Why was it stipulated in ancient times that women must marry at the age of thirteen or fourteen? Is early childbearing harmful?

In ancient China, what was the age for women to get married? In modern society, a girl of thirteen or fourteen years old should still be studying in school. Generally, the legal age for a woman to get married is twenty. But in ancient society, a girl of thirteen or fourteen years old was not studying in school, but married and had children.


According to the physiological knowledge we have learned, a 13-year-old woman is in the stage of development. At this stage, getting married and having children will do great harm to the girl’s body, because the fetus in the stomach and the developing girl will rob the body of nutrition. Pregnant women need nutrition, and the girl also needs nutrition. Since it is so harmful to get married so early, why do ancient women get married so early?

First of all, in ancient times, women were not all married at the age of thirteen. It is recorded in Zhouli that the legal marriage age of women is 20 years. It can be seen that in the Zhou Dynasty thousands of years ago, the marriage age of women was still relatively late.


However, in the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, countries began to force women to marry and have children early. At the end of the spring and Autumn period, King Gou Jian of Yue set the age for women to marry at 15. During the Warring States period, some countries lowered the age to 14. In the Qin Dynasty, women who were 1.3 meters tall had to marry.


In the Han Dynasty, Emperor Huidi of the Han Dynasty set the legal age of marriage for women to be thirteen or fourteen years old. In the era of emperor Renzong of the Song Dynasty, the legal age of marriage for women was thirteen years old. In the Ming Dynasty, the legal age of marriage for women was fourteen years old.

We can see that after the Han Dynasty, women’s marriage age was generally 134, so we would say that ancient women married at the age of 134, which is also a general statement. King Gou Jian of Yue stipulated the punishment for not getting married when he reached the legal age for marriage, as well as the punishment for the parents of girls who did not get married before the age of 17.


The punishment in Han Dynasty was that if a woman didn’t get married before the age of 15, she would be fined 600 yuan. In the Western Jin Dynasty, Emperor Wu of the Jin Dynasty stipulated that if a woman did not marry at the age of 17, the government would marry her out. It is said that Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty also stipulated that if a woman over the age of 15 did not marry, he would ask local officials to marry her home.


It is precisely according to this law that women are forced to marry that no woman will marry very late. Although it may initially be to increase the population, it does solve the problem that many men cannot marry to a certain extent.

What are the reasons for women’s early marriage and early childbearing in ancient China? In ancient times, the level of medical technology was low. When people got sick, they could only take some traditional Chinese medicine to recuperate. For the poor, they had no money to buy medicine. They had to rely on their own body to carry it, but they had to wait to die at home. For such reasons, the average life expectancy of the ancients was very low. Generally, they were old when they were 40 or 50 years old, From this point of view, it is not difficult to understand the original intention of ancient women to marry and have children at the age of 13 or 14.

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