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Lecture 3

HIS102Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Francesco Da Mosto, Early Modern Europe, Pater Familias

Course Code
Dr.Carla Hustak

of 6
-Lecture 3-
Female Honour:
Relationships Between Marital Status, Sexual Status, and Property
-gender as performativity, honour as performed
Honour is closely tied to gender identity, it requires a certain amount of work and
performance, and its also subjective, u may also thing of honour tied to emotion and its
historically specific
-when honour is “stained honour”: marriage, economics, law, 1600-1800 the word honour is
used frequently; how a stained honour could affect the women’s doury or in cases of rape women
tries to get her rapist to marry her, strict policing, where there is improper gender order in the
-affects that honour have and how it pervaded within a society
1) to defend honour: gender & sexual status—how honour is tied to gender; gender as a category
is an idea or ideology and a set of expectations that one is expected to perform; conceptual ideas
within a society
2) everyday life, ‘real’ effects of loss of honour—practical affects that honour had;
3) honour as relational category --upholding honour where it became a behavoir that receprically
affected both men and women—a reflection on the males of the house hold as well if the women
cheated on her husband etc
-historian Elizabeth Foyster’s discussion on honour, ‘cuckold’—she does so in terms of
masculinity, honour was primarily a sexual honour, to maintain masculine previlege, honor for
men could also involve other things, where as women is stricktly sexual, ie. Men’s work
-gendered honour: sexual, business, craft
-Merry Wiesner-Hanks:
“Along with concepts of feudal obligation, wifely obedience, and Roman law, one
additional idea that was essential in shaping women’s legal rights in early modern Europe
– the notion of honour.”
1)Social Networks: family and community –intimate negotiations of honour: family, marriage,
communal networks
Male v female lifecycle
Marriage, ‘feme coverte’(a woman covered), her identity becomes that of her husband,
she is no longer seen as an independent actor, thus she cannot make financial actions on
her own, or any public office
Dowries and sexual honour—this is bound by a male member of the household, her value
is seen as property i.e. a woman who has sex b4 marriage tarnished her reputation and
douries lowered; female sexual honour could disrupt patriarchal household
Risk to patriarchal structures—if a woman had illegitimate child, this could have
implications to male household
Regional variations in marriage patterns: northern and western European versus southern
and eastern European; family form would take that of a nuclear family; women in W.
Europe would earn their own dowries; S. Europe, women married in their teens, there
was a different set up when transferring households, moving into her husband household
might also mean moving w/ the inlaws where motherinlaw compete for authority within
Transfer in household, from father to husband
Sexual honour as generational
oEarly modern Venice—Avogadori hears women’s petitions to marry patricians
o1589 law regulating marrying patricians
o“la vita honesta” a criterion
oHistorian Alexander Gowan, court documents, case of Rosana (mother of Regina
Contrarini), led :a retiring life and was a good Gentlewoman who never allowed
herself to be seen on the balcony”
oWomen who were seen in public places were thought to be promiscuous
oWomen are shapparoned by their male relatives to protect the reputation of the
oThe question of male immorality doesn’t come up
Venetian Cases
1646 Veneranda Tasca Di Gerolamo, Francesco, da Mosto, her family purchased a
putrician status; her sexual honour is disputed
Case of Annetta, daughter of Camilla Colonna
The question of rape was seen as property violation; the rape victim is forced to compelle
the rapist to marry her
Venetian is given a choice to go to prison or marry her and the rapest married her
Venetian mercantile economy & borders
Venesse was an important cross boarder exchange location
Ortega—muslim women whos fam thought she disgraced them, but she went to the
authority for protection-she goes to the Venessian majestry, she uses her status as
converting to Christianity, what ultimately happens—she goes into the convent to repent
a promiscuous ife—this highlights how women tried to work through religion, law and
familier order, her efforts to claim protection shows how certain women tries to use
creative strategies to get autonomy
She tries to seek legitimacy to receive estate of de Mosto; when she had the boys it was
b4 she married him even though they were his kids, so they were considered illegitimate
Women were expected to internalized the shame of sexual hono0ur
Upper class women—men were the protectors of their honour
Stereotype of the : even in widowhood chastety had to be emulated
Historian Stephen Ortega, Muslim women
1642 Case of Lucia
England Situation
1753 Hardwicke’s Marriage Act
Announcing of the banns
Scotland and clandestine marriages
Rate of illegitimacy upon marriage: approx 1/5 to 1/3 of brides in 16th and 17th c., close to
½ in the 18th c.
Concern of male property—young men taken advantage of
The act—marriage have to be announced
Cross boarder strategy
Male Sexual Honour
Roman law: Patria Potestas
England: common Law traditions
oMale sexual honour policed in communities
o‘cuckoldry’, charivaris, ‘riding the stang’
oJohn Dryden 1671 play Marriage a la mode
oDefamation cases, example of Robert of Tiverton in 1610
Men shamed by their community that they cant control their women
Richard Ames “the folly of love or an essay upon satyr against woman” 1691
2)Law Codes --how sexual honour is implicated in political orders—Laws: Marriage Contracts
and Breach of Promise Suits
At this time they wanted to systemize the laws and make them uniform, often that
involved looking at various roman codes
In the middle ages wat was essential for women was having a male protector and act as
her representitive
This idea of guardianship comes to looking at women’s nature as inherently weak and
Laws as prescriptive sources—ideals, they tell ppl how to act; strategies that were around
to get around the laws
Justinian Code, Twelve Tables—important codes of organizing laws; Roman laws
spreads to France; laws are cyclical, there are interruptions, Nepoleonic laws and the
French Revolution revives Roman law
Regional Variation in system of laws
England: common law, church courts hear defamation suits, equity courts on property—
in England their equity codes to regulate behaviour, like an issue of injunction
Reformation (16th and 17th c) changes laws and courts—protestant reformation and
catholic, had impact on laws, the church courts come under protestant control; in the
protestant case marriage is looked at more favourably
Catholics, in response to the reformation, they start to look at marriage as important
How these changes affected areas like Germany and other Protestant areas:
Sexual honour and male property, marital debt –issues of property turned on women
sexual honour, relied on female fidelity, her economic future was contengent on her
honour, marital debt women’s part to the marriage was to devote to her husband
Luther: rethinking the importance of marriage
He argues that syllabise was an unrealistic ideal
Established rules for when and how to have sex
Sex is seen in terms of procreation alone
Breach of Promise Suits
Ambiguities of promise to wed and matrimony
Women petition courts to affirm honour