Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence / Edition 1

Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence / Edition 1

by Michael Rocke
     
 

"This is a superb work of scholarship, impossible to overpraise.... It marks a milestone in the 20-year rise of gay and lesbian studies."—Martin Duberman, The Advocate

The men of Renaissance Florence were so renowned for sodomy that "Florenzer" in German meant "sodomite." In the late fifteenth century, as many as one in two

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Overview

"This is a superb work of scholarship, impossible to overpraise.... It marks a milestone in the 20-year rise of gay and lesbian studies."—Martin Duberman, The Advocate

The men of Renaissance Florence were so renowned for sodomy that "Florenzer" in German meant "sodomite." In the late fifteenth century, as many as one in two Florentine men had come to the attention of the authorities for sodomy by the time they were thirty. In 1432 The Office of the Night was created specifically to police sodomy in Florence. Indeed, nearly all Florentine males probably had some kind of same-sex experience as a part of their "normal" sexual life.

Seventy years of denunciations, interrogations, and sentencings left an extraordinarily detailed record, which author Michael Rocke has used in his vivid depiction of this vibrant sexual culture in a world where these same-sex acts were not the deviant transgressions of a small minority, but an integral part of a normal masculine identity. Rocke roots this sexual activity in the broader context of Renaissance Florence, with its social networks of families, juvenile gangs, neighbors, patronage, workshops, and confraternities, and its busy political life from the early years of the Republic through the period of Lorenzo de' Medici, Savonarola, and the beginning of Medici princely rule. His richly detailed book paints a fascinating picture of Renaissance Florence and calls into question our modern conceptions of gender and sexual identity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195122923
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/1998
Series:
Studies in the History of Sexuality Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1770L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Florence and Sodomy3
1Making Problems: Preoccupations and Controversy over Sodomy in the Early Fifteenth Century19
Traditional Controls20
Agitation for Reform, 1400-143226
The Attack from the Pulpit: Bernardino of Siena36
2The Officers of the Night45
The Institution47
Politics and Sodomy in the 1430s54
The Turning Point in the Late 1450s60
The Magistrates at Work66
Community Controls80
3"He Keeps Him Like a Woman": Age and Gender in the Social Organization of Sodomy87
Sexual Roles and Behavior89
Boys and Men94
Becoming a Man101
4Social Profiles112
Young and Old113
Bachelors and Husbands119
Provenance and Residence132
Social Composition134
5"Great Love and Good Brotherhood": Sodomy and Male Sociability148
Encounters151
The Character of Sodomitical Relations161
Family Complicity175
Friends, Networks, Sodalities182
6Politics and Sodomy in the Late Fifteenth Century: The Medici, Savonarola, and the Abolition of the Night Officers195
The Lorenzan Age197
The Coming Scourge201
The Spirit and the Flesh: Sodomy in Savonarolan Florence204
The Suppression of the Office of the Night223
Epilogue: Change and Continuity in the Policing of Sodomy in the Sixteenth Century227
Appendix APenalties Levied237
Appendix BStatistical Tables243
Notes253
Bibliography331
Index347

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