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Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500$
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Catherine Kovesi Killerby

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247936.001.0001

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Ancient and Early Medieval Precedent

Ancient and Early Medieval Precedent

(p.9) 1 Ancient and Early Medieval Precedent
Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500

Catherine Kovesi Killerby (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates how different rulers of olden times implemented the sumptuary laws especially on women. It discusses that the advent of Christianity brought more force to traditional condemnation of luxury consumption. It adds that indulgence in luxury could be seen as a sin. It also tells that for the early medieval period, the only secular governing body concerned to restrict consumption of luxury goods by its subjects was that of Charlemagne and his successor, Louis le Débonnaire. It explains that the church provides the most examples, and even these are not very plentiful when compared with ancient precedents and with those of the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It highlights that whenever luxury was of a level sufficient to merit concern, there was no hesitation on the part of the appropriate ruling bodies, whether sacred or secular, to pass legislation.

Keywords:   Christianity, luxury consumption, Middle Ages, Renaissance, sin, Charlemagne, Louis le Débonnaire

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