Marriage payments and transfers

Marriage Payment and Transfers

In most socieites, marriages are closely tied to the distribution of property both within and between families and incur substantial and complex transfers and exchanges with social and political as well as economic implications. The main forms of marriage transfer are: Other forms of transaction include "groom price", bride service, and the endowment of the bride by the groom. In general, property exchanges are structured according to one or another of these systems but they sometimes occur in combination. For example, the Old Testament mentions both bride price and dowry within ancient Hebrew society. In early medieval England, a woman's dowry from her family was complemented by an endowment from her husband, who also contributed "morning gifts" after the wedding night.

© Brian Schwimmer, All rights reserved
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba
Created: October 2003