A contribution to the history of the “culture of domestic violence”\ Marital violence was once a physiological and accepted part of marriage, legally until the end of the Ancien Regime, socially well beyond that. It must also always be remembered that ‘unreported’ violence was – even more than it is today – a phenomenon of vast proportions, despite the fact that the wives of the Ancien Regime were not in the least resigned to marital oppression, and that medieval and modern institutions were often anything but inattentive when it came to dealing with the worst excesses of abuse. What remains from court documents detailing so many ‘conjugal hells’ is just the tip of the iceberg. Domestic walls concealed all kinds of violence, sometimes serious, sometimes fairly innocuous, sometimes not even considered as such and accepted with resigned fatalism. A certain interpretation of marital violence has, formally speaking, definitively passed, but the mentality of the old order continue to spread in the society.