Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Fornication
(668 words)

1. Denotation, basic concept

“Fornication” (German abzuchtzucht = “breeding”) is a stigmatizing term which, in its most literal sense, denotes the absence of “breeding,” i.e. of decent and civilized conduct [3]; [2]. From this very general sense, in the late Middle Ages its usage narrowed to refer to minor offenses punishable by the lower court of law (“Sin and Fornication”). In some south German and Swiss states, it also gave a name to the relevant special police unit (Unzüchte…

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Schwerhoff, Gerd, “Fornication”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 21 August 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_029394>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180126



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