(1,004 words)

Bigamy (“double marriage”, from Latin bi, “double” and Greek gámos, “wedding”, “marriage”) denotes entering into a second marriage while the first marriage is still valid. The early modern definition of bigamy is formed in the light of the Christian principle of the indissolubility of marriage. According to the Catholic view, it therefore included not only the double marriage of relevance in criminal law (Latin bigamia simultanea or bigamia vera, “simultaneous” or “true bigamy”), but also all marriages that contravened this principle, including a second marriag…

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Reinholdt, Katharina, “Bigamy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 20 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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