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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Blanka Szeghy. The study is based on the analyses of judicial cases of accused women. It examines not only the nature of sexual crimes and imposed punishments, but also how the language was used in the court records to name and label the offences and offenders in a way which reflects the moralistic discourse of the period.
This period witnessed a crucial shift in the attitude towards extramarital sexuality, prostitution and brothels. Keywords: Crime; punishment; sexual offences; prostitution; brothels; disciplining; sexuality; Reformation; urban history; Middle ages; Early Modern period; Hungary; Slovakia; Central Europe.
Medieval historians uncovered a diverse discourse on sexuality and a tendency to increasingly regulate sexual behaviour by the urban municipalities from the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes, ed. Nonetheless, preliminary research of the relevant surviving material confirms parallel development between the West and the kingdom of Hungary.
The municipal statutes from the sixteenth century express efforts by magistrates to enforce public order by regulating the private lives of their inhabitants. Even though municipal archival sources survive only in a haphazard and uneven manner, several judicial books from sixteenth-century Hungarian towns have been preserved.
These towns were free royal towns which enjoyed privileges of municipal autonomy. This study analyses what kind of sexual misdemeanours women were accused of and condemned for in the sixteenth century according to the preserved sources. Even though this paper focuses on women accused of sexual offences, whenever possible, it will compare and contrast how men and women were treated, so the differences if there are any can be put into an objective perspective.