«En kvinne skal straffes for alle forbrytelser som en mann»: Kjønnsspesifikke straffer i nordisk middelalderlovgivning ca. 1100–ca. 1300

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

The article discusses gendered punishments for violence and homicide, sexual morality and theft in Nordic medieval laws, and focusses in particular on the special punishments of female criminals and the principles behind these. The authors inquire whether women were considered independent legal subjects and whether crimes towards women were seen as offences towards the family or the society. The analysed legislation has been dated roughly to 1100–1300, a period during which laws were written down all over the Nordic countries and when Nordic legal norms were revised in accordance with European legal ideologies. The article identifies a number of gendered punishments – vengeance, outlawry, fines, particular means of execution and corporal penalties – but also discriminatory special treatment. The authors conclude that, with some exceptions, women were considered legal subjects in the whole region. At the same time, the laws confirmed the individual culpability of women for crimes they had committed. However, this was interpreted in different ways from region to region, and the possible responsibility of the womanʼs legal guardian varied. Generally, womenʼs responsibility for crimes follows the development from collective to individual culpability during the period, but is also concurrent with womenʼs increasing rights to property. The comparative analysis of the Nordic sources confirms the existence of regional patterns identified by previous research, but provides a more nuanced picture. The analysis additionally demonstrates how criminal law was influenced by canon law and German town law.
Original languageNorwegian
JournalHistorisk Tidsskrift
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)299-324
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 326633212