The ancient inspirations for the German legal regulations on the incest Cover Image

Antyczne inspiracje niemieckich regulacji prawnych w zakresie kazirodztwa
The ancient inspirations for the German legal regulations on the incest

Author(s): Ewa M. Vesper
Subject(s): History, Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, History of Law, Ancient World
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku
Keywords: incest; German;y offence of incest; roman law; §173 of German Criminal Code

Summary/Abstract: Since the German Ethic Council in September 2014 recommended revision of the incest law and questioned the justification for criminalising consensual sexual activity between siblings, the incest law became the subject of many public debates in Europe. This article is a contribution to show the evolution of the legal regulation of incest in Germany throughout the ages. A short overview of incest legislation in ancient cultures and in Roman law, shows that in nearly every past society, incest was considered taboo. Although, in theory, incest legislation in Roman law was very limited, it was in fact strictly forbidden. The present legal norms in Germany, which are based on Roman legal heritage and influenced by Christianity, also prohibit it. Incest is defined in § 173 of the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) as an act of sexual intercourse between lineal ancestors and descendants and between siblings. The penalisation of incest is justified by protection of the family unit. Nevertheless, due to the radical changes in moral values of society, the current German legislation is facing a crisis.

  • Issue Year: 15/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 11-31
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Polish