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Gabrielle Spiegel

Gabrielle Spiegel, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, specialises in medieval history.

Testing out the Route

Gabrielle Spiegel, 11 November 1999

Confusion between myth and historical reality has long plagued medieval scholarship, and nothing illustrates this better than the question of the so-called droit de cuissage, which is the subject of Alain Boureau’s book. Known to the Anglophone world in its 19th-century Latin form as the jus primae noctis (a prudish rewriting of the French), the droit de cuissage stipulated the seigniorial lord’s right to deflower newly married brides on his domain.

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