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This article is about the variable social/legal/religious/cultural infraction of sexual relations with close kin. For the biological act of reproducing with close kin, see inbreeding. For the descriptive term for blood-related kin, see consanguinity. Contents [hide] * 1 Terminology * 2 History * 2.1 Antiquity * 2.2 Middle Ages * 3 Prevalence and statistics * 4 Types * 4.1 Between adults and children * 4.2 Between childhood siblings * 4.3 Between consenting adults * 4.3.1 Between adult siblings * 4.3.2 Cousin relationships * 4.3.3 Incest defined through marriage * 5 Inbreeding * 6 Animals * 7 In popular culture * 8 Laws * 9 Religious views * 9.1 Jewish * 9.2 Christian * 9.3 Islamic * 9.4 Hindu * 9.5 Buddhist * 10 See also * 11 References * 12 External links| -------------------------------------------------
Table of prohibited marriages from The Trial of Bastardie by William Clerke. London, 1594 Antiquity
In ancient China, first cousins with the same surnames (i.e., those born to the father's brothers) were not permitted to marry, while those with different surnames (i.e., maternal cousins and paternal cousins born to the father's sisters) were. According to the Biblical Book of Genesis, the Patriarch Abraham and his wife, Sarah were half-siblings, both being children of Terah (Ge 20:12). The fable of Oedipus, with a theme of inadvertent incest between a mother and son, ends in disaster and shows ancient taboos against incest as Oedipus is punished for incestuous actions by blinding himself. In the "sequel" to Oedipus, Antigone, his four children are also punished for their parents having been incestuous. Incest appears in the commonly accepted version of the birth of Adonis, when his mother, Myrrha has sex with her father, Cinyras, during a festival, disguised as a prostitute. Incest is mentioned and condemned in Virgil's Aeneid Book VI: hic thalamum invasit natae vetitosque hymenaeos; "This one invaded a daughter's room and a forbidden sex act". It is generally accepted that sibling marriages were widespread among all classes in Egypt during the Graeco-Roman period. Numerous papyri and the Roman census declarations attest to many husbands and wives being brother and sister. The most well known of these relationships were in the royal family, the Ptolemies; The famous Cleopatra VII was married to her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII. Her mother and father, Cleopatra V and Ptolemy XII, had also been brother and sister. In Ancient Greece, Spartan King Leonidas I, hero of the legendary Battle of Thermopylae, was married to his niece Gorgo, daughter of his half brother Cleomenes I. Greek law allowed marriage between a brother and sister if they had different mothers. For example, some accounts say that Elpinice was for a time married to her half-brother Cimon. Incestuous unions were frowned upon and considered as nefas (against the laws of gods and man) in ancient Rome. In AD 295 incest was explicitly forbidden by an imperial edict, which divided the concept of incestus into two categories of unequal gravity: the incestus iuris gentium, which was applied to both Romans and non-Romans in the Empire, and the incestus iuris civilis, which concerned only Roman citizens. Therefore, for example, an Egyptian could marry an aunt, but a Roman could not. Despite the act of incest being unacceptable within the Roman Empire, Roman Emperor Caligula is rumored to have had sexual relationships with all three of his sisters (Julia Livilla, Drusilla, and Agrippina the Younger). Emperor Claudius, after executing his previous wife, married his brother's daughter Agrippina the Younger, and changed the law to allow an otherwise...