Women and law in france and italy

Kathryn Reyerson, Thomas Kuehn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


PART 1: MEDIEVAL FRANCE France was a mosaic of legal practices in the Middle Ages. Changes through time only contributed to differences in practice. Any study of women and law in medieval France must therefore take into account the considerable variety of juridical conditions of women in different regions. In addition, women in urban contexts fared differently under the law than did rural women. A woman’s social and legal statuswhether she was of noble background, a member of the urban elite, a member of the artisan class, or of dependent peasant background-also affected her legal rights. In general, the written law of the lands of the south was closer to Roman law traditions, while the customary laws of the north were more heavily influenced by Germanic practice. Legal historians agree that women in medieval France were considered to be inferior to men under the law and that women’s inferiority was somewhat more pronounced in rural areas compared to urban areas. In general, Christianity had a mitigating effect on the severity of Germanic law in regard to women, because the former emphasized the equality of women and men, rich and poor, before God.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWomen in Medieval Western European Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781136521966
ISBN (Print)0815324618, 9781138987265
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


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