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Sunday, 30 March 2014

On Munds, Part Two of Three

Tacitus in his work on the Germans, writes about munds. In one place, Tacitus writes that a mund is equal to five cows. Here is Iowa, that would amount to 4,000 USD for a prime Black Angus, but up to 100,000 USD for a show cow. Not a bad mund...

,...marriage in Germany is austere, and there is no feature in their morality that deserves higher praise. They are almost unique among barbarians in being satisfied with one wife each. The exceptions, which are exceedingly rare, are of men who receive offers of many wives because of their rank; there is no question of sexual passion. The dowry is brought by husband to wife, not by wife to husband. Parents and kinsmen attend and approve of the gifts, gifts not chosen to please a woman's whim or gaily deck a young bride, but oxen, horse with reins, shield, spear and sword. For such gifts a man gets his wife, and she in her turn brings some present of arms to her husband. In this interchange of gifts they recognize the supreme bond, the holy mysteries, the presiding deities of marriage. A woman must not imagine herself free to neglect the manly virtues or immune from the hazards of war. That is why she is reminded, in the very ceremonies which bless her marriage at its outset, that she is coming to share a man's toils and dangers, that she is to be his partner in all his sufferings and adventures, whether in peace or war. That is the meaning of the team of oxen, of the horse ready for its rider, of the gift of arms. On these terms she must live her life and bear her children. She is receiving something that she must hand over unspoilt and treasured to her children, for her son's wives to receive in their turn and pass on to the grandchildren.

Cows or land seem like good munds to me.

And, the ladies had the right to pass on their munds to their children or grandchildren.

Hmmm, I missed out on something here.  I could have bought a comfortable house in Spain for four Black Angus show cows!