chapter  Chapter 4
23 Pages

The “Créantailles” Rite in Troyes Between the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

WithJean-Louis Flandrin

The fact that fifteenth and sixteenth century judges in Troyes Latinised the word "creantailles" so readily was no doubt because the Church's Latin contained no word which corresponded exactly to this practice among the faithful. Not only does the word "creantailles" no longer appear in any trials for broken promises of marriage in the period 1665-1700, but it seems that the very phenomenon of the creantailles also disappeared, i.e. the association of ritual words and symbolic gifts which bound the couple together irrevocably. At a time when tribunals accepted the inviolability of the creantailles rite, parents and children were looking to impose their wills by making the first move; in the seventeenth century, however, the strategy of the fait accompli is no longer useful, both sides being able to arrange to have engagements with which they are not happy broken off.