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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Consanguineous Marriages in Ancient and Recent History

Katrina Majkut wrote an interesting article that is mostly about cousin marriage, but also deals with other forms.

Laws preventing consanguineous marriages still exist, but more-than-friendly brother-sister relations still occur like out of a V.C. Andrews novel. The latest international news story was about a German couple in 2001: As a result of their amorous affection, they bore 4 children, 2 of whom have disabilities, did hard time, and love still survived.

Yes, and other couples who not related beyond the degree that any of us are related also have children with disabilities. Two of the four children in that case don’t have disabilities.

While today sibling relationships are both taboo and illegal, there was a time when it was widely practiced, and even encouraged in order to prevent the tainting of royal bloodlines. Before Mark Anthony, Cleopatra VII was married to her brother Ptolemy XIII, and she was the offspring of a sibling marriage as well. While technically illegal during Roman times, it is said that Roman Emperor Caligula did the deed with all three of his sisters, Julia Livilla, Drusilla, and Agrippina the Younger. And no story of incest would be complete without the tale of Oedipus, who brought shame and ruin to himself and his city for marrying his mother. These tales were (and still are) told to children to impart lessons on morality, civility and health.

A lot of things are told to children that shouldn’t be. Children are made to feel bad because of their innate feelings and normal activities.

She goes on to write about the concept of the Westermarck effect, Genetic Sexual Attraction, the marriages of European royalty and other people who married cousins, inheritance, and affinity marriages before wrapping it up.

Despite religious condemnation, legal disapproval and social discontent, history has shown that the practice was generally accepted among some of the world’s greatest leaders, thinkers and poets…The question of its morality is not what’s being debated here, this dialogue is to bring attention to the fact that by treating consanguineous marriage as abnormal and taboo, we fail to recognize it as a pervasive component in history, and in doing so only half the story will ever be heard.

How about we stop treating people badly or as second class citizens because of the people they love? Then the full story will be told.
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