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Distributed for Iter Press

The Wealth of Wives

A Fifteenth-Century Marriage Manual

1, Other Voice - Toronto Series volume 42

Edited and Translated by Margaret L. King

Distributed for Iter Press

The Wealth of Wives

A Fifteenth-Century Marriage Manual

1, Other Voice - Toronto Series volume 42

Edited and Translated by Margaret L. King

In 1415, Francesco Barbaro produced a marriage manual intended at once for his friend, a scion of the Florentine Medici family, and for the whole set of his peers, the young nobility of Venice. Countering the trends of the day toward dowry chasing and dowry inflation, Barbaro insisted that the real wealth of wives was their capacity to conceive, birth, and rear children worthy of their heritage. The success of the patriciate depended, ironically, on women: for they alone could ensure the biological, cultural, and spiritual reproduction of their marital lineage. The Wealth of Wives circulated in more than 100 manuscript versions, five Latin editions, and translations into German, Italian, French, and English, far outstripping in its influence Leon Battista Alberti’s On the Family (1434).


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1
The Wealth of Wives 65
Bibliography 127
Index 141

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