Added: July 4, 2015 – Last updated: July 4, 2015


Author: Myriam Soria

Title: Violences sexuelles à la fin du Moyen Âge

Subtitle: Des femmes à l’épreuve de leur conjugalité?

Translation: Sexual Violence at the End of the Middle Ages: Women Put to the Ordeal of Their Conjugal Life?

Journal: Dialogue: Familles & Couples

Volume: -

Issue: 208

Year: 2015

Pages: 57-70

ISSN: 0242-8962 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1961-8662 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: French

Keywords: 14th Century, 15th Century | European History


Link: (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »There was a common obsession with sex in the western Middle Ages, with sexual mores revealing the best and the worst of man’s sinful nature in contrary excesses of abstinence and lust. Outside Christian marriage the sexual act became adultery, was legally and judicially condemned and exposed the perpetrators to mob justice. Letters of royal pardon dating from the 14th and 15th centuries provide a fascinating insight into the impact this kind of conjugality can have had on sexual violence against women. While sources remain mute as to violence exerted within the married couple, women living alone through separation, in celibacy of a secular kind or in free union were always under the threat of rape. Once married, the woman became a chattel and her body territorialised while alone or as a concubine she was subject to opprobrium and her body considered public property. It is under this paradigm that the question of the couple and sexual violence can be considered for that period.« (Source: