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Journal > Volumes > 49 (2018) / 3 (Autumn)
Travails of the Widow in Law in Florence at the End of the Fifteenth Century: An Illustrative Case
Thomas Kuehn
Clemson University

Likely to outlive their typically older husbands, Florentine widows’ fate and that of their property were of abiding concern to husbands and their heirs. Widows’ dowries especially represented a “debt” for the husbands, which came due on the dissolution of marriage. A debt, however, in Florence and elsewhere, existed on the basis of trust, which for dowry arose at the point it was pledged by a woman’s father or other kin. The legal maneuvers of one Florentine widow, Monna Vaggia, and the reactions of learned jurists to the problems she raised, show that such trust might be taken to persist into widowhood, as her husband sought in his testament to keep her and her dowry at the service of his heirs and his family in general.

Pages: 691 - 712