1. A marriage of the first degree which took place between partners of equal rank and property.

2. A marriage of the second degree in which a woman had less property than the man and was supported by him.

3. A marriage of the third degree in which a man had less property than the woman and had to agree to management of the woman's cattle and fields.

4. A marriage of the fourth degree was the marriage of the loved one in which no property rights changed hands, though children's rights were safeguarded.

5. A marriage of the fifth degree was the mutual consent of the man and woman to share their bodies, but live under separate roofs.

6. A marriage of the sixth degree in which a defeated enemy's wife was abducted. This marriage was valid only as long as the man could keep the woman with him.

7. A marriage of the seventh degree was called a soldier's marriage and was a temporary and primary sexual union (a one night stand).

8. A marriage of the eighth degree occurred when a man seduced a woman through lying, deception or taking advantage of her intoxication (equivalent to date rape).

9. A marriage of the ninth degree was a union by rape (forcible rape).

10. A marriage of the tenth degree occurred between feeble minded or insane people.

From "Marriage, Separation and Divorce In Ancient Gaelic Culture," by Alix Morgan MacAnTsaoir. Posted by Clannada na Gadelica

Celtic Story Index