Mascolinità mediterranee a confronto (Medioevo - Età Moderna). Saggio introduttivo
Denise Bezzina e Michaël Gasperoni
Over the span of a little less than thirty years, the “multiple masculinities” which have existed and coexisted in past times have come to occupy a rather prominent place in the research agendas of scholars interested in gender history. Literature has covered a vast array of topics: from the construction of different types of masculinity in the most diverse (regional, political, social, economic, religious) contexts and how it was expressed, to the relationship between masculinity and power and hierarchies, for example, often adopting multidisciplinary approaches. This introductory chapter offers a general overview of the main research trends as well as a more in depth look at the topics which are explored in the articles that compose this monographic issue of «Genesis».
Tratti della mascolinità negli Annali genovesi (secc. XII-XIII)
The aim of this article is to make a first survey on a topic which is still unexplored in Italian medieval studies, namely the characterization of masculinity in written sources. The survey is carried out on the Genoese annals, a text covering the 12th and 13th centuries which was compiled in succession by several authors and intended for an exclusively male audience. As customary at the time, the annalists resorted to certain conventions when reporting events and describing the main actors. In doing so, the compilers presented public figures that were characterized only in a male sense, usually in a collective dimension, while almost always keeping silent about women. The text of the annals is analyzed through the use of the adverb viriliter (which expresses above all measure and reasonableness), which is repeated with great frequency, and by observing both to whom and why honour is acknowledged, and, at least for what concerns the city’s aristocracy, how the kinship that supports the individuals is described.
A chapter from the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois de Jérusalem, compiled around 1250, establishes that if a man wishes to recover gifts offered to a woman with whom he had sexual relations, he will have to submit to a bizarre ritual. According to the chapter, this man will have to lay with a Saracen man, fitted with a wooden rod the size of his penis… But how can we interpret this judicial ritual, which has probably never been performed? This chapter tells us a lot about the complex relationships in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem: between men and women, Christians and Saracens, as well as donations and donors.
At the heart of the sodomy trial against Lazarro de Norsa in 1670 before the Modenese Inquisition lies a relationship between the Jewish tailor Lazarro and the son of the household, Cesare Cinicelli. Lazarro sleeps, not in the servants’ quarters, but with Cesare Cinicelli. There is nothing unusual or sinister about two men sharing a bed, but when two men of different faiths and status do so it gives rise to gossip and suspicion. Jews and Christians are never supposed to be intimate with each other unless the Jew converts to Christianity and Lazarro has recently rejected the idea of doing that. Jealousies arise in the household. The coachman Gioseppe does not like the privileged treatment accorded to the Jew. He shrinks from actually accusing or involving Cesare Cinicelli, so he puts forward what he hopes will be a more plausible story to the effect that the Jew has sexually abused the coachman’s eleven-year-old son, Giovanni. Medical evidence clearly indicates that the boy has been sodomized by somebody: there are two Christian suspects, Galvano and Romagnolo, and out of malice the coachman adds the name of the Jew and gets his son to incriminate him. This chapter examines this case in detail considering important questions about early modern identity, the transgression of religious boundaries caused by daily interactions, illicit sexuality between Jew and Christian, and cultural hybridity.
Le pagine della Sis
a cura di Vanessa Moi