Dean T. (2008) Fornicating with nuns

February 15, 2009

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Valentine day special (on the trashy side)

Dean, Trevor (2008) “Fornicating with nuns in fifteenth-century Bologna”, Journal of Medieval History, 34/3, 374-382.

In the mid years of the 15th century, the penalties for abducting or having sex with nuns became increasingly harsh in Northern Italy. In Lucca, the mere attempt to engage in sexual relations with nuns mandated decapitation. But most prosecuted case reveal a marked leniency, as most offenders were simply fined (p.376).

Having sex with nuns was a social activity. It required contacts within the nunneries and sometimes among the clergy. Numerous go-between broke encounters with nuns. Wet-nurses would take care of the babies born from nuns and interlopers (a widow in this case) helped the escapees. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greene, M. (2000) Beyond the Northern invasion

February 12, 2009

Greene, Molly (2000) Beyond the Northern invasion: the Mediterranean in the seventeenth century, Past and Present, 174, 41-70

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At least since Fernand Braudel, the 17th century is supposed to be the moment the moment the Northern Europeans (English, Dutch and later French) ‘invaded’ the Mediterranean pushing aside effortlessly the old regional powers Spain, Venice and the Ottoman Empire. In this article, Molly Greene shows that it was not that simple, nor one-sided (p.42). Read the rest of this entry »


Richardson G. (2005) Obamanomics and the medieval frat boys

January 1, 2009

Richardson Gary (2005) “The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institution in Medieval English Agriculture”, The Journal Of Economic History, 65/2, 386-413.

Introduction

In this somewhat cumbersome article, Richardson argues against McCloskey’s widely accepted vision of the medieval peasant’s management of the risk of crop failures by scattering his arable land throughout his village. This strategy had a major shortcoming: it significantly reduced average crop yield, but according to Mc Closkey, no better option was available to mitigate the risks of everyday agrarian life (p.386).
Read the rest of this entry »


Janin-Thivos M. (2007) Foreign merchants conversion in 16th and 17th-century Portugal

July 27, 2008

Janin-Thivos Michelle (2007) “Entre développement des affaires et convictions personnelles: la conversion ds marchands étrangers devant l’Inquisition portugaise a l’époque moderne”, in Burkardt Albreht ed., Commerce , voyage et expérience religieuse XVIe-XVIIIe siecles, Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 275-286.

Introduction

Merchant traveled less often with their merchandize during the 17th and 18th century then before. But their business still required them to move regularly within a network of partners and parents. Despite the rise of an intolerant catholicism in Portugal in the second half of the 17th, foreign merchants kept moving in the kingdom, chiefly looking for colonial products. In 1647, the English had obtained the right to practice freely their religion in Portugal (275). Read the rest of this entry »


Le Goff J. (1986) Usury, religion and the birth of capitalism in the Middle Ages

October 14, 2007

Jacques Le Goff (1986) La Bourse et la vie. Economie et religion au Moyen Age, Paris, Hachette, 150p.*

Introduction

After the council of Lateran IV (1215) confessions became private and regular instead of rare and collective. The individual became responsible of his own sins instead of assuming his share of the sins of the whole society. Pawnbrokers are thus suddenly singled out by the church as symbol of cupidity at a time when the central quality put forward by the Church was poverty. Read the rest of this entry »