and the legendary combat of Roland with Ferragus. Charlemagne’s march on Saragossa, and the capture of Huesca, Barcelona and Girone, gave rise to La Prise de Pampelune (14th century, based on a lost chanson) and Gui de Bourgogne (12th century) tells how the children of the barons, after appointing Guy as king of France, set out to find and rescue their fathers, who are represented as having been fighting in Spain for twenty-seven years. The Chanson de Roland relates the historic defeat of Roncesvalles on the 15th of August 778, and forms the very crown of the whole Carolingian legend. The two 13th-century romances, Gaidon, by Herbert Leduc de Dammartin, and Anséis de Carthage, contain a purely fictitious account of the end of the war in Spain, and of the establishment of a Frankish kingdom under the rule of Anséis. Charlemagne was recalled from Spain by the news of the outbreak of the Saxons. The contest between Charlemagne and Widukind (Guiteclin) offered abundant epic material. Unfortunately the original Guiteclin is lost, but the legend is preserved in Les Saisnes (c. 1300) of Jehan Bodel, which is largely occupied by the loves of Baudouin and Sibille, the wife of Guiteclin. The adventures of Blanchefleur, wife of Charlemagne, form a variation of the common tale of the innocent wife falsely accused, and are told in Macaire and in the extant fragments of La Reine Sibille (14th century). After the conquest of the Saracens and the Saxons, the defeat of the Northmen, and the suppression of the feudal revolts, the emperor abdicated in favour of his son Louis (Le Couronnement Looys, 12th century). Charles’s harangue to his son is in the best tradition of epic romance. The memory of Roncesvalles haunts him on his death-bed, and at the moment of death he has a vision of Roland.

The mythic element is practically lacking in the French legends, but in Germany some part of the Odin myth was associated with Charles’s name. The constellation of the Great Bear, generally associated with Odin, is Karlswagen in German, and Charles’s Wain in English. According to tradition in Hesse, he awaits resurrection, probably symbolic of the triumph of the sun over winter, within the Gudensberg (Hill of Odin). Bavarian tradition asserts that he is seated in the Untersberg in a chair, as in his tomb at Aix-la-Chapelle. His white beard goes on growing, and when it has thrice encircled the stone table before him the end of the world will come or, according to another version, Charles will arise and after fighting a great battle on the plain of Wals will reign over a new Germany. There were medieval chroniclers who did not fear to assert that Charles rose from the dead to take part in the Crusades. In the MS. Annales S. Stephani Frisingenses (15th century), which formerly belonged to the abbey of Weihenstephan, and is now at Munich, the childhood of Charlemagne is practically the same as that of many mythic heroes. This work, generally known as the chronicle of Weihenstephan, gives among other legends a curious history of the emperor’s passion for a dead woman, caused by a charm given to Charles by a serpent to whom he had rendered justice. The charm was finally dropped into a well at Aix, which thenceforward became Charles’s favourite residence. The story of Roland’s birth from the union of Charles with his sister Gilles, also found in German and Scandinavian versions, has abundant parallels in mythology, and was probably transferred from mythology to Charlemagne.

The Latin chronicle, wrongly ascribed to Turpin (Tilpinus), bishop of Reims from 753 to 800, was in reality later than the earlier poems of the French cycle, and the first properly authenticated mention of it is in 1165. Its primary object was to authenticate the relics of St James at Compostella. Alberic Trium Fontium, a monk of the Cistercian monastery of Trois Fontanes in the diocese of Châlons, embodied much poetical fiction in his chronicle (c. 1249). A large section of the Chronique rimée (c. 1243) of Philippe Mousket is devoted to Charlemagne’s exploits. At the beginning of the 14th century Girard of Amiens made a dull compilation known as Charlemagne from the chansons de gests, authentic history and the pseudo-Turpin. La Conqueste que fit le grand roi Charlemaigne es Espaignes (pr. 1486) is the same work as the prose compilation of Fierabras (pr. 1478), and Caxton’s Lyf of Charles the Grete (1485).

The Charlemagne legend was fully developed in Italy, where it was to have later a great poetic development at the hands of Boiardo, Ariosto and Tasso. There are two important Italian compilations, MS. XIII. of the library of St Mark, Venice (c. 1200), and the Reali di Francia (c. 1400) of a Florentine writer, Andrea da Barberino (b. 1370), edited by G. Vandelli (Bologna, 1892). The six books of this work are rivalled in importance by the ten branches of the Norse Karlamagnus saga, written under the reign of Haakon V. This forms a consecutive legendary history of Charles, and is apparently based on earlier versions of the French Charlemagne poems than those which we possess. It thus furnishes a guide to the older forms of stories, and moreover preserves the substance of others which have not survived in their French form. A popular abridgment, the Keiser Karl Magnus Krönike (pr. Malmö, 1534), drawn up in Danish, serves in some cases to complete the earlier work. The 2000 lines of the German Kaiserchronik on the history of Charlemagne belong to the first half of the 12th century, and were perhaps the work of Conrad, the poet of the Ruolantes Liet. The German poet known as the Stricker used the same sources as the author of the chronicle of Weihenstephan for his Karl (c. 1230). The earliest important Spanish version was the Chronica Hispaniae (c. 1284) of Rodrigo de Toledo.

The French and Norman-French chansons circulated as freely in England as in France, and it was therefore not until the period of decadence that English versions were made. The English metrical romances of Charlemagne are:—Rowlandes Song (15th century) The Taill of Rauf Coilyear (c. 1475, pr. by R. Lekpreuik, St Andrews, 1472), apparently original Sir Ferumbras (c. 1380) and the Sowdone of Babylone (c. 1400) from an early version of Fierabras a fragmentary Roland and Vernagu (Ferragus) two versions of Otuel (Otinel) and a Sege of Melayne (c. 1390), forming a prologue to Otinel unknown in French.

1. Maria Luisa of Savoy

Yet, when all is said an done, the most despicable punishment of all came through the mob justice of the French Revolution. When Luisa, the Princess of Lamballe, refused to take an oath against the monarchy, a gang of men reportedly raped her, cut off her breasts and genitals, and ultimately cut off her head and placed it on a pike, before parading it beneath the Queen’s window. It is hard to imagine a fate worse, or more humiliating, then what Princess Maria was forced to endure.

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