vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
Being in the Merlin fandom and shipping Arthur/Merlin has made me really interested in the Middle Ages. I've read some books about medieval women's status, work and everyday lives, which has made me realize that the show's depiction of Morgana is really historically inaccurate. What first made me think about this was meta on somebody else's journal, but it's been a while, so I can't find it. Here's [ profile] adarog 's journal entry that mentions it: and reminded me of it.


I've also read parts of "Rakkaus samaan sukupuoleen: homoseksuaalisuuden historia" (Love towards the same sex: a history of homosexuality) by Robert Aldrich and Veli-Pekka Ketola, which is a good general source if you're a Finnish-speaker. Today, I read an essay titled The Experience of Homosexuality in the Middle Ages by Paul Halsall.

Stuff I've learned that can be applied to Merlin: The European attitudes towards homosexuality changed radically around the 13th century. Before that, sodomy was of course a sin, but sort of your own business. Sodomy could refer to sex between men or heterosexual sex acts that were not aimed towards procreation (I don't know if it referred to lesbian sex, probably not) and basically, everybody sinned in some way anyway. Just confess it to your local priest, say a few Ave Marias and you're good to go! But around the 13th century, new laws were created, old laws were written down officially and started to be enforced. People started accusing monarchs/important people they didn't like of sodomy. That was a good excuse to get them executed.

So, how does Camelot view its adorably gay Crown Prince? We don't knooow! *wail* We'd need to know when the show is set. If the real King Arthur had existed, he probably would have lived around the 6th Century. But the show looks like it's set much later than that. I've personally thought the show is set at year 1300 or later, any thoughts on that? Also, Christianity is mysteriously absent from Camelot, and in the real world, Christianity was the basis for persecution of gay people.

Paul Halsall talks about homosexual networks/subcultures but also a lot about homosexual sex. Fact: pretty much everything that's done today has been done then. Also, interfemoral intercourse aka sex between the thighs was, for a lack of a better word, popular. (Which it might be today, it just doesn't appear in porn, erotica or popular culture that much.) Which, incidentally, reminds me of this really hot fanfic: It's NC-17 and contains SPOILERS for 1x10 of Merlin.

What I've also learned: I feel pretty silly reading an academic paper about sex. And a bit embarrassed writing a journal entry about it.

I laughed when I read this in Halsall's paper: "One of the reasons people have sex is usually overlooked. They find it pleasurable." O RLY? People overlook that all the time? Well, I guess that in academia, anything's possible.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape culture )


vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)

February 2011

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