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Marriage on Trial: Adultery in Nineteenth-Century Rome

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Abstract

In recent years, the rising historical interest in legal culture has opened new avenues of research for historians of Liberal Italy. The legal codes of the new state — and in particular the civil code of 1865 — have come to be seen as fundamental texts governing and defining the relationships between individuals, the family and the state.1 The family, an institution that is at the same time both private and public, and which has been seen as of constitutional importance, has emerged accordingly as a central object of study.2 Above all a more gendered approach to history has encouraged an evaluation of the contradictions and tensions found at the heart of the Liberal concept of the family, first and foremost among which is the contradiction between the principle of equality among members and the principle of hierarchy.3

Keywords

Civil Code Legal Institution Prison Sentence Legal Code Civil Court 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Raffaele Romanelli, ‘Individuo, famiglia e collettivita nel codice civile della borghesia italiana’, in Raffaella Gherardi and Gherardo Gozzi (eds), Saperi della borghesia e storia dei concetti fra Otto e Novecento (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1995), pp. 351–99; Romanelli, ‘Famiglia e cliritto: dall’ideologia del codice civile ai grandi numeri della statistica giudiziaria’, Quaderni storici, 91 (1996), pp. 41–67.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pietro Costa, Civitas. Storia della cittadinanza in Europa. Leta delle rivoluzioni (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 2000), pp. 628–9 and pp. 634–5. See also the (still useful) analysis of Paolo Ungari, Storia del diritto di famiglia in Italia (1796–1975) (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1974).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    On the history of masculinity in Italy see, for example, Angiolina Arm (ed.), La costruzione dellidentita maschile nelleta moderna e contemporanea (Rome: Biblink, 2001); Arm (ed.), Pater familias (Rome: Biblink, 2002).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Domenico Rizzo, ‘L’impossibile privato. Fama e pubblico in eta liberale’, Quaderni storici, 1 (2003), pp. 215–42.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    On the Tribunale Criminale del Vicario over the long term see Gabriella Bonacchi, Legge e peccato. Anime, corpi, giustizia alla corte dei papi (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1995). For a study of the offences against public decency cases heard by this court see Teresa Sardelli, ‘I processi sul buon costume istruiti dal tribunale del vicariato di Roma nell’Ottocento’, Ricerche per la storia religiosa di Roma, 1 (1977), pp. 113–71. This work is particularly useful for the tables summarising sample cases (pp. 169–71).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    See Luigi Lucchini, ‘Adulterio’, in Digesto Italiano, II (1893), pp. 206–83.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    On the interaction between individuals and institutions see Margherita Pelaja, Matrimonio e sessualità a Roma nellOttocento (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1994). Access to assistance was particularly important in moments of crisis in the individual and family life cycle. See Angela Groppi, I conservatori della virtu. Donne recluse nella Roma dei papi (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1994).Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Renata Ago, ‘Una giustizia personalizzata. I tribunali civili di Roma nel XVII secolo’, Quaderni storici, 2 (1999), pp. 389–412; Benoit Garnot (ed.), Linfrajudiciaire du Moyen Age a 1‘epoque contemporaine (Dijon: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 1996); John Bossy (ed.), Disputes and Settlements: Law and Human Relations in the West (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    See Angela Groppi, ‘Il diritto del sangue. Le responsabilità familiari nei confronti delle vecchie e delle nuove generazioni (Roma, secoli XVIII—XIX)’, Quaderni storici, 2 (1996), pp. 305–33. For a thorough analysis of this question by a contemporary legal expert see Enzo Camberlotto, ‘Alimenti’, in Digesto Italiano, II, 2 (1893), pp. 316–431.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    See Bartolome Clavero, Antidora. Antropologia catolica de la economia moderna (Milan: Giuffre, 1991).Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Pelaja, Matrimonio e sessualità, p. 146. For a recent historiographical intepretation of pluralism in the courts see Paolo Prodi, Una storia della giustizia. Dal pluralismo dei fori al moderno dualismo tra coscienza e diritto (Bologna: II Mulino, 2000).Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Under canon law ‘just cause’ existed in the following cases: mutual consent to take religious vows; heresy; incitement to mortal sin; bodily harm; departure for a crusade to the Holy Land; the risk of contracting an infectious disease; and adultery. See also, for the cases analysed, Oscar Di Simplicio, Peccato, penitenza, perdono. Siena 1575–1800. La formazione della coscienza nellItalia moderna (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1994), p. 316 et seq. For an extensive analysis of the legal approach to this question in the Liberal period see Federico Ciccaglione, ‘Separazione personale (diritto civile)’, in Digesto Italiano, XXI, 2 (1891–96), pp. 804–72.Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    On the ‘malmaritate’ (‘mis-married’) under the ancien régime see Lucia Ferrante, “‘Malmaritate” fra assistenza e punizione (Bologna secc. XVI—XVII)’, in Forme e soggetti dellintervento assistenziale in una città di antico regime (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1986), pp. 65–109; and Joanne Marie Ferraro, ‘The Power to Decide: Battered Wives in Early Modern Venice’, in Renaissance Quarterly, 48 (1995), pp. 492–512; Ferraro, Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    On the Liber Constitutionum Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae see Paolo Colliva, Studi sul cardinale Albornoz (Bologna: Publicaciones del Real Collegio de Espana, 1970), which provides the text of the Costituzioni in Italian as an appendix. For an analysis of subsequent penal law, see Laura Fioravanti, ‘Il regolamento penale gregoriano’, in Diritto penale dellOttocento. I codici preunitari e il codice Zanardelli (Padua: Cedam, 1993), pp. 272–99.Google Scholar
  15. 23.
    See Arlette Farge, La vie fragile. Violence, pouvoirs et solidarités a Paris au XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Hachette, 1986); David Garrioch, Neighbourhood and Community in Paris (1740–1790) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); James R. Farr, ‘Crimine nel vicinato: ingiurie, matrimonio e onore nella Digione del XVI e XVII secolo’, Quaderni storici, 3 (1987), pp. 839–54. For some fascinating views of English working-class neighbourhoods in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries see Melanie Tebbutt, Womens Talk? A Social History of ‘Gossipin Working-Class Neighbourhoods, 1880–1960 (Aldershot: Scholar Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  16. 34.
    As Lawrence Stone has noted, ‘among the poor it is impossible to quantify the scale of husbandly desertion’: The Road to Divorce: England 1530–1987 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 142.Google Scholar
  17. 35.
    Oscar Di Simplicio, quoting Gian Battista De Luca, an important seventeenthcentury jurist, who said ‘De facili rixantur ac separantur, sed de facilireconciliatur’ (those who argue and separate easily, reconcile easily), wondered whether desertion implied a definitive end to marriage, or was a warning aimed at improving a relationship in the future (Peccato, penitenza, perdono, pp. 321–6). On the outcome of marital conflicts for aristocratic Roman women, see Benedetta Borello, ‘Annodare e sciogliere. Reti di relazioni femminili e separazioni a Roma (XVII–XVIII secolo)’, Quaderni storici, 3 (2002), pp. 617–48.Google Scholar
  18. 36.
    ASR, Rubricelle delle separazioni personali (1871–1893), buste 6,484–5.Google Scholar
  19. 37.
    The source is only available for the years 1882–93 (ASR, Tribunale Civile, Atti di volontaria giurisdizione-Separazione personali tra coniugi (henceforth SPC), buste 16–27).Google Scholar
  20. 45.
    See Gestione dei patrimoni e diritti delle donne, edited by Angiolina Arru, Quaderni storici, 2 (1998); Angela Groppi (ed.), II lavoro delle donne (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1996).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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