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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Honour killings - why we don't accept it here


At MercatorNet, my recent article: "The untimely death of Francesca Pompilia: A late seventeenth century case may mark a turning point in the West’s attitude to honour killings."

My youth wasn't entirely misspent, it seems, because I read a lot in college, and one of the things I read was a significant European case involving honour killing.
Honour killing has doubtless occurred often enough in Western Christian culture, as Robert Browning's poem, My Last Duchess attests. However, one centuries-old incident may shed some light on its gradual decline.

In 1698, an Italian death penalty case was appealed to Pope Innocent XII. We would hardly know of the case today except that in 1860, British poet Robert Browning found on a bookstall in Florence the legal briefs. He called his antiquarian find The Old Yellow Book. His later long poem on the subject, The Ring and the Book, spread the story through the English-speaking world.

In 1693, an impoverished 40-year-old Italian count, Guido Franceschini, married 13-year-old Francesca Pompilia. Guido believed that Pompilia's parents, Pietro and Violante Comparini of Rome, were wealthy commoners.
Hey, put up your feet and read the rest here. It gets gory, but is worth your while.

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