Women's Bodies, Women's Property German Customary Law Books Illustrated in the Fourteenth Century

Group X: Outlaws

Landrecht I, 48,1

Oldenburg 25v
Dresden 14v
Wolfenbuttel 20v

see below for detailed page sections


The text, represented in the fourth register, declares that all those born out of wedlock, as well as those who have been declared rechtlos, (non-persons with neither access to or protection from the law), cannot be assigned a Vormund (guardian/advocate) who can speak for them in court. Women are not specifically mentioned at all. Yet the illustrators regularly represent "outlaws" with the figures of a female thief and a cleric's illegitimate child. Of the long list (cf. Landrecht I, 38, 1 and 2) of possible types to choose from, the illustrators gratuitously exploit the opportunity to implicate women negatively twice in the same register (Dresden and Wolfenb├╝ttel, register 4, Oldenburg register 1), once in the figure of a petty thief--you see the goose tied on her back--and again superfluously as the unmarried mother of the cleric's child. There are several other instances in which a woman is not mentioned in the text, but is worked in a negative light in the corresponding illustration, as here.