Friday, 20 May 2005

The Price of Adultery...

The laws of England, Scotland and Wales can sometimes be very peculiar, as there are plenty of outdated ones which have not been written off and are technically still applicable. For example, did you know that it is illegal in London to check in to a hotel with a false name specificaly for the purpoose of having sex? Apparently if you get caught you are faced with the once hefty fine of £20! I am sure it is not the fine which would worry most who might get caught nowadays though... ;-) It seems that this is a law which was made with adulterers in mind; after all, why would people use assumed names if thy were not hiding something.

Laws targeting adulterers have been many and some are funny,like the above, but others are very unpleasant indeed. In Nottingham, if a married woman seduces the husband of another man and gets found out by the seduced's wife, that lady has the right to monetary compensation from the seducer's husband. This sounds to me to be really unfair, especially as the poor man probably will have had no idea that any of this was going on.
In late medieval times, if a woman was caught committing adultery, her nose and ears were cut off and she was paraded through town, whereas the man she was commiting the act with was merely sent out of town. Not fair at all really.
Later on, in the 1500s, an adulteress would be sent to gaol and then hanged; the penalty now had clearly graduated to punishment via death.

However, the ancient Britons were extremely relaxed about such matters and in fact practised a form of polyamory, as it was very common for groups of 10 to 12 men to share the same wife. If a child was conceived, the father was considered to be the man she had "cohabited with" first. Awful if the first guy was not very wealthy - he got stuck with all the kids.


For more info on adultery laws please see links below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery

Muslims against stoning: http://www.free-minds.org/stoning.htm

http://www.dterry.demon.co.uk/divorce2.html

1 comment:

abhishek jaiswal said...

Amazing..love all ur work..dis is popularising history as a subject and in a nice way..:)