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By Joanne M. Ferraro

In line with a desirable physique of formerly unexamined archival fabric, this publication brings to existence the misplaced voices of normal Venetians in the course of the age of Catholic revival. taking a look at scripts that have been delivered to the city's ecclesiastical courts via spouses trying to annul their marriage vows, this booklet opens up the emotional global of intimacy and clash, sexuality, and dwelling preparations that didn't healthy normative versions of marriage.

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Real or imaginary, the Venetian tales of broken marriages document human will and agency, and furnish a repertoire of court stories in a situational context. I am suggesting that the successful plots for annulment or separation were passed on in neighborhood gossip as well as by specialized lawyers. Deposing witnesses availed themselves of both of these resources. 10 For example, what did adultery signify to supplicants and witnesses as men and women? To state prosecutors, lawyers, or priests as men?

The records provide a written record of testimony but include no elaboration from the judges on how they arrived at their verdicts. What we know is that verdicts were to be based on points of law. Moreover, the sacred duties of the Patriarch and his vicar bound them to safeguard the institution of marriage in the interests of the Church. Historian Arturo Jemolo tells us that the judge was obliged to be the adversary of the party requesting an annulment, and that he was required to accede to the arguments of the defender of the bond.

15 There was also the long-standing problem of clandestine marriage, a practice that had pervaded the European landscape. Children ignored the wishes of their parents, celebrating the rites of marriage in private in order to avoid the destinies that had been mapped out for them. 16 French and Spanish prelates argued for a more public celebration of marriage, and the former further demanded that a valid marriage require parental approval. In contrast, many Italian prelates, including the Venetian Patriarch Giovanni Trevisan, were not as concerned with clandestine marriage, defending the medieval canon law that only the mutual consent of the partners was necessary to make a valid union.

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