Author Sara McDougall talks about her current book: Royal Bastards: The Birth of Illegitimacy, 800–1230
Today we use the term “bastard” as an insult, or to describe children born to non-marital unions. Being born to unmarried parents is largely free of the kind of stigma and legal incapacities once attached to it in Western cultures. Nevertheless, it still has associations of shame and sin. This disparagement of children born outside of marriage is widely assumed to be a legacy of Medieval Christian Europe, with its emphasis on compliance with Catholic marriage law.
The stigmatization as 'bastards' of children born outside of wedlock is commonly thought to have emerged early in Medieval European history, but Sara McDougall demonstrates that until well into the late twelfth century a child's prospects depended more upon the social status and lineage of both parents than of the legitimacy of their marriage.
Read More Here @ OUP Blog - Bastards & Thrones in Medieval Europe