Monday, September 9, 2013

Polygamy & Divorce in ancient Ireland

 Old Irish law tracts give pride of place to a man’s one official wife, the "first in the household" (cetmuinter), who normally contributed movable property of her own to the joint housekeeping and was entitled to receive it back, with any accumulated profits, if the couple divorced later.

Divorce could be initiated by either the husband or the wife, on a number of grounds. A wife, for example could cite her husband’s impotence or sterility, beating her severely enough to leave a scar, homosexuality causing him to neglect her marriage bed, failure to provide for her support, discussing her sexual performance in public, spreading rumours about her, his having tricked her into marriage by using magic arts, or his having abandoned her for another woman. In this last case, however, the first wife had the right to remain in the marriage if she wished, and was then entitled to continued maintenance from her husband.

Image: A protest with style! Fashion Model and cultural activist Constance Buccafurri dressed as the Celtic goddess Eriu holding the Book of Kells to protest at the proposal to build a motorway close the the world heritage site of Newgrange, Co. Meath.

The goddess Eriu or Éire (p. aer ah) gave her name to the land most know as Ireland. Foreigners not knowing how to pronounce the accent over the first 'é' and the correct pronunciation of last e ( 'ah') will pronounce the word Éire as "ire" hence Ire-land or Éireland!

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