Dr. Bastian's Historical Trivia - the Best Man

September 4, 2018

Ever wonder about the origin of a custom or expression used in our everyday interactions such as being chosen to be the best man in your good friend's wedding?

 

Nowadays, this distinction is considered a symbol of respect and fidelity, an honorarium of sorts. However, it meant something a few centuries back of a far more serious nature - survival.

 

You see, during the Middle Ages of Europe, young women of social or material rank were closely overseen in public and in their homes as social, political and/or economical investments - think "arranged marriages". Often a young man of low 'worth' but of worthy stock, would have designs to marry such a female but could not gain acceptance to pursue her. He would then mount an effort to steal into his intended mate's home to kidnap her, often times with her cooperation. However, this approach was also not lost on the house guards in attendance to thwart just such attempts.  Therefore, the love-driven suitor would seek out a suitable ally whose job was to accompany and defend his friend by lethal means if necessary while the young lady was taken away. This 'deputy' needed to be brave, capable and willing to risk his life in defense of his friend's effort. Indeed the suitor's mission and his very life could hinge on how well he chose the best man for this occasion.

 

*Dr. Bastian is a big history buff. You'll always find him interesting to engage in conversation. Schedule your cleaning and check-up today.

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