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Prostitution and Illicit Love in Medieval Times Tanvir Kalam.

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1 Prostitution and Illicit Love in Medieval Times Tanvir Kalam

2 Terminology Common women: A women available to all the public In Latin -Meretrix publica meaning “public public” translating to whore Procurer: Modern day equivalent of a pimp

3 Key Conclusion What marked these women for their contemporaries was not the fact that they took money for sex but rather that they were generally available to men for sexual purposes.

4 Reasons Poverty -unable to pay dowry Unhappy marriages -Social patterns in Italy Greed External pressure

5 Society’s policy Tolerance Institutionalization Repression-regarding prostitution as an offense 12 th & 13 th Century 14 th & 15 th Century 16 th & 17 th Century

6 Churches Position Crystallized by the 4 th century -Acceptance of prostitution as an inevitable social fact -condemnation of those profiting from its commerce -encouragement of prostitutes to repent

7 Prostitutes in Christianity Saint’s such as Saint Mary of Egypt and Saint Afra and Saint Nicholas

8 Notable Clerics Stances Augustine warned that the abolition of prostitution would have horrendous consequences for society; it’s a necessary evil in an inevitably imperfect world Aquinas-Pollution of sexual passions and abuses

9 Church combating prostitution Pope Innocent III urged to “convert” prostitutes by marrying them, offering to forgive sins. Formation of municipal institutions such as Great Charity and The Repentant Sisters of St.Catherine

10 The Public and Prostitution Statute from Arles, no.49: We statute that no public prostitute [meretrix publica] or procurer dare stay in Arles in a street of “good men”. -Red light districts and uniforms -No representation in court

11 Police ordinances of Bangols-sur-Ceze authorizes honest people that they can avenge themselves “with the fist or palm of the hand, provided that there be no death, loss of member or bone fracture”. Separate seating at church.

12 Illicit love Embedded Fair at Beaucaire on the feast day St. Mary Magdalene included a foot race for the prostitutes. Venetian prostitute is rewarded 25 ducats in 1498 for the patriotic act of notifying the authorities of traitorous plans of the friend of a client.

13 Personalities Queen Margot and her dislike for her husband Henry IV and her quest for sexual adventure.

14 La reine Margot (1994)

15 Heloise & Abelard An illicit romance that ends in tragedy. Both are very well educated. Takes place in 12 th century France. Abelard, the great philosopher, gets castrated and ends up as a monk.


17 Heloise ends up pregnant, but Abelard is still denied marriage. They secretly get married. Abelard sends Heloise to a nunnery to keep her safe, but his action is misread for abandonment. Heloise’s uncle castrates Abelard in retaliation and he loses face and becomes a monk. They continue their romance through letters, neither marrying and Heloise eventually becoming an abbess.

18 Stealing Heaven (1998)

19 John Rykener-The cross dressing prostitute of England Worked in 14 th century London having sex with both men and women, dressed as both a man and a woman. The only legal process document from late medieval England (1395) on same-sex intercourse. He went by Elanor Rykener too.


21 Details -Caught having sex in a farm stall with a certain John Britby -The records terms has act as a “detestable unmentionable and ignominious vice”. -Claims to have had sex with nuns, clergy men and married women. -Likes clergymen the most because they pay the best.

22 Reasons for its Demise Relationship between prostitution and plague and sickness.

23 Luther’s program for reform -rejection of the morals of the Catholic church and of contemporary society John Calvin came up with Calvinism which preached that nothing could be tolerated that encouraged lechery and was detested by God.


25 The End

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