Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence

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In 1432, the Office of the Night was created specifically to police sodomy in Florence. Seventy years of denunciations, accusations, interrogations, and sentencings left an extraordinarily detailed record, which Rocke uses to its fullest in this richly documented portrait. He uncovers a culture in which sexual roles were strictly defined by age, with boys under eighteen the 'passive' participants in sodomy, youths in their twenties the 'active' participant, and men in their thirties marrying women, their days of sexual frivolity over. This richly documented book paints a fascinating picture of a vibrant time and place and calls into question our modern conceptions of gender and sexual identity.