Bathhouses and Riverbanks carries out, for the first time in English, a thorough examination of the criminal records dealing with sodomy in the Republic of Lucca from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. It does this by analysing the work and activities of the Office of Decency, the magistracy entirely devoted to the disciplining of sexual non-conformity. The great tableau that emerges depicts a reality marked by conflicts and contradictions. Diving deeply into the everyday life of people from all social levels, this book provides new insights into early modern men who were sexually attracted to men, debunking the myth of pederasty as the only form of homoeroticism expressed in early modern societies. It also offers one of the richest discussions so far of early modern male-female sodomy. In examining these records, Grassi’s research raises a fresh new perspective on the religious conflicts that shook Italy in the sixteenth century when the control of sexual behaviour became a bone of contention between State and Church and the debates revolving around its regulation anticipated the themes of mature eighteenth-century jurisdictionalism.
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