Added: February 21, 2015 – Last updated: October 3, 2015


Author: Alessio Basilico

Title: Giustizia ecclesiastica e trattamento del reato di stupro

Subtitle: Indicazioni di ricerca dalla diocesi di Teramo (1616-1750)

Translation: Ecclesiastical Justice and the Repression of the Crime of Rape. Trial Records from the Diocese of Teramo (1615-1750)

Journal: Dimensioni e problemi della ricerca storica

Volume: -

Issue: 2

Year: July-December 2011

Pages: 207-230

ISSN: 1125-517X – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: Italian

Keywords: 17th Century, 18th Century | European History: Italian History | Prosecution: Trials


Link: Rivisteweb (Restricted Access)



»Early modern Catholic Church used the term “rape” to indicate a sexual intercourse between a man and woman who were not married. Thirty-four trials were celebrated for this crime by the Episcopal tribunal of Teramo during the Seventeenth and the Eighteenth Century. Trial records clearly show that premarital sex did not mean an irreparable damage for the public image of peasant girls’ families. Especially during the Eighteenth Century, premarital pregnancies were not necessarily kept secret, because little social shame was associated with them. On the contrary, since female honour had a corresponding economic value, parents made pregnancies public and reported them to the tribunals in order to earn financial compensation from the seducers’ families. Communities strongly supported their efforts and showed concern for the future of pregnant girls.« (Source: Dimensioni e problemi della ricerca storica)

»The article discusses ecclesiastical courts in the dioceses of Teramo, Italy, during the years 1616 to 1750 and especially the treatment of crimes of rape. A number of cases are cited as examples, including quotations from court records. The legal definition of rape used by the courts at the time, which only applied to virgins, and attitudes of Church officials toward sexual violence, both inside and outside of marriage, are described. The importance of the Church archives of Teramo, Italy, for historiography related to the issue of the legal history of rape cases and cases of sexual violence is then described.« (Source: Historical Abstracts)