Early Modern

‘A Temporary Member’: ‘Hermaphrodites’ and Sexual Identity in Early Modern Russia

Marianna Muravyeva Russian history of sexuality is very problematic. We have yet a lot to discover about same-sex relationships, sexual variations and attitudes to various sexual practices on the Russian pathway to modernity. The little we know suggests that one’s sexual identity was subject to close scrutiny from the community, the […]

The Allure of the Castrato

Lisa Smith The typical Valentine’s Day menu highlights aphrodisiac foods, suggesting that it is a day to celebrate lust as much as love. To this end, I offer you an introduction to one of the sex symbols of the eighteenth century: the castrato. Eighteenth-century Europeans had known about eunuchs for […]

"A filthy bruitish offence": Child sex abuse and the law in C17th England

Jen Baker Records from the Old Bailey proceedings (the Central Criminal Court for England and Wales) indicate that the acknowledgement and subsequent punishment of sexual offences against children are not modern phenomena.  Between 1674 and 1913 – when online public records cease – there are at least 570 documented cases, predominantly from the City […]