ARCHIVALIA OF THE MONTH (JANUARY 2013)
Polymath’s Jump into MarriageMarriage Agreement between Johann Weikhard Valvasor and Anna Rosina Graffenweger
Slatna, July 5, 1672Simultaneous transcript, 32 x 20.5 cm, 2 pages Reference code: SI AS
748, Gospostvo Krumperk, fasc. 25.
Written marriage agreements or contracts were common practice among the middle and higher ranks of nobility already during the Middle Ages. Such agreements were used to determine the sumof money that the engaged couple brought to the marriage, legal norms of dealing with this money, a dower, conditions of inheriting real and personalproperty, and legal actions for any non-compliance with the provisions of theagreements. Although the marriage contributions (money) variedconsiderably, they were all intended to be used for the needs of the sharedhousehold. The bride brought dowry to the marriage, while the groombrought bride price, morning gift and sometimes also additional financial giftor improvement. Bride price was a sort of counterweight to dowry, andmorning gift was a gift presented to the bride by her groom after thewedding night. The amount of money received by the bride was never lower than that of the groom, in most cases it was higher. Marriage contributionswere usually provided by the bride’s father and the groom, often also by thebride’s relatives. Dowry and bride price could not be inherited by anyoneoutside the donor’s family. The morning gift remained a permanent propertyof the bride and her closest heirs. The Archives of the Republic of Slovenia in its fond of the Krumperk seigniory keeps a simultaneoustranscript of the marriage agreement between Johann Weikhard Valvasor and his first wife AnnaRosina Graffenweger. The agreement was signed at the bride’s home of the Slatna castle on July 5,1672. Anna Rosina Graffenweger, aged less than 14 at the time, and her 17 years older groommarried on July 10, 1672 in
martno near Litija.Marriage agreements were usually made by the groom and the bride’s parents. Since the bride’sfather, Balthasar Graffenweger von Grafenau, died in 1663, the agreement was on behalf of AnnaRosina made by her mother, Anna Maria Graffenweger, born von Scharffenek, and the bride’sbrothers Georg Andree, Franz Balthasar and Hanns Joseph Graffenweger von Grafenau. The youngbride came from a noble family that officially became part of the Carniolan nobility in 1635. Thefamily’s headquarters was the seigniory Slatna. It was inherited by thebride’s mother and managed by the bride’s brother Georg Andree. Thenewlyweds even lived at the Slatna castle shortly after their wedding, beforeeventually moving into the nearby Bogen
perk castle which they purchasedon September 27, 1672. Their marriage agreement first states the marriage contributions: the bridebrought to the marriage a dowry of 800 Gulden and the groom a bride priceof 800 Gulden and a morning gift of 800 Gulden as well as 200 ducats of free donation. The conditions of inheritance and a dower were alsodetermined. Should her husband die, the wife and any eventual childrenwere allowed to fully manage his property for a period of at least a year anda day after his death or until the day she was to remarry. The widow wasalso to have free access to the house and garden in Ljubljana and to receivea dower of up to 100 ducats yearly which was to be provided by thehusband’s heirs. This provision was of utmost importance for the wife since after her husband’sdeath her own family was no longer expected to take care of her.In the event that one of the spouses died, movable property (silverware) was to become the propertyof the other spouse. Should they have children, the remaining spouse was to have free use of onlyhalf of the movable property. However, the wife could not inherit her husband’s cash, written andunwritten debts, men’s clothes and arms, and the husband could not inherit his wife’s jewelry.Economic burden of the marriage was mostly shouldered by the husband who had the duty tomanage and protect his wife’s property. That is why in this agreement also the groom took it uponhimself to carefully manage the property that was to be brought to the marriage by his bride. In their almost 15-year marriage Johann Weikhard Valvasor and Anna Rosina Graffenweger had