Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Seal it with a swat

When did we start signing our names to contracts? While the practice of signing one's name to a document does go way back, Slate recently revealed that it was also common to use wax seals to indicate authenticity between the 6th and 17th centuries.

Another more casual way to seal an agreement was cutting off a lock of one's hair and giving it to the other party. During the 13th century, agreements were sometimes marked with a slap, or some other traumatic act. The theory was that both parties would remember not only the injury but the accord that was reached on its infliction.

So spankings were legally valid and recognized as memory improvement aids.

From Hermione's Heart


Daisychain said...

LOL, brilliant! xxxxxxx

ronnie said...

Love it Hermione. I'd never heard of a slap as the mark of sealing an agreement or the giving of a lock of hair.

Imagine just agreeing a deal, he/she holds hand out to shake on it and you slap their bottom LOL.


Hermione said...

Daisy - It works for me.

Ronnie - That would make the agreement memorable.


Pink said...

And once again I find myself longing for the more simple times of yesteryear.

Love this bit of history. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Hermione said...

Pink - No keyboards, no internet, no texting - those were the days!


Raven Red said...

I have heard about the giving of a lock of hair, but a slap?

Now I am wondering who I can try it with...(GRIN)

Red said...