Saturday, December 26, 2015

Question from KG - Oaths it the 16th century

How significant was an oath in the sixteenth century?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

Extremely significant. Oaths were taken before God, and a false oath or breaking an oath was considered a major offense to God, placing one's immortal soul in danger. In taking an oath, one basically offered a guarantee, with their immortal soul as collateral against default. It was a widely and strongly held belief.

Unlike today, religion was a central part of life in England in the sixteenth century, to the extent that even the yearly calendar was structured around religious events. We still see remnants of that in the UK, with such references as "Michaelmas term" in relation to schooling, for example, but it is unheard of in the US (though it is paradoxically arguable that religion plays a stronger role in public life today in the US than it does in the UK).