The Body in the City

‘The Body in the City, 1100-1800’ Focus Program aims to investigate the complex, diverse, and multi-layered realities and understandings of ‘the body’ in medieval and early modern societies. It brings together outstanding scholars from the University of London (Birkbeck College) and Monash, along with members of the Prato Consortium of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Amsterdam, Arizona, Catholic University of America, Edinburgh, Queen Mary College, Toronto, Warwick, Prato State Archives) to research both real and metaphorical bodies in the urban context and investigate their inter-relationship.  The research program encompasses various disciplines – art, architecture, literature, medicine, politics, religion, gender, society – and focusses on archival, textual, visual and environmental materials.


Jonathan Davies History Seminar

5 May 2017, 12-1pm
Monash University Clayton Campus, Matheson Library

Did you miss Jonathan’s excellent lecture? The recording and slides are available at the Monash University Library website.

It used to be argued that there was little change in insults over time. However, recent studies suggest that in fact insults are often culturally specific. For example, in early modern European societies insults were shaped by gender with women attacked on the basis of their sexuality and men decried for lacking honesty, courage and worth. Insults against men have been portrayed by scholars as being more varied in form and socially transgressive than those against women. In addition, Peter Burke has suggested that in early modern Italy there was a syntax of insults with three main stages: challenge; statement of triumph; and threat. This research has been based largely on cases drawn from criminal records. In contrast, this paper will consider theories of insult in the context of two exceptional contemporary treatises by the leading Bolognese philosopher Camillo Baldi (1550-1637): Delle mentite e offese di parole (Bologna, 1623) and Delle considerationi e dubitationi sopra la materia delle mentite e offese di parole, Libre due (Venice, 1633). These works are systematic analyses of lies and insults, both verbal and physical, with Baldi discussing over 100 different cases of possible compromises of honour.