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The story of Dubrovnik prostitutes in the Medieval and Renaissance times is just as important as many lofty political and cultural achievements of the Republic. But legal acts and criminal court archives from that time point to an intriguing attitude that the state and society had about them. Whether they simply turned a blind eye to their way of life or outright supported them, the Republic treated prostitution as it did all other important state affairs — pragmatically.
Several court cases prove that even when prostitutes received punishment for unruly behaviour, it was never connected to their line of work. Unlike in other European cities, in the 13th century Dubrovnik, there was no legislation proscribing a particular attire for prostitutes a hood or a belt. There are a few reasons why the Republic pragmatically tolerated prostitution. One had to do with the marriage norms of that time.
Namely, most noble marriages were arranged and only at the point when the man reached financial security, around the age of 30 or Sometimes with up to 20 years age difference between them, spouses honoured their marital agreement but lacked romantic love.
This, of course, only allowed men to seek pleasure outside the walls of their home. The second reason was to protect the chastity of young noble women. As a busy trading port, Dubrovnik always buzzed with young males boasting their virility. To reduce the rape and crime rate during such bacchanalias, the Republic welcomed services provided by the prostitutes. It was a pragmatic solution and a way to choose a lesser evil.
Some sources reveal that the Republic even financially supported brothels. The care they extended especially towards aging prostitutes is a definite sign of how socially sensitive Dubrovnik society was. If a nobleman refused to perform this duty for his homeland, he would have had to pay an extremely high fine.