flagellantsI’m happy to have discovered HistoryHouse.com. This is an excerpt from a brief article on the lives of 14th-century French peasants:

The flagellants, as they were later called, felt corrupt clergy could no longer save mankind and decided self-abuse was the proper way to absolve humanity’s sins. Tuchman tells us “they were forbidden to bathe, shave, change their clothes, sleep in beds, talk or have intercourse…” without their leader’s permission. “Evidently this was not withheld, since the flagellants were later charged with orgies in which whipping was combined with sex.” While originally possessing religious fervor, the flagellants grew secular and attempted to usurp power from the Church. Failing that, they settled for slaughtering some 10,000 Jews before France’s Philip VI hanged and beheaded them.

You know, I’ve read Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, the source for the above, and I have only a vague memory about the slaughtering of Jews and somehow failed to remember the S&M orgies altogether.


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