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Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence
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Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  49 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
The men of Renaissance Florence were so renowned for sodomy that "Florenzer" in German meant "sodomite." Indeed, in the late fifteenth century, as many as one in two Florentine men had come to the attention of the authorities for sodomy by the time they were thirty. In the seventy years from 1432 to 1502, some 17,000 men--in a city of only 40,000--were investigated for sod ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 5th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 31st 1996)
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Edmund Marlowe
Nov 25, 2014 Edmund Marlowe rated it it was amazing
I believe this may be the most important book yet written on human sexuality. During the generation or so in which historians have been openly discussing variations in sexual behaviour, it has often been shown that modern ways of thinking about sexuality are little more than culturally-induced assumptions and fundamentally different to those made by most historical societies. The available evidence had not however quite amounted to proof until Rocke put it well beyond reasonable dispute with thi ...more
Rachel Tidlund
Dec 21, 2014 Rachel Tidlund rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely amazing book on renaissance Florence. This book gave me something a lot of history books don't, something new to learn and think about. I admit that I love history, but this book definitely gave me something more. I find that a lot of history books get "regurgitated" in a way that makes non-fiction history books somewhat dull to read for most. I love how the author structured the book. I love how he approached the topic and how he analysed facts in certain ways. I apprecia ...more
Monty Milne
Mar 17, 2015 Monty Milne rated it it was amazing
The Florentine "Office of the Night", set up to police "sodomy", has left an extraordinarily rich trove of material. If you were caught in a compromising position in Florence - or if you thought you might be - you could guarantee immunity from prosecution ("forgiveness") by confessing and naming your partner(s). A frequent result was that if a youth announced he had had sex with a man he then named, this could spark an avalanche of other men hastening to give themselves immunity by confessing th ...more
Karen
Aug 24, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Rocke's findings concerning homosexuality and the male culture of early modern (note, he prefers the terms early modern or late medieval and rarely uses 'Renaissance' - the title is probably the publisher's choice) Florence, add another layer of nuiance to what we already know reguarding the power dynamics that existed between age, gender, and classes. He uses homosexuality to illustrate how Florentine families seemed to use their teenage sons in the same way they used their daughters - to build ...more
Michalyn
Aug 01, 2008 Michalyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, those interested in gender and sexuality
I borrowed this book from my university library and I enjoyed it. It explores the practice of sodomy in Renaissance Florence and how it was policed. Apparently Florence had such a reputation for sodomy that a special office called the Office of the Night was created to police it.

Rocke also places sodmomy in the context of socialization and male identity. All in all very insightful and engaging especially for an academic text.
Nathan
Sep 10, 2007 Nathan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rick Santorum.
Shelves: history
Forbidden Friendships is a remarkable study of Renaissance Florence and the homosexuals who lived there. Historically, there have been many attempts by societies to purge themselves of homosexuals. Forbidden Friendships is a tale of Florence's attempt at just that, and its a story complete with gangs, political persecution, sex courts, death and broken lives. It's also fascinating and scary. Oh, and a good read.

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