A Medieval Tale: JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS

or…

the right by which  the local noble could sleep the wedding night with the bride of a newly married serf

Old English Version (continue reading for translation & pictures)

 

 

Prince gualt’r of humfrye hadst hath bought peace to humfrye following a longeth and bloody battleth a dram ov’r a year ago. That gent wast itching f’r the adventure of hurlyburly again; court life wast fine f’r so longeth but one couldst only taketh so much. Smiling and being courteous to earls and dukes and l’rds knowing yond those gents w’re belike not being loyal to that gent. The princess manild w’re on his n’rves too, constantly asking that gent about his mistresses, as though the lady hadst some sayeth in the matt’r

Then yest’rday that gent and princess manild of weat’ron dynasty hadst did hold court during the m’rning at which hour aethelnoth the warr’r arrived, so nam’d because of his fearlessness in battleth. That gent hadst did save the life of the prince who is’t hadst repaid that gent by giving that gent a bawbling cottage and  a job as a carpent’r. Aethelnoth wast to beest did marry yond day and did request the prince and princess attendeth if ‘t be true those gents w’re free.

At which hour hath asked about the bride aethelnoth the warr’r nam’d h’r as maiden emmota of camid empire and did describe h’r as being most wondrous in beauty, most wondrous in strength and most wondrous in stature. That gent did explain yond the lady cameth of valorous stock from the camid empire and h’r fath’r hadst once been a gentle with landeth and prop’rty. Prince gualt’r of humfrye kneweth of the camid empire, in fact that gent kneweth yond his owneth fath’r king t’rold of humfrye hadst been the one to removeth the earl from his title, landeth and prop’rty. That gent did recall yond th’re w’re sev’ral daught’rs, still young at yond timeth but coequal then incredible beauties.

Prince gualt’r of humfrye ‘rd’r’d aethelnoth the warr’r to bringeth maiden emmota of camid empire to beest f’rmally did introduce bef’re the wedding tooketh lodging. Princess manild of weat’ron dynasty hath felt a dram uneasy as a f’rmal introduction usually hath led to prince gualt’r of humfrye having anoth’r mistress. Neith’r the ladies at court, n’r their husbands, hadst a choice in the matt’r. At which hour a royal did want a mistress, any mistress, those gents hadst h’r regardless of status ‘r age.

Aethelnoth the warr’r duly did fetch maiden emmota of camid empire to meeteth prince gualt’r of humfrye. Upon h’r arrival the lady curtsi’d as wast the n’rmal practiceth then prince gualt’r of humfrye off’r’d his handeth to h’r.  The lady gently did kiss t then did look toward princess manild of weat’ron dynasty to seeth if ‘t be true the lady too wouldst off’r up h’r handeth, but princess manild of weat’ron dynasty shaked h’r headeth and did turn hence.  Aethelnoth the warr’r hadst an uneasy humour at which hour that gent did see how prince gualt’r of humfrye did look at his bride to beest. Maiden emmota of camid empire hadst hath caught the eye of prince gualt’r of humfrye who is’t did like what that gent did see, a lot.  That gent cashiered maiden emmota of camid empire so yond the lady may eft h’rself f’r the wedding c’remony.

Meanwhile prince gualt’r of humfrye hath sent mistress aeschild kant’r to fetcheth maps of the camid empire, eag’r to knoweth as much about maiden emmota as possible in such a sh’rt timeth. That gent kneweth of those folk, but not about those folk and as such hath felt disadvantag’d.   This beauty and h’r ladies in waiting (who hadst did stay with h’r coequal though h’r fath’r hadst hath lost his title) hadst did travel a v’ry longeth way, and f’r what, to marryeth a carpent’r… the lady wast w’rth so much m’re, in fact that gent may taketh h’r as a mistress too.

He did place his sw’rd to the neck of aethelnoth the warr’r and invok’d a right which hadst did exist f’r many gen’rations “jus primae noctis”  ‘r the right by which  the local gentle couldst catch but a wink the wedding night with the bride of a newly did marry s’rf.

Aethelnoth the warr’r did drop to his hams and did beg prince gualt’r of humfrye to revoke his right, howev’r the prince wast det’rmin’d yond this wast one act that gent wouldst carryeth out regardless of the pleas from his servant!  aethelnoth the warr’r did hurry to joineth his bride to beest, afraid yond that gent wouldst beest late f’r the c’remony.

The wedding party rejoic’d at the joining of the couple and those gents hadst nay idea of what wast to cometh.  Yond is until prince gualt’r of humfrye arriv’d to collecteth the mistress, whilst they did dance.  Once the ladies kneweth what wast about to befall those gents group’d togeth’r trying to block the path of the prince.  The prince did withdraw his sw’rd and the ladies did part allowing that gent access to emmota who is’t wouldst beest a maiden nay m’re aft’r tonight.

Mistress brigthwyna of lhanw’rthy hath tried to entice the prince to accompany h’r, the lady wast aft’r all the nay 1 mistress, but that gent did push h’r aside bethinking with some dismay yond the lady wast becoming too needy liketh princess manild of weat’ron.  That gent did hold out his hath left handeth (his right wast holding his sw’rd) f’r aethelnoth the warr’r to presenteth his bride to that gent but in the blinketh of an eye aethelnoth the warr’r hadst eke did pull his sw’rd. Those gents did face off, neith’r making the first moveth, and circling each oth’r those gents hath moved hence from the courtyard onto ope did grind.

Emmota of camid empire did step between those folk and did refuse to moveth. The lady spake softly to h’r new husband telling that gent how much the lady did love that gent and the price the lady hadst to payeth by spending one night with the prince wouldst beest outweigh’d by all the nights to followeth hath spent with that gent.  Finally aethelnoth the warr’r slump’d his shouldst’rs and prince gualt’r of humfrye kneweth yond the dang’r that gent hadst did present wast ov’r. That gent did admire his s’rf f’r standing up f’r the mistress that gent did love.

The prince hath led h’r hence, backeth through the courtyard and out the oth’r side, while aethelnoth the warr’r did stare at the castle wond’ring which cubiculo that gent wouldst taketh h’r to, and wheth’r that gent wouldst treateth h’r kindly.  Howev’r, the prince hadst nay intention of taking h’r to the castle, that gent tooketh h’r instead to the bawbling cottage yond that gent rent’d to aethelnoth the warr’r, as one final act of injustice. That gent tooketh h’r inside as the lady protest’d about the choice and that gent did close the doth’r behind those folk.

The Endeth

Modern English Version

Prince Gualter of Humfrye had bought peace to Humfrye following a long and bloody battle a little over a year ago.  He was itching for the adventure of battle again; court life was fine for so long but one could only take so much.  Smiling and being courteous to Earls and Dukes and Lords knowing that they were probably not being loyal to him.  The Princess Manild wore on his nerves too, constantly asking him about his mistresses, as though she had some say in the matter. Medieval scenes (1).JPG

Then yesterday he and Princess Manild of Weateron Dynasty had held court during the morning when  Aethelnoth the Warrer arrived, so named because of his fearlessness in battle.  He had saved the life of the Prince who had repaid him by giving him a small cottage and a job as a carpenter.   Aethelnoth was to be married that day and requested the Prince and Princess attend if they were free.Medieval scenes (10).JPG

When asked about the bride Aethelnoth the Warrer named her as Maiden Emmota Of Camid Empire  and described her as being great in beauty, great in strength and great in stature. He explained that she came of good stock from the Camid Empire and her father had once been a noble with land and property.  Prince Gualter of Humfrye knew of the Camid Empire, in fact he knew that his own father King Torold of Humfrye had been the one to remove the Earl from his title, land and property.  He recalled that there were several daughters, still young at that time but even then incredible beauties.Medieval scenes (11)

Prince Gualter of Humfrye ordered Aethelnoth the Warrer to bring Maiden Emmota Of Camid Empire to be formally introduced before the wedding took place.  Princess Manild of Weateron Dynasty felt a little uneasy as a formal introduction usually led to Prince Gualter of Humfrye having another mistress. Neither the ladies at court, nor their husbands, had a choice in the matter.  When a royal wanted a woman, any woman, they had her regardless of status or age.Medieval scenes (15)

Aethelnoth the Warrer duly fetched Maiden Emmota Of Camid Empire to meet Prince Gualter of  Humfrye.  Upon her arrival she curtsied as was the normal practice then Prince Gualter of Humfrye offered his hand to her.  She gently kissed it then looked toward Princess Manild of Weateron Dynasty to see if she too would offer up her hand, but Princess Manild of Weateron Dynasty shook her head and turned away.  Aethelnoth the Warrer had an uneasy feeling when he saw how Prince Gualter of Humfrye looked at his bride to be.  Maiden Emmota Of Camid Empire had caught the eye of Prince Gualter of Humfrye who liked what he saw, a lot.   He dismissed Maiden Emmota Of Camid Empire so that she may ready herself for the wedding ceremony.Medieval scenes (17)

Meanwhile Prince Gualter of Humfrye sent Lady Aeschild Kantor to fetch maps of the Camid Empire, eager to know as much about Maiden Emmota as possible in such a short time.  He knew of them, but not about them and as such felt disadvantaged.  This beauty and her ladies in waiting (who had stayed with her even though her father had lost his title) had travelled a very long way, and for what, to marry a carpenter… she was worth so much more, in fact he may take her as a mistress too.Medieval scenes (69)

He placed his sword to the neck of Aethelnoth the Warrer and invoked a right which had existed for many generations “JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS”  or the right by which  the local noble could sleep the  wedding night with the bride of a newly married serf.Medieval scenes (81)

Aethelnoth the Warrer dropped to his knees and begged Prince Gualter of Humfrye to revoke his right, however the Prince was determined that this was one act he would carry out regardless of the pleas from his servant!  Aethelnoth the Warrer hurried to join his bride to be, afraid that he would be late for the ceremony. Medieval scenes (81a)

The wedding party rejoiced at the joining of the couple and they had no idea of what was to come.  That is until Prince Gualter of Humfrye arrived to collect the woman while the couple did dance  together. Once the ladies knew what was about to happen they grouped together trying to block the path of the Prince.  The Prince withdrew his sword and the ladies parted allowing him access to Emmota who would be a maiden no more after tonight. Medieval scenes (92)

Lady Brigthwyna of Lhanworthy tried to entice the Prince to accompany her, she was after all the No 1 mistress, but he pushed her aside thinking with some dismay that she was becoming too needy like Princess Manild of Weateron. Medieval scenes (99)

He held out his left hand (his right was holding his sword) for Aethelnoth the Warrer to present his bride to him but in the blink of an eye Aethelnoth the Warrer had also pulled his sword.  They faced off, neither making the first move, and circling each other they moved away from the courtyard onto open ground. Medieval scenes (112)

Emmota Of Camid Empire stepped between them and refused to move.  She spoke softly to her new husband telling him how much she loved him and the price she had to pay by spending one night with the Prince would be outweighed by all the nights to follow spent with him.  Finally Aethelnoth the Warrer slumped his shoulders and Prince Gualter of Humfrye knew that the danger he had presented was over.  He admired his serf for standing up for the woman he loved.Medieval scenes (118)

The Prince led her away, back through the courtyard and out the other side, while Aethelnoth the  Warrer stared at the castle wondering which room he would take her to, and whether he would treat her kindly. Medieval scenes (125)

However, the Prince had no intention of taking her to the castle, he took her instead to the small cottage that he rented to Aethelnoth the Warrer, as one final act of injustice.  He took her inside as she protested about the choice and he closed the door behind them.Medieval scenes (129)

The End

 

Cast

Prince Gualter of Humfrye  (Alejandro)

Princess Manild of Weateron Dynasty (Abbe Lane)

Lady Brigthwyna of Lhanworthy (longest mistress to the Prince) (Ylang)

Lady Golderon of Balton  (Agatha)

Lady Ymma Foster (Bronte)

Lady Godelina of Kyleworthy (Chloe)

Lady Aeschild Kantor (Victoria)

Aethelnoth the Warrer (Kyle)

Maiden Emmota Of Camid Empire (Quinn)

Baroness Heagyth wife of Baron Cuthwulf  (Egan)

Naishinnō Umeda Yoshitora (Princess Yoshitora umeda) (Hye Jin Choi)

Princess Somerild of Llanleigh Dynasty (Miriam)

Maiden Saegyth Of Camid Empire (sister of bride) (Carmen)

Marchioness Eormenhilde, wife of Marquess Herimann (Bonita)

Princess Hendina of Ballley  (Guilia)

Countess Enfleda, wife of Count Ealhhun (Gaia)

Viscountess Hereburg, wife of Viscount Eomer (Asher)

Crew

       Lee – Director

Cameron – Screenwriter

Tatum – cameraman

Alejandro – Producer

More photo’s at:   Photo’s including cast and crew  who can also be seen on the “meet the guys & gals” tab

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2 comments on “A Medieval Tale: JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS

  1. wow, what a hair raising story! If I am not mistaken that practice was brought in by the Romans when they invaded where the landowner could basically pick and choose any young maiden to be the first to bed them from their serfs and actually was responsible for a major overthrow when people decided they weren’t going to take it anymore. Beautiful pictures and story of something most people know nothing about that was prominent on the isles up until around the plague times. I could so trick those girls out, lol

    Like

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