Hauck, Marriage Dispensations and Customs in Renaissance Florence

Marriage Dispensations and Marriage Customs in Renaissance Florence (1460-1530) 

Jasmin Hauck (Università Roma Tre)

In the registers of the apostolic penitentiary around 500 Florentine marriage dispensations are inserted between the years 1460 and 1530. While the Roman sources offer a mere summary of the most important details of the cases, the local transmission reflects the bishopric’s investigation into the veracity of the legal narrative presented in the supplications sent to Rome. Supplementing a statistical investigation into the chronological distribution and social stratification from a macro-perspective, a close look at some of the cases from our corpus is undertaken here with the aim of following patterns of procedure and the treatment of canonical marriage norms and their local application. Ritual elements of the marriage and their order can determine the degree of guilt ascribed to the petitioners and thereby the amount in fees to be paid. This legal-administrative mechanism can open the doors to an investigation into the realization of marriage rites as well as to the functioning of genealogical memory mirrored in the need to prove degrees of kinship so close that a papal dispensation is needed to render the contracted union licit.