Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXIV.: Of the Marriages of the Kings of the Franks. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XXIV.: Of the Marriages of the Kings of the Franks. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Of the Marriages of the Kings of the Franks.
I have already mentioned, that, with people who do not cultivate the earth, marriages are less fixed than with others, and that they generally take many wives. “Of‡ all the barbarous nations the Germans were almost the only people who were satisfied with one wife, if we except∥ , says Tacitus, some persons, who, not from a dissoluteness of manners, but because of their nobility, had many.”
This explains the reason why the kings of the first race had so great a number of wives. These marriages were less a proof of incontinence than a consequence of dignity; and it would have wounded them in a tender point to have deprived them of such a prerogative§ . This also explains the reason why the example of the kings was not followed by the subjects.
[‡ ]Prope soli barbarorum singulis uxoribus contenti sunt. De morib. German.
[∥ ]Exceptis admodum paucis, qui non libidine, sed ob nobilitatem, plurimis nuptiis ambiuntur. Ibid.
[§ ]See Fredegarius’s chronicle of the year 628.