Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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Start: Topical Index: Cases: Real Cases: Ancient History | Biblical Cases:

Cases: Real Cases:

G e n e r a l   I n f o r m a t i o n

»Thecla was a saint of the early Christian Church, and a reported follower of Paul the Apostle. The earliest record of her life comes from the ancient apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla.« -- More information: Wikipedia

Rape by Alexander

I n f o r m a t i o n

»In the text, it is said that Thecla spent three days sitting by her window, listening to Paul speak about the Christian God and the importance of living in chastity. Thecla's mother, Theoclia, and fiance, Thamyris, became concerned that Thecla was going to follow Paul's teachings. They turned to local authorities to punish Paul for being a Christian and "mak[ing] virgins averse to marriage." Paul was sent to prison, where Thecla visited him, kissed his bonds, and refused to leave him and return to her mother and fiance. Paul was made to leave the city and Thecla was condemned to be burned.
However, Thecla was miraculously saved from burning at the stake by the onset of a storm. She then encountered Paul outside of Iconium, where she told him, "I will cut my hair off and I shall follow you wherever you go." She then traveled with Paul to Antioch of Pisidia. There, a nobleman named Alexander desired Thecla and attempted to rape her. Thecla fought him off, tore his cloak, and knocked his coronet off his head, which caused her to be put on trial for assault. She was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts, but was again saved by a series of miracles. In one scene, female beasts, particularly lionesses, protected her against her male aggressors. While in the arena, she baptized herself by throwing herself into a nearby lake full of aggressive seals, who were all killed by lightning before they could devour her.« -- More information: Wikipedia

K e y w o r d s

Chronological Index: Ancient History: Ancient Rome | Topical Index: Types: General: Prison Rape; Offenders: Social Status: Noblemen; Victims: Physical Status: Virginity; Representations: Religious Texts: Acts of Paul and Thecla

B i b l i o g r a p h y

I. Author Index

[Info] Grubbs, Judith E. »'Don't Force the Slave of God!' St. Thekla and the Avoidance of Rape.« Ancient Rape Cultures: Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian: International Conference Rome 2022.

II. Speaker Index

[Info] Franc, Catherine. »The Rejected Suitor and Rape in Hagiography: The Unusual Case of Thecla.« The International Medieval Congress. Leeds 2001.