Armenian betrothal in Poland in the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century on the basis of court records from Lviv and Stanislaviv
The author has examined an important element of the matrimonial strategy of families, i.e. betrothal — in this case sponsalia de praesenti — of Polish Armenians living in Lviv and Stanislaviv in the Baroque period. Preliminary research covered source material from Polish and foreign libraries.
Armenian betrothal was a half-secular and half-religious ceremony, and its validity depended on the mutual consent of the contracting parties. An essential document drawn up on the occasion was the engagement contract, which stipulated the size of dowries and trousseaux. Sometimes the value of the trousseau exceeded the amount of the dowry. The author quotes numerous examples of source descriptions of betrothals, especially those — given the specific nature of the analysed court records — that fell through because of the opposition of the bride-to-be or other reasons.
The provisions of the engagement contract largely determined the legal status of the woman in the family. The very possibility of breaking the engagement in the Amernian community in the early modern period testifies to a relative freedom of choosing one’s life partner.
Worthy of note is the strong position of Armenian women, who took on the responsibility for all matters of everyday life when their merchant husbands were absent.