maritagium (mar-[schwa]-tay-jee-[schwa]m), n. [Law Latin] Hist.

1. A lord’s right to arrange a marriage for his infant ward; specif., the power of a feudal lord to give his infant ward or a vassal’s heiress, minor heir, or widow in marriage, or to extract a fine from a vassal upon the vassal’s marriage.

2. Hist. The income derived from fines paid by vassals for the lord’s permission to marry.


4. A marriage gift; DOWRY. See DOS.

— Also termed (in sense 4) maritage.

“[W]hile to the common lawyer dos meant dower, in other systems it meant dowry: a gift to the wife, or to husband and wife, by the bride’s parents or other relatives. In England this was called the ‘marriage-gift’ or maritagium. Marriage-gifts were commonly made either to establish a cadet branch of a family or to assist a daughter who was not an heiress to make a good match.” J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History 310 (3d ed. 1990).

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