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Author Topic: Relations  (Read 1240 times)

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Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Relations
« on: October 28, 2011, 08:37:39 PM »
I think I have this right, perhaps someone can confirm.

The difference between a (for example) sister-in-law and a half-sister.

Sister-in-law: The sister of your spouse
Half-sister:Your mother or father's child from a different marriage, or coupling.

That right? At least that is the modern understanding of such relations. Pondering how these 'roles' might have been viewed in earlier times, especially when it comes to royalty. I suppose that could vary quite a bit considering the region, religion, and period.

I'm thinking sister-in-law, which presumes relations by sanctioned marriage was of no accord. Where as half-sister alludes to either divorce or illegitimacy. Could occur too by way of becoming a widow, and remarrying I suppose.

I'm not trying to draw any assumptions or judgments, just making sure I have these roles right in my head. Researching a story idea. 

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Relations
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 08:39:43 PM »
A sister-in-law can be the wife of your brother, the sister of your spouse or the wife of your spouse's brother.  That's the basics and doesn't take into consideration the permutations involved with same sex marriage.

A half-sister is a sister who has one parent in common with you.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 08:43:56 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline Vandren

Re: Relations
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 09:30:48 PM »
On the historical side, the medieval and Renaissance (European) view was that one's sister-in-law (or brother-in-law) was the same as one's (biological) sister (or brother).  Thus, marrying your brother's widow was legally (and in the eyes of the Church) incest throughout Europe from around the 11th to 17th  centuries. 

This is the argument Henry VIII used to attempt to secure permission to divorce Catherine, since she was married to his older brother first.  Instead, the Pope gave him a dispensation to commit incest.

Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Relations
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 09:37:35 PM »
On the historical side, the medieval and Renaissance (European) view was that one's sister-in-law (or brother-in-law) was the same as one's (biological) sister (or brother).  Thus, marrying your brother's widow was legally (and in the eyes of the Church) incest throughout Europe from around the 11th to 17th  centuries. 

This is the argument Henry VIII used to attempt to secure permission to divorce Catherine, since she was married to his older brother first.  Instead, the Pope gave him a dispensation to commit incest.

Yes. Catherine of Aragon. I was schooled on that watching the Tudors serial.

Depending on the religion, and the circumstances surrounding events, such as being widowed, half-siblings would be rare. At least rare to see them welcomed into the court life and what not.

Offline Malina

Re: Relations
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 08:16:00 AM »
Where as half-sister alludes to either divorce or illegitimacy. Could occur too by way of becoming a widow, and remarrying I suppose.


Half-sister or half-brother can often be stepsister or stepbrother, namely when, through divorce or the death of a spouse, one parent remarries (so that neither offspring is born out of wedlock). In the past, the death of one partner was far more often the cause of a second or third etc. marriage.  :-)

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Relations
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 08:20:13 AM »
I do believe half-sibling refers to a sibling that one has one parent in common with, whereas step-sibling refers to a sibling that you have no shared bloodline with, for example when your parents divorce and one of them remarries, taking a spouse that already has children from previous marriage/relationship.

Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Relations
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 08:50:06 AM »
Thanks all. I have a story idea where it is later revealed, in part, that the person you've fallen in love with turns out to be your father's half-sister or sister-in-law. I don't want to over-complicate it, and yet I don't want to turn off some one who might be leary of incestuous relations. Though it isn't the primary theme of the story in any event.

The setting would be a quasi-fantasy historical setting where one character is a princess and presumptive heir to the throne, as there are no other male heirs. The king was widowed not long after the birth of their daughter (the princess). The late queen though had a sister, one who was subsequently banished from court.

Of course, that woman would be the princess' aunt. That relation might be too close for comfort for some. So I was trying to think of a way to work it out they didn't share blood, and thus any potential writer might be okay with it. Just trying to keep it simple too. Also, I don't want this wrinkle to be revealed until later in the story, thus I need to be fairly comfortable a potential writer won't be unduly made uncomfortable with the idea. 

I could find someone who I knew was okay with familial relations, but not reveal to them ahead of time of this wrinkle. Hmmm.

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Re: Relations
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 09:35:49 AM »
I don't see that a sister-in-law, a sister only by a lawful act, would have any incestuous connotations as there is no blood relationship between the character and her father's sister-in-law or brother-in-law for that matter. 

Offline Vandren

Re: Relations
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2011, 03:25:10 PM »
I don't see that a sister-in-law, a sister only by a lawful act, would have any incestuous connotations as there is no blood relationship between the character and her father's sister-in-law or brother-in-law for that matter.

Talk to the medieval Popes.  :)

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Relations
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2011, 03:28:18 PM »
Talk to the medieval Popes.  :)

...or Hamlet.  ;)

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Relations
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2011, 03:31:56 PM »
*grins and looks at calendar*

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Relations
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2011, 03:32:46 PM »
... I'm a little way too tired to get his joke (?) probably, but... Medieval Popes kept paid mistresses that ruined their wealth and essentialy ruled the Christian world through influencing them. ::)

I wouldn't ask them (the Popes) directions how to get to St Peter's... ::)



Edit: Wouldn't ask them as in Medieval Popes. XD
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 06:31:47 PM by jouzinka »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Relations
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2011, 06:22:28 PM »
Medieval Popes would also look the other way regarding the appropriateness of a monarch's actions - for a suitable donation.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Relations
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2011, 07:48:22 PM »
Medieval clergy would do nearly anything for the proper donation in a lot of cases.

Offline Vandren

Re: Relations
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2011, 09:49:37 PM »
... I'm a little way too tired to get his joke (?) probably, but... Medieval Popes kept paid mistresses that ruined their wealth and essentialy ruled the Christian world through influencing them. ::)

There was no joke.  The response was a response to the historical note I made that (officially) according to the medieval Church, one's sister-in-law was equivalent to one's birth sister (e.g. that there was no difference between the two), therefore marrying or sleeping with one's sister-in-law was regarded as incest.  And, yes, if you check out the original post, the fact that popes would give dispensations for anything was noted (note that when Henry VIII asked for a divorce dispensation on the grounds of incest, the Pope instead gave him a dispensation for incest, based on the claim that Catherine's marriage to his brother was never consummated).  After sixteen years and three degrees focused on the medieval and Renaissance periods . . .

Personally, I agree with B.M., that there'd be no incest with a sister-in-law, but the info wasn't about my views/beliefs (thus, the suggestion to go talk to those whose beliefs it, officially at least, was).

If anything, it was a flippant response.  :)