A disobedient sodomite: Magnus Eriksson and the concept of heteronormative kingship
2007 (English)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 73, no 3, 7-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article discusses how accusations of sodomy were used as a political weapon during the late Middle Ages. With St. Birgitta's accusations of sodomy against the Swedish king Magnus Eriksson in the I36os as a starting point,we study how sodomy was used as political propaganda and why it was effective. We argue that these allegations must be seen as part of a wider European political pattern. Numerous cases of similar charges can be found throughout late medieval Europe. All arise in troublesome political situations when the power struggle between king and aristocracy had reached a high point. We claim that a queer reading of the medieval texts reveals the great importance of heteronormative sexuality manifested in marital intimacy. To diverge from what we call a heteronormative kingship was regarded so seriously that it could be the very foundation of criticism against a king. The sodomite was an established figure of thought that captured all the faults of king Magnus Eriksson: his heresy, his thoughtlessness, his lasciviousness, his indecisiveness and his inclination to keep young and depraved men as advisors. The sodomite threatened the gender order and by doing so he jeopardized the entire social order. In other words, the accusations of sodomy made it possible for Magnus'critics to articulate his inability to be master in his own marriage and consequently master of his realm. A sodomite was clearly not suited to be king and the charges of sodomy could thus be used to justify a dethronement.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 73, no 3, 7-38 p.
Magnus Eriksson, St. Birgitta, kingship, sodomy, queer, Middle Ages, gender
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55233ISI: 000256414000002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-55233DiVA: diva2:402263
authorCount :22011-03-072011-03-072011-03-07Bibliographically approved