Silencing a woman’s accusation of attempted rape in Johannes de Alta Silva’s Dolopathos

Bettina M Bildhauer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The story cycle The Seven Sages of Rome is known for showing how different characters tell and interpret the short stories embedded in its frame narrative according to their own interests and biases. The frame narrative has so far been excluded from this reading, with all trust placed in the omniscient heterodiegetic narrator at the expense of the female protagonist. This article opens new research perspectives by suggesting that the heterodiegetic narrator in one of the texts in the Seven Sages tradition, Johannes de Alta Silva’s Latin Dolopathos (c. 1184–1212), might be unreliable, and that the discredited female protagonist’s voice is as worthy of being heard as the other characters and narrators. This is particularly provocative insofar as the woman’s narrative contains the accusation that she has been raped, which is framed as false by the narrator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-136
JournalNottingham Medieval Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • The Seven Sages of Rome
  • Johannes de Alta Silva
  • Dolopathos
  • Rape
  • Narrative
  • Silence
  • Gender
  • Reliability


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