Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La Répression Des Délits Sexuels Dans Les ÉTats Savoyards: Châtellenies Des Diocèses d'Aoste, Sion et Turin, Fin XIIIe-XVe Siècle

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La Répression Des Délits Sexuels Dans Les ÉTats Savoyards: Châtellenies Des Diocèses d'Aoste, Sion et Turin, Fin XIIIe-XVe Siècle

Article excerpt

La répression des délits sexuels dans les États savoyards: Châtellenies des diocèses d'Aoste, Sion et Turin, fin XIIIe-XVe siècle. By Prisca Lehmann. [Cahiers Lausannois d'histoire médiévale, 39] (Lausanne: Université de Lausanne, section d'histoire, Faculté des lettres. 2006. Pp. 409. euro24,00 paperback.)

The documentary basis for Lehmann's study of judicial efforts to penalize offenses against sexual morality within the dioceses of Aosta, Sion, and Turin (essentially the county of Savoy south of the Alps) rests on a large body of brief records called banna. These documents detail the receipt of fines imposed on those found guilty in 2,071 individual cases of alleged sexual misbehavior. The entries in the banna rest on complaints made to castellans within the three dioceses between the very end of the thirteenth century and the first decade of the sixteenth. The great majority of them, however, fall into the century between 1350 and 1450. Not all of these cases by any matter of means terminated in a judicial decision. Judicial procedure in Savoy strongly encouraged the parties to settle matters through a compromise payment rather than a fine imposed by the judge. These agreements were typically worked out by the castellan or a committee of "good men" whom the castellan appointed to deal with the matter. It is perhaps less amazing that so many cases ended in compromise if one takes into account the fact that the castellan received a quarter of the payment made under a compromise, but only a tenth of the amount imposed as a fine.

Lehmann's analysis shows that the principal offenses treated in these banna have to do with adultery (64%), followed by rape, either attempted (12%) or accomplished (8%). …

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