Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Erunt animae duae in carne una Definition:

Latin: two souls in one flesh.

Related Terms: Dower, Husband-Wife Privilege

Other presentations:

  • animæ duæ in carne una;
  • duae animae in carne una; and
  • quia sunt duae animae in carne una

In Re Grand Jury Matter, Justice Rosenn of the United States Court of Appeals wrote of:

"... the semimedieval metaphysical notion that the partners to a marriage are not distinct individuals but a unified whole — duae animae in carne una (two souls in one flesh)."

Cambridge University law professor J. H. Baker wrote:

"It was a common saying among the canonists and common law lawyers alike that in the eyes of the law husband and wife were but one person: they were two souls in one flesh (erunt animae duae in carne una). This one person was for all practical purposes the husband...."

At 1 Institutes 37a, Edward Coke remarked:

"(A traitor's) wife, that is a part of himself (et erunt animae duae in carne unâ) shall lose her dower."1

In United States v Walker, Justice Clark of the United States Court of Appeals remarked (in dissent):

"(T)he common-law principle that a wife cannot be produced either for or against her husband, quia sunt duae animae in carne una is gone; indeed, there is none now so poor as to do it reverence."


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