Gender and civic authority: sexual control in a medieval Italian town

Gender and civic authority: sexual control in a medieval Italian town

Carolj Lansing

One of the changes that marks the rise of effective self-governing communes in late medieval Italy is a new attention in the civic courts to cases involving sexual morality. Town officials began active pursuit of offenses that included not only prostitution and sodomy but adultery. These efforts suggest that the creation of civic authority was influenced by understandings of sexual morality and sexual difference. Most scholarship on the late medieval Italian towns still effectively divides public from private spheres. Women, family, and sexuality are all understood as private life, distinct from questions of state authority.(1) This division has at times prevented scholars from grasping fascinating and revealing connections.

One example is research on the medieval Italian magnates, noble patrilineages considered by their contemporaries the worst threats to public order. Scholars have not examined the links between laws restraining the magnates and laws on issues like sodomy and female dress.(2) Lawmakers addressed noble violence and faction as threats to public order, and then turned directly to women’s hems. The connection seems odd to modern readers, but thirteenth-century understandings of violent disorder were different from modern ones. Society and politics were grasped in terms of moral theology. Medieval lawmakers considered women’s hems and factional warfare closely linked: a root cause of the lack of order was concupiscence, sensual appetites resistant to rational control.(3) Further, concupiscence at least since Augustine of Hippo was associated with attributes considered feminine. Medieval Italian lawmakers in some ways based the new guild republics on an analysis of public order that linked violent disorder with gendered attributes.

This article is an effort to open up a new avenue for analysis of medieval state formation. Medieval historians have been slow to respond to Joan Scott’s 1985 call for research into the use of gender to signify relations of power.(4) But in fact, the medieval Italian city-states invite this kind of analysis because of their use of the vocabularies of the patriarchal family and of Christian moral teaching. I would like to suggest that town governments pursued sexual crimes in part because lawmakers believed that one cause of disorder – in the state as within the family – was concupiscence, which they associated with feminine nature. The creation of just order and authority required the restraint of sensual appetite.

I. Sexual criminality, gender and state formation

This approach brings together material from three fields of research in medieval history: sexual criminality, state formation and gender. The last two decades have seen a number of studies of late medieval sexual criminality, although research on adultery cases remains scanty.(5) The emphasis has been on the targets of the laws. Michael Rocke, in a major study of sodomy cases in Florence, suggests that laws on sodomy were not to assure the restriction of a deviant group; he found little evidence of a gay subculture or a concept of sexual identity in fifteenth-century Florence. Rocke does link changing legislation and the degree of enforcement of laws on sodomy to specific transitions in Florentine rule.(6) There are a handful of recent studies of prostitution. Most emphasize the fifteenth and even sixteenth centuries, and center on institutionalization, the late medieval creation of civic brothels.(7) The work of Ruth Karras has been most influential. Karras views the regulation of brothels in terms of the control of female sexuality: a woman who was not under the control of a single man had to be a “common woman” available to all.(8) As Luise White has argued on the basis of her research on prostitutes in colonial Nairobi, studies of prostitution tend to be shaped by ideas about victimization. She urges instead an emphasis on women, their earnings and their families, analysis that does not “isolate women in the categories of deviancy and subculture.”(9)

These studies of late medieval sexual criminality raise questions about contemporary political ideas. Why did town governments put themselves in the thankless business of seeking to police sexual morality? Karras’ analysis of prostitution laws in terms of control of female sexuality is a useful starting point, but from the perspective of thirteenth-century Italy, there are two stumbling-blocks. First, the courts sought to police not only female but male sexuality, including sodomy and male adultery.(10) Second, social control is not obviously the best explanation for laws and court decisions that were enforced weakly or not at all, given a town’s meager police power. More generally, why did the control of sexuality in the late thirteenth century become the job of the state? What does this reveal about the ways in which ruling elites understood authority and political order?

Scholars working on late medieval and early modern Italian state formation have been slow to think in terms of gender, despite considerable recent attention to aspects of what used to be regarded as private life. Many Italianists have concluded that legal and institutional forms were often empty appearances, in part because revelations of the corruption of the modern Italian state have simply rendered older statist models untenable. Scholars have turned instead to analysis of the state in terms of informal sources of power, notably clientelism.(11) This has led not to a collapse of the distinction between public and private, but rather to a boundary shift.(12) This shift is evident in a magisterial recent survey of the field by Giorgio Chittolini. Chittolini explicitly excluded from his survey “all the rich literature on ‘the private’ that does not bear directly on ‘the public’ and the state.”(13) The category of private life persists, and women’s history is for the most part located within it. Feminist studies of sumptuary legislation, notably the work of Diane Hughes, have reinforced this division by analyzing laws on dress and behavior in terms of controls on women.(14) This relegates the laws to the history of the restriction of women.(15) The point is simply that the laws and their enforcement are also important to the history of the state.

Late medieval Italian politics offers rich material for gender analysis. One possibility would be to take seriously the patriarchal nature of the state, evidenced for example by the Florentine state dowry fund.(16) The approach adopted here is to explore one way in which society, politics and human nature were understood in terms of Christian moral teaching. This influence has been under-studied, perhaps because it is not consonant either with a Weberian bureaucratic model or with the Burckhardian image of the Italian Renaissance state as a work of art.(17) But in the thirteenth century the friars in great preaching campaigns in the Italian towns explained social and political disorder in terms of sin: the lack of just order resulting from aspects of human nature that are the consequence of the Fall. The friars’ political influence could be direct; in the mid-thirteenth century, preachers were sometimes invited to write a town’s laws.

There has been extensive research on late medieval gender, defined in various ways as contemporary understandings of sexual difference. This includes the work of Caroline Bynum and Joan Cadden’s recent Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages, as well as research by historians of theology, notably Pierre Payer’s The Bridling of Desire.(18) This study draws on this rich research to examine one question, the influence of the association of concupiscence with female nature and disorder on lawmakers and civic courts. The argument is that when urban elites sought to restrict adultery, as well as prostitution, sodomy, and articles of female dress, they defined the city-state and their own authority through the exclusion of threats that they understood as feminine. What ultimately was their purpose? I will argue that this was not a serious effort at social control; civic judges had neither the police power nor it seems to me the motivation genuinely to control these actions. The laws and court cases were as much a conversation about disorder and about elite male self-restraint as an attempt at social control.

I have sought to bridge the gap between discussions of politics and morality and social practice by looking not only at the ways in which lawmakers and preachers talked about morality and authority in their statutes, treatises and sermons, but at the choices of men and women represented in judicial sentences.(19) Surely the two were interwoven, and elite perceptions of disorder derived not only from ideas preached in sermons but from experience.(20) When lawmakers associated disorder with qualities considered feminine, they were reacting to social change and the presence in the towns of large numbers of poor women who were not clearly under patriarchal control and despite other constraints had freedom of movement and considerable agency.

The evidence for practice for late thirteenth-and early fourteenth-century Italy is fragmentary at best. For the most part, research on these issues in unpublished judicial records and council minutes has not been done.(21) For these reasons, I have not sketched a general account for all of late medieval Italy.(22) Instead, I have attempted a detailed look at a single community, though in exploring contemporary discussions I have drawn of necessity on evidence from other towns. I have first explored normative legislation and then judicial sentences for one crime, adultery. Adultery cases are especially revealing about connections between the concerns of lawmakers about passion as a source of disorder and people’s actions. An adulterous couple did threaten order, since the choice to have sexual relations that violated the marriage bond defied patriarchal authority.

The article will first briefly sketch the growth of town populations and judicial institutions in the thirteenth century. Then, I will turn to legal and theological sources to argue that Orvietan legislators in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century understood political and social disorder in gendered terms. In the second half of the article I will turn to the specific case of the extension of civic jurisdiction to adultery in Orvieto, and argue that abstract understandings of gender and disorder were grounded not only in contemporary preaching but in social experience, and that the Orvietan court cases over adultery reveal links between lawmakers’ concerns about concupiscence and their experience of genuine threats to authority, disorderly sexual relations between men and women.

Orvieto, the focus of this study, is a spectacular hill town about halfway between Rome and Florence. The town is now an exquisite backwater, but in the thirteenth century it was an important cultural crossroads. Orvieto from 1157 was a self-governing commune within the Patrimony of St. Peter, and became a popular residence of the papal curia.(23) The great Roman houses that dominated the papacy had considerable cultural and political influence in the town, depending on the ins and outs of their complex rivalries.(24) The Orvietan courts reflected this influence. Medieval Italian town governments were run by a form of hired city manager termed a podesta, typically an outsider who served a year’s term and then moved on. In Orvieto the podesta were often papal nominees, and brought with them to the town by the jurists who decided adultery cases. For example, one member of the Roman Orsini family named Bertoldo served as podesta during the pontificate of his kinsman Nicholas III. He was back in office in 1287-88 and it was in fact his judges who decided the bulk of the extant adultery cases. Orvieto despite its small size was a sophisticated and influential place: thirteenth-century struggles over religious, political and gender identities were in part worked out in the town.(25) It is also the case that the extant statutes and court records are particularly rich, allowing us glimpses of this contest.

II. Social growth and civic authority

Orvieto, like the other towns of medieval Tuscany, underwent a gradual social and political revolution beginning in the late twelfth century. The rapid growth of the towns was driven by local emigration, as individuals and families moved from the countryside to take advantage of urban economic opportunity. The city of Florence roughly doubled in size during the century. For Orvieto, the proportions of growth can be traced through the gradual appearance in the course of the century of new neighborhoods and churches, first on the plateau and then in new suburbs below it. By 1292, the town numbered close to 17,000, the immediate countryside close to 32,000.(26)

Towns bristled with recent emigrants, including landless laborers, male and female. The bustling urban life of the late thirteenth-century town offered not only men but women new opportunity and mobility. The judicial records give a sense of the ebb and flow of the streets and piazze and are full of independent women who bash thieves over the head, serve drink after hours or peddle fruit and insult each other in the market.(27) Many worked at modest jobs outside of elite households and guild structures, serving as laundresses, spinners, resellers of fruits and vegetables.(28) Some supplemented meager incomes with sexual services for pay, in this period before the imposition of strict controls marked prostitutes as a distinct social group and moved them into civic brothels.(29) Research on late medieval Italian women has focused on women under patriarchal control, elite women and women working as domestics in elite households. Women who were more independent because they were widowed or undowered and too poor to marry often escape our attention because they escaped most records.(30)

Women with occupations were usually poor, as contemporary tax records suggest. In the 1292 tax records in Orvieto, only 4.2% of heads of urban households wealthy enough to own rural land were women, who tended to own small garden plots, tiny bits of high-value land.(31) The real number of female-headed households in the town was perhaps three times as high, since all those without rural land were omitted. They were included in the Florentine estimo of 1352, revealing their numbers and also their poverty: over two-thirds of women identified with occupations were classed as miserabiles, poor people with no resources of any value.(32) Women at low social levels who were not domestics in wealthy households had more independence than the closely guarded wives and daughters of the elite, though to be outside of patriarchal control meant that they were less protected by family and community and more at risk. Thus one effect of rapid growth and immigration was a substantial population of poor women.(33) Many of them lived in households that were not headed by men. This visible female presence was the background to elite male association of a lack of order with concupiscence and women.(34)

Rapid social and economic growth led to a shift in the structure of political power. In the late thirteenth century, most towns established authority based in guilds. Even in smaller towns like Orvieto where elite wealth was always based on agricultural land, power was shifting from an older landed nobility to men who combined wealth from agriculture with banking, commerce and modest manufacture. Corporate economic associations gained a new importance.35 Strengthened urban institutions included a considerable expansion of the judicial powers of government. It was during the mid-thirteenth century that Italian city governments first achieved anything resembling a monopoly on justice.(36) Legal historians document a shift from law used to establish consensus and peace, to law used to assert state authority during this period.(37) Judicial authorities began to develop an investigative function. By 1277 the Orvietan podesta Raynaldo Leonis had numerous officers charged with uncovering violations. Members of his familia denounced curfew violators and gamblers; special officials safeguarded the markets, fountains and butcher shops. A pig officer denounced those who let their pigs run loose in the streets.(38) This expansion of investigative powers defined the city government as protector of the local economy, public order and safety.(39) It also enabled the city to adjudicate and even investigate cases involving sexual morality, including not only rape, prostitution and sodomy but adultery.

This expansion of the town’s judicial powers was both an effort to construct and justify civic authority and also a pragmatic response to real threats. The great problem for the late medieval Italian towns was the creation of an orderly self-governing urban society, a vita civile. The worst threats to order came not from outside powers – armies of the papacy, Hohenstaufen emperors, Angevins or even neighboring cities. Rather they were internal: violence, crime, discord, faction. Violence was common: the judicial records are full of evidence of after hours’ drinking, gambling, concealed weapons, insults and brawls, as well as theft, assault, rape and homicide.(40) And in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, factional division and civil war were endemic. Towns were torn apart by conflicts in which men butchered their enemies in the streets and torched their palaces.

Civic governments despite their judicial innovations were ill-equipped to control violence. Their police power was minimal; when individuals chose not to comply with the court, judges typically had little power to enforce their rulings.(41) Most people convicted in court were simply contumacious. Presumably, they then calculated the advantages and disadvantages of paying the fine.(42) Andrea Zorzi has argued that in the communal period systems of policing were based on neighborhood inquests, at least in Florence. Extant inquests from thirteenth-century Bologna suggest that the reports of the neighborhood representatives were shaped by local power relations. Not surprisingly, they were reluctant to report dangerous or powerful neighbors.(43)

Civic authorities were capable of occasional dramatic exemplary punishments but did not have the police power required to carry out heavy sanctions with consistency.(44) It was especially difficult to punish elite violence. For example, in a notorious case from Orvieto, some Filippeschi nobles in 1272 butchered three Pandolfini rivals and an unlucky tavernkeeper. When the court summoned twenty-two men as witnesses – many of them villagers from nearby Fabro – they simply failed to appear, surely fearing repercussions. The podesta slapped twenty men considered implicated in the homicides with huge 7000 libra fines and banned them. This was largely unenforced, and in 1273 the podesta reduced the penalties to a few temporary exiles and smaller fines. Even these were not enforced, and a year later the podesta arranged a public reconciliation and the murders went unpunished. This institutional weakness is important because of its implications for the nature of contemporary legislative efforts and judicial process. This simply was not effective social control.

III. Understandings of order: Orvietan statutes on sexual offenses

In Orvieto a broad-based guild regime with executives termed the Seven was established in 1292.(45) These guildsmen-lawmakers, like their counterparts in Florence, Bologna or Siena addressed the need to establish order in a number of ways. They blamed the nobility; it was the magnates who disdain the law and use force for private ends. Stringent laws were passed and at times even enforced that sought to curb noble violence and limit noble access to power.(46) They also took measures to counteract what they perceived to be growing threats from sexual offenses. The most dramatic was a new concern with sodomy. As late as 1295, sodomy was treated mildly, judging from the startling case of a former policeman accused of an attempt to kidnap, imprison and rape the young son of a master barber. He was contumacious and was sentenced in absentia to a fine of 50 libra for the kidnap, 200 for being a known highway robber and a “vachabundus,” and 100 for attempted sodomy. By comparison, the fine for heterosexual rape was 200 libras. If captured and unable to pay, he was to be either hanged until dead or blinded, the penalties not for sodomy but for repeated theft.(47) The victim s father served as a guild consul the same year, and it was perhaps because of his influence that a new statute on sodomy was passed.(48)

By 1308, the Seven considered “that the vice of sodomy is increasing in the city of Orvieto, an insult to God and man.” They left the exact practice undefined and simply called it a sin against nature. The Seven responded to this increasing threat with a cruel and imaginative humiliation for those unable to pay the fine. A person convicted of sodomy was to be paraded around the city with trumpets sounding before him, holding a cord tied to his male member “in such a way that the member was publically visible.” Men guilty of sodomy were banned from public honors or offices. Pimps for sodomy were to be punished as sodomites but if unable to pay were to be branded on the throat with the eagle, symbol of the commune.(49) The threat of sodomy was so serious that the normal rules restricting torture were to be waived.(50) The Seven, apparently concerned that these cruel laws would not be enforced, charged the podesta with investigating and punishing sodomy, with a 500 libra fine if he failed to do so.

The sodomy law punished men who did not control a sensual appetite that was considered against nature. Contemporary laws from other towns were more specific, distinguishing between active and passive partners, although in the thirteenth century they were often punished equally; in Bologna, both were to be burned alive, unless the passive partner was underage or could prove violent rape.(51) The Orvietans instead devised a punishment that dramatized the loss of male political privilege consequent upon a sodomy conviction. The planned punishment of a man guilty of sodomy was an elaborate public humiliation, a parade that parodied the formal processions of civic officials, with trumpeters blowing, the man’s penis displayed to view while he lost the privileges of access to public office and honors.

Prostitution laws were passed during these same decades. The apparent intent was not to eliminate prostitution but to limit it and to ban pimps. Prostitution cases in the thirteenth-century Orvietan judicial records are the sentences of pimps and landlords rather than prostitutes themselves.(52) The Seven sought to ban prostitution from certain areas, particularly near churches. By 131315, prostitution was to be excluded from the city entirely, and the landlords of properties used for prostitution were to be fined. The Seven forbade women from holding their daughters or any other women in brothels; the penalty was a beating and exile.(53)

These laws could be read as a response to a dramatic increase in courtly vice. Orvieto from the mid-thirteenth century was a courtly capital, popular residence of the papal curia and at times the Angevins and their attendant garrisons.(54) Papal entourages were enormous, numbering as many as five or six hundred people.(55) The presence of all these courtiers, clerks, domestics, hangers-on and troops must have fostered not only the luxury trades and rental housing market but taverns, gambling and prostitution. However, these stringent Orvietan laws on sex crimes date not from the town’s heyday as a courtly center but from after the curia’s transfer to Avignon. The laws addressed not the impact of the transient presence of the courts but threats understood to be internal.

The Seven were also concerned to separate spaces for men and women. In 1315, they made careful provision to divide the prison and create a separate area for women. “No woman could or should be mixed into the prison where men are detained.” The new women’s prison was to be locked with two keys, one held by the podesta or another high official, the other by the Seven.(56) The intent must have been to avoid sexual impropriety and consequent trouble. Women were to be carefully locked up.

The most striking of these laws is a provision of Sept. 13, 1310 in which the Seven denied women access to the town hall and its broad exterior stairs, where legal business was often transacted: “no woman may ascend to the Palazzo of the Popolo or that of the Orvietan commune or their stairs for any cause or reason. Women who must be questioned concerning accusations, inquests, testimony or any other necessity shall be examined at the foot of the stairs, next to the piazza of the Palazzo del Popolo,” or in the church of San Andreas. Officials who ignored the law were to be fined 25 libra; disobedient women were to be fined 10.(57) In effect, women were not allowed in the places where government and justice took place. Judging from a revised version that allowed respectable women to be questioned at home, the overt intent was perhaps to protect women, though how questioning women in the busy piazza next to the butcher shops under the stairs might accomplish this end is unclear.(58) The law made no attempt to alter the legal privileges and obligations of female citizens and female residents; women could still lodge accusations, serve as witnesses, and so forth. The Seven simply defined the sites of public administration as an exclusively masculine place.(59) In the absence of women, government and justice could be carried out by calm, rational male guildsmen.

IV. Concupiscence and just order

I would like to suggest that underlying these laws concerning the punishment of sexual offenses and the restriction of the presence of women were ideas derived from theological understandings of original sin. The lack of just order in society could be understood as the result of concupiscence, sensual appetite resistant to reason. Concupiscence was often coded as feminine. When the Seven discussed excluding women from the town hall, they were talking about ways to exclude irrational concupiscence from public life. This is not to deny the influence on political thought of the revival of classical philosophy; clearly, ideas about the restraint of passion also derived from the Stoic tradition, and efforts to exclude female attributes from public life from the Greek equation of women with irrationality.(60) But the implications of Augustinian analysis of original sin for understandings of human faculties and just order in thirteenth-century political discussions were equally important and are less well understood.

Augustine had explained original sin in terms of the psychological difference between men and women. Adam because of his rational nature would not have listened to the serpent alone. It was Eve who was moved by concupiscence and acted as intermediary.(61) As Pierre Payer neatly explains, in Augustine’s De Genesi contra Manichaeos, “Eve represents the desire for pleasure, and Adam represents rational consent.”(62) Augustine’s reading of the temptation story in Genesis was extremely influential, adopted among others by Peter Lombard. It appears in the commonly-used medieval handbooks of theology, the Lombard’s Sentences and the Glossa Ordinaria.

Original sin came to be associated with the loss of just order in the body and in society. Augustine had understood original sin in terms of concupiscence, best represented by the excitation of the sexual organs, a random motion disobedient to the will.(63) The human defect that is the consequence of the fall is thus the loss of rational control of the body, including but not exclusively the loss of perfect control of the genitals. As John Rist explains, for Augustine this was “a revolt of the senses and of the body generally.”(64) Thirteenth-century theologians brought together Augustine’s emphasis on concupiscence with the views of Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109), who emphasized sin as the loss of original justice.(65) Original sin for Anselm meant Adam and Eve’s betrayal of their rational natures and their capacity to serve justice.(66) From the time of Alexander of Hales, a number of theologians turned to this idea and formulated understandings of original sin that closely associated sexual impulses and the uncontrollable random movements of the genitals with disobedience to authority and the absence of just order.(67) Thomas Aquinas understood original sin in terms of the loss of original justice, the harmony of the human will with God’s plan. Original sin is thus an individual’s disposition to disorder arising from the loss of that harmonious justice.(68) Concupiscence is the effect of original sin, or in Thomas’ formulation the material cause. Concupiscence, or disordered desire, is the body’s pursuit of natural appetites in disregard of reason. Sensuality is a rebellion against reason. Orderly justice requires the imposition of rational control, the restraint of disordered desire. This analysis directly connected disorder in human nature with disorder in society; it is the loss of interior justice and the rational control of the body and its appetites with original sin that creates disorder.

Were these ideas available to the guildsmen lawmakers in thirteenth-century Italian towns ? Moral teachings about political order were transmitted in several ways. Recent studies of lay education have stressed its moral function; Paul Gehl argues for example that the purpose of the translation of Latin learning into the vernacular was moral education.(69) Urban elites often were literate, and the texts they read – Latin as well as vernacular – emphasized ancient and Christian morality. For example, James Powell in a recent study of Albertanus of Brescia, a judge who authored popular moral and political treatises, demonstrates that Albertanus was closely influenced by his reading of Seneca and Augustine’s City of God. In 1246 Albertanus wrote a dialogue on the need for self-restraint to avoid destructive vendettas and establish peaceful civic order. Disorder is exemplified by an attack by an man’s enemies on his wife and daughter, an attack explained in terms of their lust and cupidity.(70) The occasional town judge like Albertanus could himself be a moral philosopher.

Surely most Orvietan guildsmen did not read the works of Seneca, Augustine or even Albertanus, but it was hard for them to escape the sermons of friars, who often had sophisticated theological training.(71) To my knowledge no sermons preached to the laity in Orvieto in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century are extant, though because of the repeated presence of the papal curia great theologians did teach there, including Albertus Magnus and Aquinas himself, who served as lector in the Dominican convent in Orvieto during the sojourn of Urban IV.(72) Thomas’ teaching efforts in Orvieto were probably directed to fellow clerics, but Franciscan as well as Dominican friars regularly passed on theological ideas in sermons to the laity. Most extant medieval Italian sermons still exist only in manuscript. One well-studied preacher is the Dominican Fra Remigio de’Girolami, who preached to the laity in Florence at the end of the thirteenth century, and even addressed a number of sermons directly to the town’s executives. Fra Remigio was educated in theology at University of Paris and has attracted scholarly interest because of a sermon that argued an Aristotelian political analysis in terms of the common good and influenced Florentine statecraft. Fra Remigio spoke far more extensively of the consequences of sin. In one example of his sermons, he explained the effects of original sin in Augustinian terms, concupiscence and the loss of perfect control of the genitals.(73) This loss of control is depicted in terms of political disobedience, the intellect as king disobeyed by the members of the body. A thorough analysis of the precise ways in which preachers explained sexual disorder to the laity requires extended research in sermon collections in manuscript. But it is clear that friars did preach on concupiscence and original sin and that they associated control of sexual impulses with control of society.

Preaching friars also connected female dress and political disorder. One influential example is the Dominican Cardinal Latino Malabranca, a legate sent by Nicholas III to Lombardy and Tuscany in the late 1270s to make peace. The cardinal accomplished the dramatic public reconciliation of warring factions and in 1280 in Florence established a new bipartisan regime. To my knowledge, his sermons do not survive, but there is a description of his program written by another friar, the chronicler Salimbene. Fra Salimbene tells us that Latino, in this campaign to pacify factional violence, urged a tough ordinance on female dress, banning long trains and requiring all women to veil their faces when they went out. This was a serious effort; the ordinance forbade priests from giving absolution to women who did not comply.(74) Why urge limits on women’s dresses and veils covering women faces in public during a campaign to reconcile warring factions and make peace? There is an implied connection between female influence and male violence. If only women kept their faces covered, men could show more restraint. Again, concupiscence, the irrational appetite that is the source of violent injustice, was considered feminine; male nature was rational.

Did the laity take up these ideas? Early fourteenth-century laments over the passing of the buon tempo antico, the good old days, suggest a similar connection. Dante in a famed passage in the Paradiso depicted past order and present disorder in terms of loss of control of women. In the good old days of Cacciaguida, Florence abode in peace, “sobria e pudica,” sober and chaste, without bracelets, tiara, embroidered gown or fancy girdle. Dowries were reasonable. Women wore no paint and were found at the cradle and the distaff.(75) The disastrous state of Dante’s Florence is a time when women are not always at home spinning and wear jewels and embroidery. The text links concerns about dowry inflation and luxury spending with civic disorder. Dante’s source, Riccobaldo of Ferrara, in his Historie of 1308-11 depicted the good old days as times of frugality and plain female dress. He excoriated modern dissolute habits, including garments of rich material decorated with marvellous gold, silver and pearls and exotic furs, as well as the habit of drinking foreign wine at sumptuous feasts prepared by highly paid cooks. These texts certainly express concerns about money, about luxury spending and dowry inflation. But desire for money was not dissociated from other forms of lust: immoderate appetite led to violence and political injustice. Riccobaldo made this explicit; from modern luxurious habits, he wrote, “come usury, frauds, rapine, pillaging, plunder, contentions in the state, unjust exactions, oppression of the innocent, destruction of citizens, banishment of the rich.”(76)

In some instances, the preaching friars’ connection with legislative programs was direct – preachers were invited to reform a town’s statutes. In the revival movement of 1233 termed the Great Devotion, preachers demonstrably legislated in Padua, Verona, Vicenza, Bologna, Parma and Milan. Most of their laws are now lost. Gerard Boccabadati’s laws for Parma survive; they concerned peace and the administration of justice, heresy and moral reform, including laws on fornication and adultery.(77) However, direct evidence that these moral teachings influenced individual Orvietan lawmakers is difficult to find. No memoirs or letters remain. The extant records of council debates for this period are scanty, and statements of the rationale for specific laws at best brief phrases. One law does link women’s dress with men’s desire, desire that can lead to their destruction. This is the first extant statute on female dress, passed by the Seven in 1311

The law bans gold, silver and pearl detailing as well as fancy tiaras “lest for the foolish things of women men kindled by excessive love be confounded and destroyed.”(79) Control of female dress will enable men to restrain their excessive desire. The exact scenario is vague. Perhaps men’s passion for their wives leads them to buy rich trinkets and suffer financial destruction; perhaps men fired by love at the sight of women decorated with gold and pearls are then destroyed by the consequences of lust. The vagueness itself recalls Riccobaldo’s general list of financial, social and political disasters that result from the loss of male self-control.

The best evidence that Italian lawmakers associated a lack of just order with concupiscence is political fresco. A number of towns commissioned painters to set out political ideology on the walls of the town hall.(80) The best-preserved is the great allegory of good and bad government, painted for the Sienese town hall by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. It has been extensively studied as evidence of contemporary political ideology by a number of scholars, notably Nicolai Rubinstein, Chiara Frugoni, Quentin Skinner and Randolph Starn, but to my knowledge despite rich possibilities has not been analyzed in terms of gender.(81) A figure representing Tyranny presides over the court of bad government, which includes a trinity of avarice, pride and vainglory as well as cruelty, treachery, fraud, rage, division and war. The figures of the court thus represent the psychological qualities that are the source of bad government. Tyranny is depicted as the whore of Babylon from the Book of Revelations, holding the gold winecup brimming with her fornications in her hand and the goat of lust under her foot. In effect, the image used to represent tyranny, the central aspect of bad government, is a female image of concupiscence. A tyrant’s desire for power is a whore’s desire for sex. The figure illustrates the consequences of original sin: the lack of just order in the state understood in terms of unrestrained sensual appetite, portrayed as a lustful woman.

V. Adultery in the Orvietan courts

I would like to turn now from normative legislation and discourse on concupiscence to specific cases of adultery in Orvieto. Again, elite male concerns about sex and disorder were influenced not only by political and theological ideas but by their actual experience of disorder. Lived experience is sadly inaccessible for the thirteenth century, but court sentences for adultery do allow a somewhat closer approach. Why after all did the civic officials take on the troublesome business of pursuing adultery cases, through court-instigated inquests as well as in response to accusations? One way to answer this question is to look at what was going on: who was actually sentenced for adultery, and in what circumstances. I will argue that the stories told in the sentences suggest that adultery was especially threatening because it meant that both women and men had chosen to challenge male authority in the household.

Adultery as an offense against Christian marriage had for the most part been a matter for ecclesiastical authorities, but, in the thirteenth century, jurists in Orvieto and other towns close to the centers of Roman and canon law began inquests into adultery cases in the civic courts.(82) As some decretists pointed out, this was justifiable on the grounds that adultery has important civil consequences.(83) The pursuit of adultery cases was also a return to an imperial Roman precedent.(84) The lex Julia de adulteriis of 18 BCE was a criminal law imposed by Caesar Augustus to remove married women’s adultery from private jurisdiction. A new law court or quaestio perpetua for adultery cases joined existing tribunals for treason, parricide, murder, acts of violence. Husbands were to divorce and then publicly prosecute adulterous wives, or risk a legal charge of pandering; the woman’s penalty was exile and loss of half her property.(85) This was part of the definition of the new imperial authority, Augustus acting as paterfamilias patriae. Catherine Edwards has argued that despite contemporary complaints of elite female adultery, there is little evidence that the law addressed a genuine social problem. Instead, Roman moralists associated female adultery with social and political disarray. Sallust, for example, understood Catiline’s conspiracy in terms of moral corruption, exemplified by the shamelessly adulterous matron Sempronia. The adultery law thus spoke to anxieties about social hierarchy and disorder.(86) The Augustan imposition of political order meant the control of marriage and illicit passion. Under the Christian emperors, there were two gradual shifts. Penalties for adultery became more severe, and the double standard faded; the affairs of married men as well as married women were considered adulterous.(87)

In the later Middle Ages, then, ambitious governments turned to Roman legal precedents in an effort to build authority through the control of adultery. Some of the Italian towns did so in the late thirteenth century. Seventy-five years later, the French monarchy followed suit, drawing on the same Roman precedent to extend jurisdiction over adultery. French royal charters from the mid-fourteenth century spelled out penalties in flagrant adultery cases. These were usually monetary fines, a race (stripped naked) through the town and perhaps a beating.(88)

There is no extant medieval Orvietan adultery statute. One does survive from Bologna, treating adultery, then strupum and incest, committed against males or females.(89) The Orvietan penalty can only be reconstructed on the basis of adultery sentences. And in practice, virtually every sexual offense incurred the same punishment in the medieval Orvietan courts. People were fined 200 libra, whether the crime was rape, fornication,(90) adultery, or violent abduction and rape.(91) It might be difficult for the court to differentiate in practice between say fornication and rape, because the difference depended on consent. A blanket 200 libra fine made elusive differences based on an act of will less important. The fine was substantial, roughly a year’s wages for a skilled mason working on the new cathedral.

Thirteen adultery sentences appear in the medieval Orvietan judicial registers.(92) The registers survive unsystematically from as early as 1269, and include a 684-page codex from the tenure of Bertoldo, the Orsini podesta. They include no testimony but simply record how a case was resolved: sentences, bans, absolutions, decisions on appeals. Of the thirteen adultery sentences, four were court investigations, and nine accusations launched by individuals.(93) These sentences are complex texts; they can be taken neither as a representative sample nor as fact. The brief stories told in them nevertheless are informative. First, adultery was not defined in terms of the woman’s marital status, as in the Roman lex Julia: in two adultery sentences the married partner was the man. Second, the sentences do not obviously express concerns about male honor or the legitimacy of a man’s heirs. Only two sentences reveal husbands accusing adulterous wives.(94) In 1287, a young man charged his wife Flora with adultery, and charged her partner Hugonello separately with fornication.(95) The fine was the same for both. In the other case, a husband evenhandedly accused both his wife and her lover of adultery; she received a lesser fine.(96) In both cases the women were contumacious; my guess is that they had left their husbands’ households. The husbands were probably in court in an effort not somehow to restore honor but to claim the women’s dowries for themselves and their heirs. Only one case even hints at women as markers of male honor; a son accused a fellow who seems to have been a nobleman’s hanger-on of committing adultery with his mother and then insulting him in the public road.(97) The young man seems to have been bristling at the dishonor. His enemy was convicted of the insult but not the adultery. The woman’s husband was never mentioned. Concerns about male honor surely led to violent conflicts but apparently did not inspire adultery charges.

Two adultery sentences include editorial phrases explaining the purpose of the sentence in terms of the severity of the crime. A man who “seduced a wife against her will,” carried her off and committed adultery with her was sentenced “because these excesses set a bad example.”(98) Another male adulterer was sentenced “lest such a great crime remain unpunished.”(99) Why was the crime so great, the excesses of seduction and adultery such a bad example? Adulterers undermined order and defied authority within the household.

The husband of an adulterous woman might suffer not only humiliation and the loss of a wife but physical injury. Husbands’ worst nightmares were realized in a tragic case from Bologna in 1286. A Florentine man named Tegna and a married Bolognese, Floriana, committed adultery “many times and many times.” He took her with him to Imola where they lived together for three weeks. When her husband reclaimed her, Tegna followed, went to the house and threatened to blind the husband with a lance if he did not give Floriana back. The horrified Bolognese judges sentenced Tegna to death by decapitation, on the grounds that “it is a foul thing and a bad example to commit adultery with other people’s wives and because of it to want to blind their men.” The sentence, more typical in cases of repeated homicides, was probably carried out.(100)

One possible interpretation is that adultery cases were essentially conflicts between men over access to women. Women represented the objects of desire, the sources of disorder because men competed for them. The wording of many of the sentences supports this approach because it obscures female agency. Usually the male adulterer was accused, usually charged with seducing or abducting women. Overall, twelve sentences survive in which a man was accused of carrying a woman off from another man’s keeping – a wife, daughter, or concubine – then retaining her.(101) When the woman was married the charge was often adultery. These stories can be cruel; one sentence describes a husband lured out with the promise that he would be taken to find his abducted wife, and instead stabbed and beaten to death on the road.(102)

Thus many sentences seem to depict men taking women from each other. This picture of women without agency, traded around by men, accords well with the scholarship on late medieval Italian women which describes them as leading restricted lives, lives very much circumscribed by patrilineal concerns.(103) However, this picture is focused on elites. Women in adultery cases were not the carefully guarded daughters of the merchant nobility: the highest status woman identifiable in the Orvietan records was the daughter of a master carpenter. And the patrilineal model is less applicable to women at lower social levels, who led less protected lives than their well-to-do neighbors.

Women in adultery cases did have a choice. In contemporary discussions they represented not only the object of desire but desire itself. In the temptation story as it was carved on the facade of the cathedral in Orvieto in these decades, Eve represents the desire for sin as she offers Adam the apple. Adultery was like a mirror image of contemporary matrimony in that it required that both partners choose. In canon law, adultery was understood as a mental sin, an act of will.(104) If a woman suffered violence, the legal commentator Gratian explained, but it could not be proved that she had “set aside her shame” then she could in no way be considered guilty of adultery. If the mind was pure, the flesh was uncorrupted as well. Conversely, a man who “foully lusts after” (turpiter concupiscitur) a woman commits adultery.(105) It is the concupiscence itself that constitutes the sin.

One case underscores women’s choice even in a seduction. Morbiduccia, an unmarried woman with no living parents from a small village, accused Laurenzio of seduction and deception. Laurenzio “seduced her and deceived her and removed her from her brother’s house . . . and led her to his village, saying to her that he wanted her to be his wife and would marry her.(106) He knew her carnally but did not marry her, therefore he seduced and deceived her.”(107) Laurenzio did confess to carnal knowledge. The court concluded that his crime was mitigated because he did not use force, and fined him 50 libra. Morbiduccia was – as the sentence repeatedly states – seduced and deceived. But this representation of passive victimization is deceptive. She took a calculated risk when she ran off with Laurenzio; perhaps she had no dowry and little prospect of marriage, and saw in Laurenzio an opportunity to escape dependence on her brother. Clearly, her calculation was wrong. She gambled again when she hauled Laurenzio to court after he treated her shabbily.(108)

Adultery and seduction sentences thus often portray women who like Morbiduccia made the choice to walk away from a male guardian – husband, brother, or father. Perhaps Lucia and Monakino were lovers who ran off together, sacrificing her dowry and status. Surely in many cases desperate women left husbands who were violently abusive.(109) The fates of runaway wives are usually not evident, but they might end up as concubines. This was a common and accepted role, judging from a number of references in the court records to a woman termed an amasia, a concubina or, more vaguely, the muller of so-and-so.(110) Or, a runaway wife might expect concubinage and in fact end up a prostitute, like Nesca, who left her husband and ran off with a man who then dumped her in a public brothel in another town.(111) The point is not that women always made wise decisions but that the sentences which depict adultery and seduction in terms of male theft of women obscure the active choice of women in adultery cases. And again, although I know of no way to prove the point, elite male concerns about adultery were surely in part a reflection of the substantial, visible presence in the town of women whose choices were more constrained by poverty than by patriarchal controls.(112)

In one sentence, the choice is all feminine and it is the man who is desired. Madonna Gillia, the injured wife of a public crier called Berzono, accused a woman called Clara of adultery with Berzono between June and August. Clara is identified simply as a mulier, or woman, implying that she was unmarried and low status. Further, according to the sentence Clara did malias et fatias with Berzono, so that Gillia could not and cannot remain with him. Malias are evil things and fatias are enchantments. Feminine evil and magic made Berzono abandon his wife in favor of Clara.(113) Clara’s sentence was a 1000 libra fine, five times the usual amount, reflecting presumably the court’s disapproval of feminine love potions and spells.(114)

VI. Self-definition and lenient enforcement

Clara’s sentence brings us back to official concerns over the devastating effects of unrestrained concupiscence. I have suggested that contemporary laws associated gendered attributes with disorder. Guildsmen-lawmakers drew on Roman and canon law and on contemporary analysis of human nature and original sin to understand threats to the vita civile in terms of unrestrained sensual appetite. Laws restricting female dress, humiliating men convicted of sodomy, and keeping women out of the town hall all were symbolic efforts to control concupiscence. The extension of civic jurisdiction to adultery cases was a part of this pattern. Adultery sentences depicted men and women who challenged just order and authority – men who carried off married women, or broke up their own households, women who chose to leave their husbands or guardians, or to seduce the husbands of other women. Adultery was social disorder caused by concupiscence.

To understand these laws and court cases as essentially efforts to define and punish sexual deviance, then, is to miss their significance. In this extraordinarily creative period, late medieval Italians sought in many ways to build a vita civile. They constructed massive civic palaces, ornamented with images of good and bad government; they opened up broad public piazze; they experimented with new political and institutional forms. They also sought to shape peaceful, rational male citizens by controlling the impulses that led to disorder and injustice. Concupiscence was understood as feminine but it was male passion that threatened civic order. When the Seven limited women’s pearls, marginalized sodomy, restricted prostitution and tried to keep women out of the town hall, they were seeking to control not only women but the sensual appetites of men, notably themselves.

Finally, then, these laws and legal sentences are best understood not as serious efforts to control disorderly sexual choices, but as attempts at self-definition. Investigations of adultery cases cannot have been an effective means of social control. Again, the court had little police power to enforce its rulings; most convicted adulterers probably never paid their fines. Further, the lawmakers themselves were deeply implicated in many of the disorderly activities they sought to restrain. It is important to recognize that the members of the regime in power at any given moment would be closely involved in factional clashes: controlling internal violence meant controlling themselves. The Seven sought to shape their own natures, controlling male lust for sex, for wealth, for political power. With Albertanus of Brescia and the peacemaker Cardinal Latino, they believed that it was through the restraint of concupiscence that peace and order might be achieved.

Perhaps it is because this was an effort at self-restraint that medieval Orvietans enforced their laws on sexual criminality with such leniency.(115) Virtually everyone sentenced was contumacious, and sentenced in absentia. It is not even clear that most people who were contumacious were actually driven into hiding or exile to avoid their sentences because it is not clear that the sentences were enforced. As we have seen, the Seven worried that the podesta would not enforce the sodomy law. They themselves were not really eager to catch adulterers or sodomites either, judging from the extant cases. The council votes indicate instead a sympathetic hesitancy. When the Seven actually held convicted sodomites or an adulteress in prison, they preferred to be lenient. In 1303, when two low status men were convicted of sodomy and held in jail because they were unable to pay, the Seven simply reduced the fine and let them off.(116) In 1307, the Orvietan state somehow captured a woman called Flora who had been convicted of adultery, and the Seven had to decide what to do with her. Flora was the daughter of a master carpenter, convicted of relations with a greengrocer. The families were probably known to the guildsmen in power. The town council deliberated and then – regardless of whatever threat of concupiscence Flora represented – simply absolved her and let her go.(117)

Department of History Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410


I read a version of this article at the American Historical Association annual meeting in 1994, where I benefitted from the comments of Barbara Cooper and John T. Noonan. Ed English, Jim Farr, Susan Kent, Tom Kuehn and Louise Newman made useful suggestions at various stages of the project. I owe a special debt to Marilena Caponeri Rossi, director of the Archivio di Stato di Orvieto and to the archive staff. The research was funded by the University of Florida and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

1. One recent example is the History of Private Life series published in English translation by Belknap Press.

2. I failed to examine this connection in The Florentine Magnates: Lineage and Faction in a Medieval Commune (Princeton, 1991).

3. See Conan Gallagher, “Concupiscence,” The Thomist 30, no. 3 (1966): 228-59.

4. See her December 1985 American Historical Review article, reprinted in Joan Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York, 1988), ch. 2.

5. For bibliography on medieval adultery see note 83 below. A good single source for bibliography on late medieval Italian gender and sexuality, though now dated, is Patricia Simons, Gender and Sexuality in Renaissance and Baroque Italy: A Working Bibliography, Power Institute of Fine Arts Occasional Paper, number 7 (Sydney, Australia, 1988).

6. See the survey in Nicholas Davidson, “Theology, Nature and the Law: Sexual Sin and Sexual Crime in Italy from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century,” Crime, Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy, ed. Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 74-98; Guido Ruggiero, The Boundaries of Eros: Sex C,rime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice (Oxford, 1985); Michael Rocke, “Il controllo dell’omosessualita a Firenze nel XV secolo: gli ‘Ufficiali di notte,'” Quaderni storici 66 (1987), and his Forbidden Friendships (Oxford, 1996).

7. See among many studies Leah Otis, Prostitution in Medieval Society: The History of an Urban Institution in Languedoc (Chicago, 1985); Jacques Rossiaud, “Prostitution, jeunesse et societe dans les villes du sud-est au Xve siecle,” Annales: ESC 31 (1976): 289-325; “Prostitution, sexualite, societe dans les villles francaise au XVe siecle,” Communications: Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales, Centre d’etudes transdisciplinaires 35 (1982): 68-83; Ruth Karras, “The Regulation of Brothels in Later Medieval England,” Signs 14, no. 2 (1989): 399-433, printed in Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages, ed. Judith Bennett and Maryanne Kowaleski (1989), and her Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England (New York and Oxford, 1996). Maria Mazzi, Prostitute e lenoni nella Firenze del Quattrocento (Milan, 1991), is the best Italian study.

8. This point is convincing but difficult to document; Karras cites only James Brundage, “Prostitution in the Medieval Canon Law,” Signs 1, no. 4 (summer 1976): 825-45, which does not connect the views of the canonists with practice.

9. See Luise White, The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi (Chicago, 1990), p. 11.

10. Canonical definitions of sodomy were not specific to men. However, thirteenth-century Italian statutes clearly target men: the Orvietan statute for example mentioned display of the penis: see Archivio di Stato di Orvieto Statuti 27, 38 verso.

11. A recent conference at San Miniato, for example, examined the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Florentine territorial state in terms of elite networks of clientage.

12. There is a large bibliography on late medieval Italian statebuilding; see for a representative recent collection Origini dello stato: processi di formazione statale in Italia fra medioevo ed eta moderna, ed. G. Chittolini, A. Molho, P. Schiera (Bologna, 1994). Many of the essays appear in English translation in The Origins of the State in Italy, 1300-1600, Journal of Modern History, vol. 67, Supplement (Dec. 1995).

13. Giorgio Chittolini, “The ‘Private,’ the ‘Public,’ the State,” The Origins of the State in Italy, p. S40.

14. Diane Hughes, “Sumptuary Legislation and Social Control in the Cities of Renaissance Italy,” Disputes and Settlements: The Law and Human Relations in the West, ed. John Bossy (Cambridge, 1983).

15. Judith Bennett argued for a return to study of patriarchy and the oppression and subordination of women in “Feminism and History,” Gender and History 1, no. 3 (1989). In medieval Italian towns, patriarchy was interwoven with state authority and the two are best studied together.

16. Incredibly, the whole fiscal apparatus of the Florentine state came to be housed in the Dowry Fund. See Anthony Molho, Marriage Alliance in Late Medieval Florence (Cambridge, MA, 1994) and the review by Carol Lansing, American Historical Review, 100, no. 5 (1995): 1547-49.

17. On the continuing legacy of understandings of civic ideology shaped by ideas of the Renaissance; see Edward Muir, “The Italian Renaissance in America,” American Historical Review 100, no. 4 (1995): 1095-1118.

18. Caroline Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (Berkeley, 1987); for a controversial critique, Kathleen Biddick, “Genders, Bodies, Borders: Technologies of the Visible,” Speculum 68, no. 2 (April 1993): 389-418. See also Judith Bennett’s thoughtful general survey of scholarship on medieval women in the same issue. Joan Cadden, Meanings of Sex Difference in the Middle Ages: Medicine, Science and Culture (Cambridge, 1993). For surveys of the field, see Joan Cadden, “Medieval Scientific and Medical Views of Sexuality: Questions of Propriety,” Medievalia et Humanistica, n. s. 14 (1986): 157-71; Monica Green, “Female Sexuality in the Medieval West,” Trends in History 4, no. 4 (1990): 127-85 and on the related problem of medical texts concerning women, her ‘Women s Medical Practice and Health Care in Medieval Europe,” Signs 14, no. 2 (1989): 457-73.

19. For a clear analysis of the methodological approaches underlying study of the history of women and the history of gender, see Louise Newman, “Critical Theory and the History of Women: What’s at Stake in Deconstructing Women’s History,” Journal of Women’s History 2, no. 3 (winter, 1991): 58-68. For a discussion of the limits of analysis of the construction of gender in terms of Foucauldian discourse and the need “to bridge the gap between discourse, social formation and the individual sexed subject,” see Lyndall Roper, Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe (London and New York, 1994), esp. pp. 13-18.

20. Monica Green in 1990 asked whether current methods for studying female sexuality were useful “only for constructing a history of how female sexuality was viewed by men, not how it was experienced by women.” This article is an effort to find connections between them. See Monica Green, “Female Sexuality,” p. 158.

21. Lynn Laufenberg’s Cornell University dissertation on the enforcement of sumptuary laws in fourteenth-century Florence will be a welcome addition. On judicial procedures, see the many articles of Andrea Zorzi, including “The Judicial System in Florence in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” Crime, Society and the Law, pp. 40-58; “Giustizia criminale e criminalita’ nell’Italia del tardo medioevo: studi e prospettive di ricerca,” Societa e storia 46 (1989): 942-7.

22. Nicholas Davidson, “Sexual Sin,” is a useful recent survey.

23. Daniel Waley, Medieval Orvieto (Cambridge, 1952), pp. 2-3. The curia spent a total of 7 years and 9 1/2 months in Orvieto during the thirteenth century. See Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, “La mobilita della curia romana nel secolo XIII Riflessi locali,” Societa e istituzioni dell’Italia comunale: L’esempio di Perugia (secoli XII-XIV) vol. I (Perugia, 1989): 155-278. Urban IV was in residence 1262-64; Clement IV in 1266; Gregory X in 1272 and 1273; Martin IV from 1281-84; Nicholas IV, 1290 and 1291; Boniface VIII, 1297.

24. A number of popes were elected to high civic office and served by proxy. Martin IV was elected podesta in 1284, but refused the office; Nicholas IV held both offices in 1290-91. See Waley, p. 48, 59. Boniface VII was elected capitano del popolo in 1297 and 1302; see Archivio di Stato di Orvieto Riformagioni vol. 72, 18 verso-20 recto, 76 recto. All subsequent archival citations are to the Archivio di Stato di Orvieto unless otherwise noted.

25. As Lucio Riccetti has pointed out, we need precise studies of the transmission of legal and institutional ideas from one town to the next, often by travelling podesta and their staffs.

26. This figure is derived from Elisabeth Carpentier’s study of the 1292 tax records, which list the heads of households wealthy enough to own land. She puts the urban population somewhere between 14,000 and 17,000. In my view the high end of her estimate is more credible. E. Carpentier, Orvieto a la fin du XIIIe siecle (Paris, 1986), ch. 2.

27. Two examples among many: two women condemned for an assault who are termed Margarita and Benvenuta fornarie, Giudiziario Registro I, 380 verso, and market women who were forever calling each other whores, like Maria pomarola, at 165 verso and 391 verso.

28. See the discussion of fourteenth-century Florence in Alessandro Stella, La revolte des Ciompi (Paris, 1993), ch. 6, esp. pp. 179-83; Isabelle Chabod, “Widowhood and Poverty in Late Medieval Florence,” Continuity and Change 3 (1988): 291-311.

29. For women in Bologna who admitted that a few men they termed dominos (lords) came to them for “services,” Archivio di Stato di Bologna, Curia del Podesta, Libri Inquisitionum et testium, Busta 10, filza 5 (inquisitiones), 4 verso. Thirteenth-century Orvietan authorities pursued not prostitutes but pimps and landlords who rented to prostitutes; women working without pimps do not appear in the judicial records. Two Orvietan sentences for fornication and adultery depict informal prostitution controlled by male pimps, in at least one case the woman’s husband. It may be that the husband’s real interest was avoidance of a legal charge of pandering, as prescribed in the lex Julia for cuckolds who failed to charge their wives with adultery. See Giudiziario Busta I, fasc. 6, 31 verso; fasc. 10.

30. See Sharon Farmer, “Matter Out of Place: Elite Perceptions of Single Women in Thirteenth-Century Paris,” in the forthcoming Single Women in the European Past, ed. Judith Bennett.

31. See Carpentier, pp. 222-223. The percentage of female-headed households in the countryside was similar.

32. This category was defined as those Who had no land, house, profession or office and who did not possess 100 florins. In 1352, 10.2% of Florentine households were headed by women and owned only 5.5% of Florentine wealth; by 1404 the proportion of female-headed households climbed tol 7.4% and became even poorer, with only 6.2% of Florentine wealth. See Stella, p. 188.

33. See Dennis Romano, “Gender and the Urban Geography of Renaissance Venice,” Journal of Social History 23 (1989): 339-53.

34. See on elite views of single women Farmer, “Matter Out of Place.”

35. The significance of this change, especially outside the major commercial centers, has been one of the key problems in medieval Italian urban history. For a very useful survey of the scholarship on smaller towns to the south of the heavily studied Veneto and Tuscany, see Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur, Comuni e signorie in Umbria, Marche e Lazio (Torino, 1987).

36. Phillip Jones made this case in the classic “Communes and Despots: The City-State in Late Medieval Italy,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 5, no. 15 (1965): 71-96; for a convincing example, Sarah Blanshei, “Criminal Law and Politics in Medieval Bologna,” Criminal Justice History 2 (1981): 1-30. On Orvietan judicial procedure, see Francesca Cardarello, “Problemi di diritto penale ad Orvieto nel tardo medioevo,” Tesi di laurea, Universita degli studi di Roma “La Sapienza,” Facolta di Giurisprudenza, 1990-91. For a similar system in Perugia, see Clara Cutini, “Giudici e giustizia a Perugia nel secolo XIII,” Bollettino della Deputazione di storia patria per l’Umbria, vol. 83 (1987): 67-110.

37. See Simon Roberts, Order and Dispute: An Introduction to Legal Anthropology (Harmondsworth, 1979), esp. pp. 115-53.

38. In 1295 guardians were explicitly appointed by the Capitano del Popolo and the city’s executives, by then guild consuls termed the Seven. See Giudiziario Busta II, fasc. 8.

39. For an important study of the relationship between public works and the idea of the medieval city, located in Orvieto, see Lucio Riccetti, La citta costruita: Lavori pubblici e immagine in Orvieto medievale (Florence, 1992).

40. For discussion of the problem of the degree of violence in a late medieval Italian town, see Dean and Lowe, introduction.

41. The formation of popular associations was in part a response to this problem; guildsmen created neighborhood militias to respond to noble violence. See the Orvietan Carta del Popolo of 1325, 121; Codice diplomatico della citta di Orvieto, ed. L. Fumi (1884) (hereafter CD), p. 810. On the problems of police power and social control, see Andrea Zorzi, “Controle social, ordre public et repression judiciaire a Florence a l’epoque communale: elements et problemes,” Annales: ESC 45 (1990): 1169-1188, and the pathbreaking article by William Bowsky, “The Medieval Commune and Internal Violence: Police Power and Public Safety in Siena, 1287-1355,” American Historical Review 73 (1967): 1-17.

42. The podesta did manage to confiscate some Filippeschi property but apparently did not enforce the exiles; Riccetti in his research on the Filippeschi for the Dizionario biografico degli italiani found evidence of Guidarello di Alessandro in Orvieto during the period in which he was supposed to be exiled to Jerusalem. Guidiziario Busta I, fasc. 3, 2 recto-verso lists the men fined for nonattendance, first 20 Filippeschi kinsmen fined 31 libra and then 22 men from Fabro, fined 18 libra, though there is no evidence that they paid. Fasc. 5, 1 recto is the public reconciliation. See CD nos. 503-12. There is a brief account in Waley, ch.8.

43. See for one example among many of ministrales (neighborhood representatives) stonewalling questioning about crime in their parishes, Archivio di Stato di Bologna Curia del Podesta, Libri Inquisitionum et Testium, Busta 8, filza 16, dated from 1286.

44. Florence at the end of the thirteenth century had forty or fifty policemen, in a town of roughly 100,000. See Zorzi, “The Judicial System,” p. 49. The number for Orvieto is unknown, though the 1325 Carta del Popolo required the Seven to have 20 retainers, including a cook, a porter and police: Carta del Popolo, 5; CD, p. 742.

45. The deliberations of the Seven survive sporadically in the volumes of the Riformagioni. Fragmentary statutes survive before the 1324 revised version of the Carta del popolo, in CD, pp. 733-816. None contains provisions on adultery. For a discussion of the unedited statutes and a text from 1313-15, see Laura Andreani, “Un frammento di statuto del comune di Orvieto (1313-15). Note a margine,” Bollettino istituto storico artistico orvietano 42 (1986-87): 123-72. Dott. Andreani very generously showed me some of the unpublished copies of statutes.

46. The literature on the restriction of the magnates was surveyed in an important article by George Dameron, “Revisiting the Italian Magnates: Church Property, Social Conflict and Political Legitimization in the Thirteenth-Century Commune,” Viator 23 (1992): 169-87. The Orvietan laws restraining the nobility were relatively late, dating from 1306-9; see Waley, ch. 11.

47. Giudiziario, Busta II, fasc. 9, 7 verso. See the discussion in Riccetti, pp. 194-95n.

48. The sentence was read on 16 February 1295. The victim’s father, a master barber, was named as a guild consul on 24 August 1295. On 27 August, the council passed a statute “super vitio soddomie et contra culpabiles in ipso vitio.” See Riformagioni, 69, 28 recto and 30 verso; he is identified clearly as a barber on 91 verso.

49. Statuti 27, 38 verso.

50. Statuti 26a, 21 recto-verso. The law was actually relatively mild for the period; other towns prescribed not only torture but death by burning. See for the Perugian statute John P. Grundman, The Popolo at Perugia 1139-1309 (Perugia, 1992), appendix 4, p. 438; Grundman cites Archivio di Stato di Perugia, Statuti Book IV, rubric 144a (323); ASP, Statuti, no. 12, part 2, fol. 45.

51. Statuti di Bologna dell’anno 1288, ed. Gina Fasoli and Pietro Sella, Studi e Testi 73 (Vatican City, 1937), book IV rubric 30, nos. 30-31; vol. I, pp. 195-96. By the sixteenth century the Orvietan statute also prescribed that sodomites be burned alive: Statutorum Civitatis Urbisveteris (Rome, 1951), book 3, rubric 27, pp. 174-75.

52. In 1291 seven men and one woman were banned from the town as pimps, and an Orvietan who had rented to them was fined. If captured, they were to be beaten. Giudiziario Busta II, fasc. 3, 16 recto; there is another copy at fasc. 4, 17 recto.

53. Statuti 27, 33 recto.

54. The most evocative account of the papal curia in the period is still that of Robert Brentano, Two Churches: England and Italy in the Thirteenth Century (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1968; revised edition 1988). Charles of Anjou was resident in 1268, returned during the residence of Gregory X in 1272-73 and again during the long stay of Martin IV in 1281-84. See Waley, p. 48.

55. For a list of officials paid by the Camera Apostolica on a 1299 visit to Anagni, and the rationale for this overall estimate of the size of the papal entourage, see Paravicini Bagliani, 181-85.

56. Statuti 26c, 14 verso. This probably dates from 1315.

57. Riformagioni 77, 113 recto. See Riccetti, La citta costruita, p. 187.

58. For the butcher shops under the palace, see Giudiziario Registro 1, 557 recto, a complaint by the custodem macelli comunis, dated 1288; see also Riccetti, La citta costruita, p. 119n.

59. By the time the law was copied in the statutes, between 1313-15, the emphasis had shifted: women of bone fame et conditionis were not to be made to go to the palazzo because of a judicial case, but could be questioned at home. Statuti 27, 33 recto.

60. See Roger Just, Women in Athenian Law and Life (London and New York, 1989), esp. ch 9. There is extensive bibliography, notably Nicole Loraux, The Children of Athena: Athenian Ideas about Citizenship and the Division Between the Sexes, trans. Caroline Levine (Princeton, 1993).

61. See the discussion in P. Agaesse and A. Solignac, notes to La Genese au sens litteral en douze livres, Oeuvres de Saint Augustin, Bibliotheque augustinienne, vol. 49 (Paris, 1972): 555-59.

62. See Pierre Payer, The Bridling of Desire (Toronto, 1993) p. 43. He cites Lombard Sent. (1.459-60); Ordinary Gloss on Gen. 2:25. See R. Howard Bloch, Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love (Chicago, 1991), ch. 1. On the history of Christian understandings of sexual desire see Eric Fuchs, Sexual Desire and Love (Cambridge, 1983).

63. For a precise recent discussion, see J. Van Oort, “Augustine on Sexual Concupiscence and Original Sin,” Studia Patristica vol. 22 (Leuven, 1989): 382-86.

64. For a careful recent analysis of understandings of concupiscence in the debate between Augustine and Julian, see John Rist, Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptised (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 321-27. Thanks to Ed English who brought this study to my attention.

65. Odon Lottin, “Les theories sur le peche originel de saint Anselme a Saint Thomas D’Aquin,” Psychologie et morale aux XIIe et XIIIe siecles vol. 4 (Louvain, 1954). See Payer, ch. 2.

66. Anselm of Canterbury, “De Conceptu Virginali et de Originali Peccato,” in vol. 2 of his Opera Omnia, ed. F. S. Schmitt (Edinburgh, 1946), chs. 1-3, pp. 140-43. A recent analysis of pre-scholastic understandings of concupiscence is John W. Baldwin, The Language of Sex: Five Voices from Northern France around 1200 (Chicago, 1994), ch. 4.

67. See Alexander of Hales, Summa Theologica (Quaracchi, 1930), book 2, part 2, question 2, treatise 3, question 2 (220-26).

68. See Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones Disputatae de Malo, Opera Omnia, vol. 22 (Rome, 1982), question 4, article 2; Summa Theologiae, la.2ae. 82, 3. On Thomas’ analysis of concupiscence as the material rather than formal cause of original sin, see Conan Gallagher, “Concupiscence,” pp. 228-59.

69. See Paul Gehl, “Preachers, Teachers and Translators: The Social Meaning of Language Study in Trecento Tuscany,” Viator 25 (1994): 289-323, and his A Moral Art: Grammar, Society and Culture in Trecento Florence (Ithaca, NY: 1993).

70. See James M. Powell, Albertanus of Brescia: The Pursuit of Happiness in the Early Thirteenth Century (Philadelphia, 1992), ch. 4. Interestingly, Albertanus represented not only the objects of desire but wise counsel as women.

71. On preaching see D. L. D’Avray, The Preaching of the Friars: Sermons Diffused from Paris before 1300 (Oxford, 1985). For a flawed but useful study of the social context of Dominican and Franciscan preaching in Florence, see Daniel Lesnick, Preaching in Medieval Florence (Athens, GA 1989); see also Carlo Delcorno, Giordano da Pisa e l’antica predicazione volgare (Florence, 1975). On the development of a lay intellectual elite, see the summary article by Franco Cardini, “Intellectuals and Culture in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Italy,” City and Countryside in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy, ed. Trevor Dean and Chris Wickham (London, 1990), pp. 13-30.

72. On Aquinas in Orvieto, see James A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas d’Aquino: His Life, Thought and Work (New York, 1974), pp. 147-63.

73. See Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze, Conventi Soppressi D. 1.937, 341 verso-343 recto (Schneyer # 937). Fra Remigio cited book 9 of the City of God.

74. The Chronicle of Salimbene de Adam, trans. Joseph L. Baird, Giuseppe Baglivi and John Robert Kane, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, vol. 40 (Binghamton, NY, 1986), pp. 160-61,443.

75. Dante, Paradiso, canto xv.

76. Riccobaldo, Compendium of the Historie, quoted by Charles Davis, “II Buon Tempo Antico,” Florentine Studies ed. N. Rubinstein (London, 1968), pp. 65-67.

77. See Augustine Thompson, Revival Preachers and Politics in Thirteenth-Century Italy: The Great Devotion of 1233 (Oxford, 1992), esp. p. 183; Andre Vauchez, “Une campagne de pacification en Lombardie autour de 1233: L’action politique des ordres mendiants d’apres la reforme des statuts communaux et les accords de paix,” Ecole Francaise de Rome: Melanges d’archeologie et d’histoire 78 (1966): 519-49.

78. There has been debate over whether sumptuary laws expressed concerns about social issues or luxury spending, sparked in part by Diane Hughes, “Sumptuary Legislation and Social Control. See Catherine Kovesi Killerby, “Practical Problems in the Enforcement of Italian Sumptuary Law, 1200-1500,” Crime, Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy, pp. 99-120. Killerby emphasizes luxury consumption. It seems to me that the Orvietan laws brought together anxieties about social disorder and about spending.

79. “Item stantiamus et ordinamus pro evidenti et manifeste utilitate comunis Urbisveteris et singularum personarum dicte terre ne pro fatuitatibus mulierum ex nimio amore accensi homines destruantur et confundantur, quod omnes et singule mulieres sint et esse debeant contente pannis earum quibuscumque et quiscumque habebunt et habere voluerint. Ita tamen quod nulla mulier habeat vel habere possit suos pannos cum fresciaturis vel appettosaturis de auro vel argento sive pernis nec etiam coronas de auro vel argento vel pernis portare posse . . .” Riformagioni 77, 173 verso.

80. See Randolph Starn and Loren Partridge, Arts of Power: Three Halls of State in Italy, 1300-1600 (Berkeley, Los Angeles and Oxford, 1992), pp. 9-80. I differ with their identification of the figure of Tyranny as the devil.

81. Chiara Frugoni identifies Tyranny as the whore of Babylon in Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Scala, 1988), pp. 63-64. See Nicolai Rubinstein, “Political Ideas in Sienese Art: The Frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Taddeo di Bartolo in the Palazzo Pubblico,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 21, nos. 3-4 (July-Dec. 1958): 179-207. Rubinstein argued for the influence of the Aristotelian theory of justice as interpreted by contemporary scholastics, with Augustinian overtones, influenced by Fra Remigio de’Girolami’s De bono comuni.

82. Canon and civil law were closely interwoven, as ideas and practices were exchanged between them. Men were trained in both traditions; exchanges of personnel between civil and ecclesiastical hierarchies were common. See the general discussion of the interplay of canon and civil law in Brian Tierney, Religion, Law and the Growth of Constitutional Thought, 1150-1650 (1982), ch 2; Manlio Bellomo, Societa e istituzioni in Italia dal medioevo agli inizi dell’eta moderna (3rd. edition, Catania, 1982). Bellomo’s general textbook on the Ius comune has been translated as The Common Legal Past of Europe, 1000-1800, trans. Lydia Cochrane (Washington. D.C., 1995).

83. See James Brundage, Law, Sex and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chicago, 1987), p. 319. He considers that “municipalities were beginning to assert their own rights to deal with fornication and adultery cases during 1234-1348,” p. 482. The published studies I have seen from the continent largely describe adultery cases from fourteenthcentury ecclesiastical sources: Jean-Philippe Levy, “L’officialite de Paris et les questions familiales a la fin du XIVe siecle, Etudes d histoire du droit canonique dediees a Gabriel Le Bras II (Paris, 1965): 1265-94; Jean-Luc Dufresne, “Les comportements amoureux d’apres le registre de l’officialite de Cerisy,” Bulletin philologique et historique (jusqu’a 1610) du comie des travaux historiques et scientifiques, annee 1973 (Paris, 1976): 131-56. See also Jacques Chiffoleau, Les justices du pape: Delinquance et criminalite dans la region d’Avignon au quatorzieme siecle (Paris, 1984), ch. 8. English leyrwite cases survive from the thirteenth century: see for a recent discussion and bibliography E. D. Jones, “The Medieval Leyrwite; A Historical Note on Female Fornication,” English Historical Review 107 (Oct. 1992): 945-53.

84. Amy Richlin, “Sources on Adultery at Rome,” Women’s Studies 8 (1981): 225-50; J. A. C. Thomas, “Lex Julia De Adulteriis Coercendis,” Etudes offertes a Jean Macqueron (Aix-en-Provence, 1970), pp. 637-44; M. Andreev, “Divorce et Adultere dans le Droit Romain Classique,” Revue historique de droit francais et etranger, series 4, 35 (1957): 1-32.

85. Richlin points out that the quaestio perpetua probably faded rapidly, and was replaced by a process of cognitio under the urban prefect.

86. Catherine Edwards, The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome (Cambridge, 1993), esp. ch. 1.

87. Digest 48.5 and Codex 9.9 include portions of the lex Julia along with excerpted later commentary.

88. Annik Porteau-Bitker in “Criminalite et delinquance feminines dans le droit penal des XIIIe et XlVe siecles,” Revue historique de droit francais et etranger, series 4, 58 (1980): 13-57, examines late medieval French adultery laws, pp. 39-43. The French laws were close in spirit to the lex Julia, punishing female adulterers and males only as their accomplices. Husbands were given the power to inflict physical punishment on adulterous wives, including incarceration.

89. This misspelling of stuprum suggests perhaps that the word was unfamiliar to the notary. Statuti di Bologna, book 4, rubric 30; vol. I, p. 195. In Bologna the monetary fine for adultery differed by rank: knights and the powerful paid 500 Bolognese libra, foot soldiers 300. A woman who committed adultery in Bologna was to lose 100 libra from her dowry, or, failing that, an amount to be decided by the podesta based on her condition and dowry; if she was banned she lost the dowry altogether. The statute carefully divided the dowry between the commune and legitimate heirs, or the husband in the absence of heirs. There is a large lacuna in the text; another extant version includes the provision that a man convicted of forcible adultery was to suffer a corporal punishment greater than a beating, to be decided by the podesta.

90. The verb used in the sentences is not to fornicate but rather to know carnally, cognoscere carnaliter. I have assumed that when there is no further modifier (as for example “with force” or “against her will”) that carnal knowledge mean fornication. The term rapture was also used; see Giudiziario Busta I, fasc. 6, 40 verso. On terms for illicit sexuality, see Ruth Karras, “Latin Vocabulary of Illicit Sex in English Ecclesiastical Courts,” Journal of Medieval Latin, 2 (1992): 1-17.

91. The court’s working distinctions among adultery, rape and fornication were blurry. There were men sentenced for carnal knowledge with force. Sometimes fornication and adultery were interchangeable, as when a married woman was accused of adultery, and her male partner of fornication. The line between rape and abduction versus adultery and flight also was not always clear. Men were accused of committing adultery with women against their will; prostitution was termed adultery. One example is Giudiziario Registro I, 83 recto, 192 verso.

92. A simple count of the overall number of sentences in these registers would be misleading; because sentences were pronounced several times before a final ban, the same case often appears several times.

93. See Giudiziario Busta I, fasc, 6, 32 verso, fasc, 10; Busta II, fasc. 9, 60 verso; Registro I, 29 verso. An inquisitio was often in response to an individual’s petition.

94. In nine cases male adulterers were accused; in one case both adulterers were accused; in one case a male pimp was accused; and in two cases female adulterers were accused.

95. The husband was named Venturello, and his father was living. Flora’s sentence is Giudiziario Registro I, 16 recto; Hugonello’s is 153 verso.

96. Giudiziario Registro I, 53 verso. Both were contumacious. Busta I, fasc. 7, 7 recto (dated 1279) regards a man accused by a husband of adultery with his wife in his house; fragmentary marginalia suggest a dowry instrument was produced by the accused, though whose marriage was being proven is unclear.

97. Giudiziario Busta II, fasc. 4, 17 verso. The accused was fined for the insult but absolved of adultery.

98. Giudiziario Registro I, 192 verso.

99. Giudiziario Registro I, 29 verso.

100. “Unde cum talia facere et comitere sit res turpis et mali exempli comitere adulterium cum alienis uxoribus, et propter hoc velle cecidere viros eorum. . . .” The case is Archivio di Stato di Bologna Comune, Curia del Podesta, Accusationes 5b, register 15, 12 rectoverso. Tegna was imprisoned; Floriana, also accused by her husband, was contumacious; her ban is register 19, 6 verso.

101. Giudiziario Busta I, fasc. 6, 40 verso; Busta II, fasc. 1,3 verso; fasc. 4, 4 recto, 6 recto, 11 verso; fasc. 9, 60 verso; Registro I, 6 recto, 189 verso, 192 verso, 519 recto, 521 recto, 639 verso.

102. Giudiziario Busta II, fasc. 9, 60 verso (1295).

103. The most important and influential work is that of Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, including studies of lower status women associated with elites, like wetnurses and domestics; see the essays collected in La maison et le nom: Strategies et rituels dans l’Italie de la Renaissance (Paris, 1990); some appear in English translation in her Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 1985).

104. Gratian, Decretum, Corpus Iuris Canonici, ed. A. Friedberg, vol. 1 (Graz, 1955), part 2, causa 32, question 5.

105. Decretum,, 14.

106. The term used is invadiare, which seems to have meant to exchange vows and enter into marriage. A 1212 episcopal marriage case mentions invadiationes: Archivio Vescovile di Orvieto, Codice B, 112 verso-113 recto.

107. Giudiziario I, 189 verso. “Quia Laurenzius filius Francisci Barthonis Crassi de Villeplacta denuntiatus et accusatus extitit coram nobis a Morbiduccia filia quondam Petri Bonomi de Castro Orbetano quia anno preterito et de mense octobris dictus Laurentius subduxit earn et decepit et extraxit eam de domo fratris dicte Morbiduccie in qua ipsa habitabat, posita in dicto castro et earn duxit apud castrum plebis dicendo eidem quod volebat eam in uxorem et eam invadiaret et eam cognovit carnaliter nec eam invadiavit immo eam subduxit et decepit.”

108. This may have been at her brother’s instigation, although the sentence does not mention him playing any role in the proceeding.

109. For a study of the recourse of abused wives to civic courts in seventeenth-century Venice, see Joanne Ferraro, “The Power to Decide: Battered Wives in Early Modern Venice,” Renaissance Quarterly 48, no. 3 (1995): 492-512.

110. The concubines of two local priests were termed amasiis in 1234; see Archivio Vescovile di Orvieto, codex B, 138 recto. Giudiziario Registro I contains a number of examples, including Passqua concubina Flederikelli at 74 recto and Lippa concubina at 288 verso. A Jacopo was accused of striking a woman described as Bella eius concubina, 45 verso. Women were also termed the bagassa of so-and-so, like Feminella bagassa Gemmi Giraldi, 165 recto.

111. Giudiziario Registro I, 521 recto.

112. This concern was also expressed in efforts to control the speech of poor women. Insult and blasphemy cases very often involved women: see for example ASO Giudiziario Exgravator II, 4 verso; Registro I, 15 recto, 231 recto, 254 recto, 275 recto for blasphemy cases; for examples of verbal defamation, Registro I 15 verso, 28 recto, 28 verso, 53 recto, 82 verso, 83 recto, 118 recto, 131 verso, 167 recto, 198 verso, 200 verso, 275 verso. Karras mentions a connection between prostitutes and scolds in fifteenth-century England: “Regulation of brothels,” p. 423.

113. In the thirteenth century, love potions were not exclusively feminine: for a male doctor accused of love magic by three angry husbands, see Archivio di Stato di Bologna, Curia del Podesta, Accusationes 5a, 55 verso-56 verso. On Renaissance love magic see Guido Ruggiero, Binding Passions: Tales of Magic, Marriage and Power at the End of the Renaissance (Oxford, 1993).

114. Giudiziario Busta II, fasc. 8, 6 recto.

115. Lyndall Roper argues that the violent masculine culture of drinking and fighting was integral to male identity in sixteenth-century towns because men fought in the militia. See her “Blood and Codpieces: Masculinity in the Early Modern German Town,” pp. 107-24.

116. The two men let off in 1303 were named Casella and Furafarina (perhaps “Flourstealer”); see Riformagioni 73, 29 verso-30 recto.

117. Riformagioni 75, 42 recto.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Journal of Social History

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group