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German History in Documents and Images
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Old Man with a Young Woman (1st Half of the 16th Century)
The need for relative age equality between husband and wife was addressed in the rapidly growing literature on the conditions of a happy marriage. It was thought that ignoring prescriptive literature would lead to marital strife and even abuse (at the hands of disgruntled husbands or even wives).The image below, a satire on age disparity, suggests that money was the motive for this unequal marriage. Woodcut by Hans Sebald Beham (1500-50), first half of the 16th century.