Prostitution In The Middle Ages

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Surprisingly, the women of the early middle ages had more freedom than contemporary women may have. For example, Germanic women that were living in this period were allowed to fight in wars with men, and they had equally important roles within their families. However, as Anglo Saxon tribes evolved into more stable communities such as the English kingdom, women’s role in society began to dwindle and become suppressed over time. Leading into the High Middle Ages, women became much more inferior to men. This new culture limited the economic opportunities that females could choose from, therefore leading many into the humiliating role of being a prostitute, and they would later also be publicly shamed. Due to the English Kingdom’s conversion…show more content…
Women would be paid money to sleep with men — married or not. This was viewed as illegal fornication by the church, and was thus considered a sin to the religion. However, the church later corrected their words to a paradoxical lesser sin, or necessary sin. In 1458, the Grand Council of Venice declared that prostitution was absolutely indispensable to the world.” Although the medieval society was vehemently against men having sexual encounters with other women than their significant others, most acknowledged that prostitution served as a protection to prevent respectable townswomen (middle, upper class women) from getting sexually harassed, abused, or raped. The church emphasized on the fact that prostitution was morally wrong, therefore, to reinforce the law, prostitutes were require to wear a type of distinctive clothing to set them apart from ‘decent’ women and to avoid confusion if one got mixed up. For example, in Milan, the garment of choice was a black cloak, while in Florence, prostitutes wore gloves and bells on their hats. According to Prostitution in the Later Middle Ages by historian Vern Bullough, a citizen who found a prostitute clothed in anything other than the official dress had the right to strip them on the spot. Although this ordeal was a very humiliating thing for women to do, because of the very limited places for jobs, concubinage was the easiest and quickest way of making money and supporting herself or her family if she was a widow. Occasionally, prostitution could lead to
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