Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

October 2017 [Posted October 2018]

Rape of Dinah
Rape of Dinah, England, 3rd quarter of the 14th century, British Library, Egerton 1894, f. 17 (Source: British Library, public domain)

Seabourne, Gwen. "Drugs, Deceit and Damage in Thirteenth-century Herefordshire: New Perspectives on Medieval Surgery, Sex and the Law." Social History of Medicine 30, 2 (2017): 255-276.

Abstract: "This article discusses Plomet v Worgan, a case from a thirteenth-century legal record, concerning a medical man's use of a drug (dwoledreng) to obtain sex from a female patient. Issues which arise include: the nature of the drug in question; the nature of surgical practice in this early, provincial, setting; ideas about sexual consent and incapacity and the response of the legal system to such medical misconduct. The case shows the flexibility and complexity of ideas about sexual misbehaviour current in thirteenth-century law and society. It provides valuable material on medieval English medical practice and offers insights into the treatment of medical misconduct before the better-known development of the "medical negligence" jurisdiction of actions on the case in the second half of the fourteenth century and the growth of professional regulation." [Reproduced from the journal page on the Oxford Academic website.]