Crime of Abduction of Girls and Women in the Tzar Stefan Dušan`s Kode Cover Image

Кривично дело отмице девојака и жена у законодавству цара Стефана Душана
Crime of Abduction of Girls and Women in the Tzar Stefan Dušan`s Kode

Author(s): Biljana Marković
Subject(s): History
Published by: Istorijski institut, Beograd
Keywords: Church laws; The Justinian's Law; The Tzar Dušan's Code, marriage; Church wedding; tradition; abduction; crime; security; punishment; public interest

Summary/Abstract: In Medieval states, marital and family relations were under constant social scrutiny, firm control, and even surveillance. Morality and way of behaving were not considered as personal rights. From the time of the Leo III's Ekloga dating from 726, the Church attitude that each sexual intercourse outside marriage conducted by the Church ritual was sinful and should be punished, was accepted in Byzantium. The state and the Church attempted to completely regulate marriage and family, so they also received attention on the legal codes of Medieval Serbia. That is why abducting women and girls for marriage, even with the approval of the abducted person, was considered to be a socially dangerous thing and was marked as a criminal act. In Medieval Serbia, abducting women and girls was considered a serious offence, for which severe punishments were determined. In the legal sources mentioned, the social position of victims or perpetrators is irrelevant. The only difference concerns the severity of the offence, to be determined in the investigation. The more severe offence exists if the crime has been committed with the use of weapons, so, therefore, the punishment was more severe. The less severe form was defined as the abduction without the use, or even without having any, arms. Abduction of one's own fiancée, or the acceptance of the abducted person or her family, were not considered as mitigating factors. Depending on the severity of the case, death penalty was prescribed, or several corporal and shaming punishments, as well as exile. Essentially, the crime of abducting women or girls was the crime against one's person, but, in Medieval framework, it was also the crime against morality and, in a wider sense, even against the faith and the security of the population, so it was also in the public interest to prosecute it.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 56
  • Page Range: 241-260
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Serbian