Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Women in Langbard

I am currently examining the footnotes of the book 'History of the Lombards'. Although the book was written by Paul the Deacon, it was edited by Edward Peters. More than in most books, I find myself disagreeing with both of them. Rather than using a lot of text explaining why, which I may cover some other time, I wanted to just look briefly at an issue that I saw on one open set of pages (pgs. 194-195), in the footnotes.

On page 194, Edwards is commenting on the advance of the Catholic Church in Langbard (the Lombards were either Arian Christian or "heathen" (some form of Wotanism most likely). He writes "The conversion of the Langobards to the Catholic faith was prompted by their intermarriage with Roman wives."

This is a clumsy statement based on the easy concept that everyone living on the Italian peninsula before the Langobards was "Roman." However, this concept is not used for Roman citizenry outside of the peninsula. Also, the population were no longer "Roman citizens," but some still attach an easy, catch-all "Roman" ethnic title to the entire population. Most of the population, at least north of Etruria, was either Alpine Euganean or Celtic Gaul, with some old Etruscan or later Germanic genes admixed. Therefore, when a Germanic Lombard married a culturally Romanized ethnic Celt, it became Edwards "intermarriage with a Roman wife."

On page 195, Edwards is discussing Lombard Law, and states "Rothari Edict was published Nov. 22nd, 643. It was composed of 388 chapters. Although written in Latin, the greater part of this Edict was of purely Langobard origin." After giving some examples of this law, he gets to the treatment of women in Langbard, and writes "'If anyone should "place himself in the way" of a free woman or girl or injure her he must pay nine hundred solidi (540 pounds sterling). If any one should "place himself in the way" of a free man he must pay him twenty solidi .....' These provisions indicated the high estimation the high estimation in which the free women were held."

For thousands of years, in both Wotanist and Wicca-like faiths, women not only were often equal, but actually held much power in many instances. Often in matters of faith, though not nearly as much in politics. I'm not sure about pre-Christian Etruscan society and spirituality.

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