1. Hydraphantom

    Hydraphantom Member

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    Could being gay get you killed in 19th century Europe?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Hydraphantom, Nov 23, 2016.

    The protagonist commited a sin (namely, banged his sister), that is not really punishable legally. A bishop picked up on this and starts criticize him and with bribe from other opposition politicians, tries to use this as an excuse to kick him down of his position. Protagonist then use his government influence to slander the bishop with gay accusation, get him hanged for "being gay", and call for another bishop from Papal state that don't stick his nose in these kinds of matters.

    Protagonist's thought process basically goes like this: " I cannot ( and will not) prove my innocence, so I will slander you for being gay and make your word lose credibility, and since that would not hold for long until someone can prove you are not gay, I would have to physically silence you."

    So the problem here is, can a person be sentenced to death for being gay in 19th century europe? If not then I have to rewrite this plotline.
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    My initial thought is "it probably depends on where in Europe".

    Glancing over wikipedia here and here (a good place to start but more in-depth research on your part is always a better idea) says ... maybe? I'm seeing a lot of decriminalization, but it definitely depends on where and when. I'm also not sure how him being a member of the church would affect things; that's a whole other wrinkle. It'd probably be easier to just accuse him of something else, or focus more on ruining the bishop socially than legally. Side note, it wouldn't be accusations of gayness but of sodomy/buggery, most likely - if you do want to do further research, looking up the legalities of those terms could be more helpful.
     
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  3. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    I think you'll find that Europe by then was no longer a place where murdering the "other" was either applauded, or overlooked. There was a time when this was so, however by the 19th Century rule of law gained prominence over the passion of the moment. However, that being said, being gay was illegal and prosecuted. Oscar Wilde did hard time for this "crime".

    Backstreet-wise, however, it was quite possible to wind up dead. The bully boys and thugs didn't mind having a go at people on their "other" list. Yet, if they were caught, they would pay a price under the law for it. This of course would be more accurate on a case-by-case basis. For instance, there were incidents where thugs were acquitted because the sitting judge "recognized" being gay in front of some guys was a provocation sufficient to justify a violent response.

    If I were writing a gay character in the 19th Century, I'd be mindful about what neighborhoods, and in what pubs, and at what time of day or night my character would be found. If the danger zone is preferred, I'd write in some sort of ability to "handle oneself." Or, plausibility may suffer. If you look at the way men especially dressed* in those days, you can see how it wouldn't be difficult to hide ones orientation. So...I see a lot of latitude there if navigated correctly.

    *Saying this, I am referring to Oscar Wilde.
     
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  4. Seattleite

    Seattleite Member

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    It wouldn't be called "gay" at the time, that word still meant "happy" or "joyful". But yes, it could. Especially when the RCC is directly involved. However, that does not apply to members of the church, especially not one so high-ranking. An actual bishop of the RCC has historically been shown to be above the law, even the church's own laws, so it's more likely the bishop would just be sent somewhere else to continue as a bishop where people don't know about the rumors. That was their MO with priests who were guilty of almost any sexual sins (and even outright crimes). Not just sodomy, but things that are actually bad, like child molestation, for as long as we've had good enough records to figure such things out.

    Still, if the rumor sticks, having the bishop shipped off to another part of the country is just as good as having him killed.
     
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  5. Hydraphantom

    Hydraphantom Member

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    Thank you for the reply, I was been a bit too aggressive, and wasn't thinking about such would severely damage protagonist's country's relation with the church. What I was concerning is, if he is kept alive, he could still throw incest criticism around to damage the protagonist's reputation. A war is coming and protagonist cannot bear to lose prestige at this critical moment.
     
  6. Seattleite

    Seattleite Member

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    Is he in a high enough position that the bishop in another part of the country, or possible another country altogether, would still be willing and able to slander him in a way that would actually affect him where he is?
     
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  7. Hydraphantom

    Hydraphantom Member

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    He's the Imperial chancellor of Austria, basically the second-in-command of the entire reich under the emperor. And due to his policy, he's got alot of enemy in the system that would like to kick him down. What I was originally planning was to "make an example" out of the bishop and make those enemy to shut up and prepare for war.
     
  8. Seattleite

    Seattleite Member

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    Then have him make a request (the kind with a lot of little metal disks) to somebody in the church to move the bishop to a rural backwater diocese, where his influence is minimized.
     
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  9. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Never under estimate calling ones loyalty to the nation into question. It's probably easier to fabricate disloyalty than sexual impropriety. Disloyalty is also met with disapproval across the board. There'd be no fence sitters.

    Ask Dreyfus.
     
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  10. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I'm more interested in protagonist banging his sister. Whats up with that?
     
  11. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    buy the book and find out
     
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Incest is legal?
     
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  13. Hydraphantom

    Hydraphantom Member

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    No, from what I can find here it's a crime, but the punishment are (relatively) so lax that he can just press it down. Or to get it legalized he need permission from the church which is why the bishop got to know that in the first place.
     
  14. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Henry VIII tried to get his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled on the basis of her having been married to his elder brother (who was supposed to be king) who was killed in an accident. However, it was believed the marriage between Arthur (the heir apparent) and Catherine of Aragon had not been consummated. Had that not been the case, then Henry would have had a case, and could have married Anne Boleyn with no controversy.

    As matters worked out, this was not the case, the pope held Henry excommunicate and England received the Church of England (C of E) as a result. This by way of saying incest with regard to the royals in all aristocracies was a big no no. I might add, Ann Boleyn was beheaded for treason, the charges for among which was an accusation she had incestuous relations with her brother.

    The church held considerable sway over the behavior, and legal structure of "Christendom" by threat of the bell, book and candle. Should a monarch not submit, the sacraments could be, and have been, withheld. This means no Christian burials, no Christening of babies, no marriages, and no last rites or Eucharist. The threat of going to Hell, and unburied bodies piling up at the monasteries was usually enough to obtain a monarch's capitulation.

    The relaxation of the dominance of the church in affairs of state is a relatively modern condition. It was first introduced by the establishment of the United States of America, which example was followed by France. England see-sawed back and forth depending upon the faith of whichever monarch was on its throne at the time.

    Incest is illegal in a considerably long list of countries.
     
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  15. Hydraphantom

    Hydraphantom Member

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    I was thinking more of political impact. The protagonist would absolutely not back down from this and are pushing for a official marriage, personaly I believe if this keeps going the church will be the one who capitulate. In 1850s, Austria were basically the only nation in europe that even bother to protect the Papal State. With italian nationalist right outside of the doorstep, I seriously doubt the church would risk enrage second-in-command of the reich, their (current) protector against italians. Franz Joseph would not be happy to see the church start meddling with internal affair again.

    What I believe would be the best case scenario: The church consider them truly love each other and approve their marriage. Worst case scenario: Austria invade The Papal State, crush the church's military in days and install a puppet pope and repeat the best case scenario.
     
  16. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't understand - if the state has that kind of power, and if incest is that acceptable (in what I'm going to think of as your alternate history, because I don't think "the church consider them truly love each other" would be a factor in any of the decision-making in the world as I understand it), why would the guy bother with the sodomy accusations?
     
  17. Hydraphantom

    Hydraphantom Member

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    Sorry for the confusion, It's best case scenario so I'm just making up some fantasy here. Incest is unacceptable, but I'm just thinking how will the church handle this without angering Austria.
     
  18. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Churchman found to be gay wouldn't exactly be news, and to be honest it probably wouldn't be the best accusation to use. As someone else said higher up, treason is the obvious charge - because its a lot easier to fabricate proof for , and universally condemned.

    Another option would be heresy - which would remove any of the church's support for the bishop, and make his execution something they would support
     
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  19. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

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    Um....how political can beheading the queen of England get? The offspring. The heirs....I think you may need to boost your understanding of the general concept of religious/government authority. Your take on it seems rather offhand.
     

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