Title (eng)

Sin, Misdemeanor, Capital Crime? Adultery and Bigamy in the Holy Roman Empire

Author

Andrea Griesebner

Description

In the first part of this paper, I will offer an overview of
criminal law in the Holy Roman Empire and its use in various
jurisdictions. I will concentrate specifically on adultery and
bigamy and examine the occasions when both practices,
considered a grievous sin by the Christian worldview were
incorporated into territorial criminal laws. Considered a sin
on the one hand, a misdemeanor or capital crime on the
other, several authorities felt entitled to prosecute and
punish the offenders in different ways. In the second part,
turning from legal theory to practice, I confine the scope of
investigation to the Archduchy of Austria below the Enns.
I then explore the ways in which various authorities were
either cooperating with or alternatively ignoring the juridical
competence of the other institutions. In a close reading of
two bigamy cases from the beginning of the seventeenth
century I will show that the same offences committed by
different genders were treated differently. In the last part
I will discuss the pleas for clemency and their place within
the criminal legal system. Finally, I end with a brief look
at bigamy and its criminal prosecution in the eighteenth
century and then present my concluding remarks.

Object languages

English

Date

2012

Rights

CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 AT

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/at/

Classification

Sünde, Vergehen, Verbrechen, Kriminalität, Geschichte, Ehebruch, Bigamie, Inzucht, Geschlecht, Geschlechtergeschichte, Kriminalitätsgeschichte