Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7759
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Boone , Marc.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: State Power and Illicit Sexuality: The Persecution of Sodomy in Late Medieval Bruges
  • Source: Journal of Medieval History 22, 2 (June 1996): Pages 135 - 153.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Bruges, West- Vlaanderen, Belgium Executions Homosexuality Law Politics Sexuality Sodomy
  • Geographic Area: Low Countries
  • Century: 14- 15- 16
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Legal Document; 1) "Verluydboek," confessions and criminal condemnations for capital crimes and corporal punishment. Bruges, 1490- 1515. 2) Bailiffs' accounts for Bruges. Bailiffs were officers of the count, responsible for prosecutions of suspects and the carrying out o
  • Illustrations:
  • Table: Two tables. The first lists executions and punishments for seventeen crimes with a breakdown for foreigners. The second table shows the number of executions, fines, and corporal punishment for those accused of sodomy.
  • Abstract: With ninety executions of sodomites and a proportion of about 15% of all executions and bodily punishments relating to this offence, Burgundian Bruges (1385-1515) ranks among Europe's most important centres for the repression of sodomy, a mostly hidden aspect of its rich social history. If these figures allow a comparison of the northern commercial metropolis of the late middle ages with some better known Italian cities, such as Venice and Florence, the actions of the authorities charged with the organization of the repression give an insight into the ideological apparatus behind this repression. Bruges occupied a most important position both as an economic centre and as one of the big Flemish cities opposed to princely centralization. It therefore served on several occasions as the ideal setting for the manifestations of the Burgundian theate-state. The exceptional repression against the illicit form of sexual behaviour par excellence may be linked with the need to control the city and impose state authority. [Reprinted from Journal of Medieval History 22, Boone, "State power and illicit sexuality: the persecution of sodomy in late medieval Bruges," 135, 1996 with permission from Elsevier Science.]
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Ghent
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1996.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03044181
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: