© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/157006511X577014 Journal of Early Modern History 15 (2011) 331-348 brill.nl/jemh The Sexual Politics of Empire: Civic Honor and Official Crime outside Renaissance Venice Monique O’Connell Wake Forest University Abstract This article examines a series of cases in which the Venetian state prosecuted officials who had committed “crimes against honor” during their terms in office. These crimes were mostly sexual in nature, and they thus provide a window into the way that the Venetian state perceived individual and collective honor of state, subject, and officeholder. A key part of the self-definition and thus the reputation of the Venetian state was its ability to ensure peace and defend order. Sex crimes by officials representing the Venetian state did not just violate subjects’ honor; they implicated the Venetian state as a whole in “lawless and tyran- nical” actions and undermined Venetian attempts to legitimate its republican empire. The prosecutions of these officials also reveal the sometimes blurry boundaries between public service and private interests in the Venetian state’s administration of its empire. Keywords Venice, empire, sex crime, Mediterranean, honor, shame, justice Introduction In the mid fifteenth century, the city of Cattaro (Kotor) was part
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: honor; shame; Venice; empire; Mediterranean; justice; sex crime
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