Abortion in the Early Middle Ages, c.500-900 by Zubin Mistry

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By Zubin Mistry

Whilst a Spanish monk struggled to discover the proper phrases to express his unjust expulsion from a monastery in a determined petition to a sixth-century king, he likened himself to an aborted fetus. Centuries later, a ninth-century queen came across herself accused of abortion in an altogether extra fleshly experience. Abortion haunts the written checklist around the early heart a long time. but, the centuries after the autumn of Rome stay a great deal the "dark a while" within the broader background of abortion.
This booklet, the 1st to regard the topic during this interval, tells the tale of the way participants and groups, ecclesiastical and secular specialists, construed abortion as a social and ethical challenge throughout a few post-Roman societies, together with Visigothic Spain, Merovingian Gaul, early eire, Anglo-Saxon England and the Carolingian empire. It argues early medieval authors and readers actively deliberated on abortion and a cluster of comparable questions, and that church culture on abortion used to be an evolving perform. It sheds gentle at the missed number of responses to abortion generated by means of various social and highbrow practices, together with church self-discipline, dispute payment and methods of political legitimation, and brings the background of abortion into dialog with key questions about gender, sexuality, Christianization, penance and legislations. Ranging throughout abortion miracles in hagiography, polemical letters during which churchmen likened opponents to fetuses flung from the womb of the church and uncomfortable imaginings of resurrected fetuses in theological hypothesis, this quantity additionally illuminates the advanced cultural value of abortion in early medieval societies.

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Extra resources for Abortion in the Early Middle Ages, c.500-900

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Carrick, Medical Ethics in Antiquity: Philosophical Perspectives on Abortion and Euthanasia (Dordrecht, 1985); P. Salmon, Les limitations des naissances dans la société romaine (Brussels, 1999); K. Kapparis, Abortion in the Ancient World (London, 2002). Studies focussing especially on Christian attitudes include M. J. Gorman, Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish and Pagan Attitudes in the Graeco-Roman World (Downers Grove, 1982); G. Bonner, ‘Abortion and Early Christian Thought’, in Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life, ed.

8, ed. C. Hosius, A. Gellii Noctium Atticarum libri XX, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1967), II, p. 27. 9, II, p. 27. On rhetorical use of nursing to convey broader ideas about education of children, see W. Keulen, Gellius the Satirist: Roman Cultural Authority in Attic Nights (Leiden, 2009), pp. 32–5. 55 The risks lie not only in imagining the practice of abortion, but also in excavating public morality from literary texts. Abortion was (and is) a solemn subject, but not all authors played by the rules. Ovid (d.

22 below, together with Koskenniemi, Exposure. indd 24 19/06/2015 14:12 Classical and Late Antique Society One big question ought to be foregrounded, however. It concerns the relationship between Roman and Christian Zeitgeister. 10 Or did Christianity develop pre-existing values? A definitive answer is beyond the scope of this chapter, but it does carry implications for what an answer (and, by implication, what the historical study of attitudes to abortion) should look like. It must root attitudes to abortion in questions of sex and gender, of the city of God and the cities of men, of writers and audiences, of origins and receptions.

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