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700 BC) suggests that a man should marry around the age of thirty, and that he should take a wife who is five years past puberty. In England, for example, the only reliable data in the early modern period comes from property records made after death.Not only were the records relatively rare, but not all bothered to record the participants' ages, and it seems that the more complete the records are, the more likely they are to reveal young marriages.
There are many "grey areas" in this area of law, some regarding unspecific and untried legislation, others brought about by debates regarding changing societal attitudes, and others due to conflicts between federal and state laws.
Modern historians have sometimes shown reluctance to accept evidence of young ages of marriage, dismissing it as a 'misreading' by a later copier of the records.
In the 12th century, Gratian, the influential founder of canon law in medieval Europe, accepted the age of puberty for marriage to be around twelve for girls and around fourteen for boys but acknowledged consent to be meaningful if both children were older than seven years of age.
A general shift in social and legal attitudes toward issues of sex occurred during the modern era.
Attitudes on the appropriate age of permission for females to engage in sexual activity drifted toward adulthood.
Age of consent laws vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, though most jurisdictions set the age of consent in the range 14 to 18.