A woman who is involved in a marriage-kind-of-relationship with a man, but is unable to marry due to certain reasons is referred to as concubinage. There may be several reasons why they cannot marry. These include lower status of the female or married status of the male. Hence, more commonly, only men with high economic or social status tend to have concubines.
Concubinage is commonly found in history. Many former rulers had wives as well as concubines. In fact, the family of the concubinage allowed her to stay with the man, as it provided financial and social stability as well as support. The history dates back to the period of ancient Greece and others. Many Israel men commonly acknowledged their concubines. In fact, such women had the same rights in the house as those of legitimate wives.
In Europe and China
The culture of Europe has permitted to have concubinage since ancient times. In ancient China, the act of having concubinage was similar, although of inferior status, to marriage. It was a recognized relationship and the offspring, a result of such relationship which was also legally accepted. The children of the concubinage had inheritance rights, although not as much as real children had.
Although not many stories have been found in scripted ancient Greek culture, the presence of slave concubinage in history cannot be avoided. According to ancient Draconian law, a man was allowed to kill another, if found with his concubinage in order to produce free children.
Reference to concubinages has been mentioned in the Bible. There was only one difference between a wife and a concubinage. The former had to give dowry, while the latter came without any such offering.
The concubinage enjoyed all the rights that were enjoyed by the man’s wife. Besides, if someone else laid his hands on a man’s concubinage, it was highly unethical. David, as mentioned in the Bible, becomes quite dishonored, when he finds that his concubinage was in physical relationship with his son Absalom.
With many such references in the past, it is being concluded by the historians that concubinages were an extremely important part of the lives of most males in the past. Although not many great names are from this category of women, it is believed that most great leaders of past had concubinages, apart from wives. The definition of concubine is very similar to that of a concubinage.