Was virginity very important in societies of ancient and medieval world ?

Aug 2013
84
Greece
Some societies nowdays think virginity is very important,was the same back then for women,or women were just toys etc?
 
Jul 2012
128
Germany
If a adolescent virgin walks around a field, holding a rooster in her hands, legumes will grow better and weeds wither.


[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoponica]Geoponica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] II 42.
 

BenSt

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,565
Canada, originally Clwyd, N.Wales
Virginity was in the ancient world as important as some societies view it today. Depending where you were, virginity in females was seen as a virtue and as an important prize. In Rome, many temple priestesses had to remain a virgin on pain of death. A first time wife was expected to be a virgin, but ofcourse a second or third time wife wasn't expected to be.

In many cultures virginity was considered to be a state of purity, and thats why we have those old cliches of virgin sacrifices to Gods, and stories in myths of young maidens being seduced by heroes and Kings. The best example of the importance of virginity is in the Virgin Mary.
 

Sicknero

Ad Honorem
May 2012
4,407
Here to Eternity
Historically "virgin" didn't always mean in the sexual sense of the word that we use now. Often it meant unmarried or more partriarchally, un-owned. Some biblical historians also think that the word in connection with Mary ("almah") doesn't mean virgin in the sense that we understand it but instead, young and not yet a mother.
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,614
San Diego
Virginity in fem ales is linked to chastity and fidelity in females.
Its genetically important because, whereas any woman who gives birth KNOWS the child to be her own... No man in early human societies could be certain of the paternity of that child.

Because we are a Social species with Cultural legacies, in addition to our genetic legacy... there was an early genetic advantage to ANY cultural norm that would tend to ensure that a Man's children where reliably his own.

Thus virginity was important because women usually ended up pregnant quickly once they became sexually active... and virginity at marriage was the best way to ensure that she hadn't gotten knocked up by some other young fellow.
Likewise, fidelity IN marriage was similarly important.

Cultural norms such as chastity belts and Harems were intended to insure that a mans's cultural legacy accrued strictly to his genetic legacy.
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,614
San Diego
PS- all moralizing was after the fact rationalizations that served to raise young women and men to enforce social boundaries.

That is... its much easier to keep women chaste if you can convince them from childhood that being otherwise will send them to hell... or result in their being social outcasts.
 

kbear

Ad Honorem
Sep 2010
6,431
I imagine people today think the same thing as people of the past did. men who had a lot of premarital sex were studs and women were whores.:notrust:same attitudes, different centuries..
 

Yôḥānān

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
3,888
Portugal
It depends on the culture. From what I remember reading about the Incas the more men a woman had the more coveted she was.
About being toys I don't see how virginity untill marriage matters.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
Sculptingman is correct. The age old notion of marriage is:

Man provides: protection, money/resources, help and a reasonable guarantee of these. He also accepts children as his responsibility, too. In return, he gets sex (many married men will dispute this), some domestic chores, since labour was divided sensibly in those days and a guarantee that the kids he's breaking his back to provide for are his and his alone.

You can see the point of this. It's not perfect, but what is?

Then the Christians came along and merely re-enforced it. They didn't invent it. But it was good for the social order and so the powers that be (kings, lords etc) also backed it. The Church and Monarchy was always a symbiosis.

The Church condemned male fornication as a big sin. Contrary to popular opinion, it was not considered a good thing for a man to have sex with as many women as possible, not unless he had lots of money. It is because so much of our history only really covers the lives of the wealthier and not the majority that we come to this distorted belief that males were allowed to be promiscuous.

Even at low levels, medieval and early modern European societies were very honour based. And the girl "jack the lad" has just knocked up could be your sister, cousin, wife, daughter. This was also a society where even ordinary people knew who their extended family were to a fine degree and an insult against one became an insult to all.

If the miscreant man was wealthy, he could just pay a sum of money and you'd have a well set up young lady. Most kings of England did this kind of thing.

But otherwise, it was not just an insult to the family and the ruination of a woman, but also a drain upon the same: there was no welfare then and the poor laws hardly counted until much later.

However, when a woman fornicated or committed adultery, this was believed to be a double sin: it was also a sin because it cast doubt upon the legitimacy of her other children, past present and future. For families with something to inherit or pass on, you can see the problem.

Conversely, widows were much sought after. They were quite often relatively well off, since the actual idea of the dowry (which was paid to the groom's father, not the bride!) was that it was kept or invested and should anything happen to the husband, his father or his estate had to provide for dead man's widow. That's what the dowry was for: to "compensate" the groom's father for the loss of his son and the potential expense of a daughter in law. Some girls came with huge dowries.

However, it was written into some marriage contracts that the support from the father in law would only be paid until she re-marries. Plenty of widows kept quiet about this until after the wedding.....
 

Yôḥānān

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
3,888
Portugal
I have been convinced that in Catholic countries things were in practice very liberal to males. But it seems that in Calvinism you see a diferent attitude. The idea of male virginity, even though I agree with it, is a strange concept to lay Catholics in general.
 
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