Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/7100
Title: The "Degenerate Morals and Fashions" of Anglo-Norman Society at the Turn of the Eleventh and Twelfth Century: Interpreting the Sources
Authors: Fennell, Claire
Keywords: Court of William RufusAnglo-Norman courtFashion and lasciviousnessOrdericus Vitalis
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Claire Fennell, "The 'Degenerate Morals and Fashions' of Anglo-Norman Society at the Turn of the Eleventh and Twelfth Century: Interpreting the Sources", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, VI (1999), pp. 61-71
Series/Report no.: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali
VI (1999)
Abstract: 
The paper investigates the attitude of four 12th-century clerical historians to gender, homosexuality and the behaviour of the court of William Rufus and his brother Robert. The focus is set on the writings of the monk Ordericus Vitalis, who is the main source on the reign of the two first Anglo-Norman kings. In the chronicles emerges a strong reaction to homosexual behaviour as bound with the conviction of women’s inferiority to men and a vehement disapproval of any manifestation which goes beyond the limit of the virtuously useful. At first Rufus was criticised more for his contempt for the church and his mistreating of his subjects rather than for his alleged homosexuality. It was only later that Ordericus, who once had admired the king’s military prowess, started condemning him for committing the vice of sodomy, for his excessive pride and for his contempt for the church. Ordericus was extremely critical about the fashion followed by men at Rufus’ court, since in his view flowing robes, pointed shoes and long hair were synonymous with moral debauchery. Every deviation from the established rules, every behaviour seen as ‘useless’, was considered against the laws of nature (thus ‘unnatural’) and leading to the corruption of the soul.
Type: Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/7100
ISSN: 1123-2684
Appears in Collections:1999 / 6 Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche

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