60 Women Law. J. 188 (1974)
History of Rape and Rape Laws

handle is hein.journals/wolj60 and id is 188 raw text is: HISTORY OF RAPE AND RAPE LAWS
By CyrilJ. Smith *

Rape is no doubt as old as the human
race. We know it to be as old as our
brief six millenia of recorded his-
tory, also that it is embodied in the
legends of the pre-record era.
I first briefly call attention to rape
during periods of war. I do not want
overlooked this aspect of the subject
by a group of international lawyers
who can influence the mitigation of
this most humiliating form of vio-
lence. Fighting seems always to exist
somewhere in the world, which was
true even during the Pax Romana
and the Pax Britannica. In most
times and places throughout the ages
rape has been the arrogated privilege
of the soldiers of the victorious army
to indulge in to their full satisfaction
upon the women of the conquered
territory or fallen city.
According to legend, during the
sack of Troy many Trojan women
were raped by the victors. Even
Cassandra, the unheeded prophetess
and daughter of Priam, King of Troy,
was violated by the braggart, Ajax
the Lesser, a Locrian ally of the
Greeks. It is noteworthy that in this
early age the violation of a captured
princess of Cassandra's standing in
the ancient world was not condoned
by the Greeks. When Ajax dragged
her from the temple of Athena and
ravished her the Greek soldiers con-
sidered stoning him to death.

When Constantinople fell in 1453
to the twenty-three year old Sultan
Mohammed II the women and girls
of the city were unmercifully and
repeatedly ravaged by the Ottoman
troops, variously estimated to have
numbered from 70,000 to 250,000.
Most of the city's gallant garrison of
9,000 was killed in the fighting.
Among them was Constantine XI,
Emperor of Constantinople, whose
heroism  and piety combined to
create a sunset glory for the empire
of this Christian prince, the last of
the Caesars. But Christian heroism
and piety could not save the women
of Constantinople.
You know the story of the city to
have suffered the most recent whole-
sale rape of its women: Nanking in
1937 when it fell to the Japanese
army. The rape of Nanking, au-
thenticated by numerous neutral
observers, became an expression
throughout the world.
These examples show that war-
time rape has existed from earliest to
modern times, and with their men-
tion I conclude this phase of the
The remainder of this paper is de-
voted to the history, particularly the
legal history, of the crime of rape in
civilized societies during peacetime.
Throughout the ages the concept
of rape has been the same. Of course,

*Excerpts from paper delivered July 30, 1974 during NAWL/IBA meeting in Vancouver, B.C. Mr.
Smith received an A.B. from the University of Tennessee and an LL.B. and J.D. from Yale Law
School; he is the senior member of the law firm of Smith, Rowe, Hay & Bacon; author of TRADI-
TION OF EVE     (1961 [2d ed. 1970] Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas) reviewing women's
status in Western cultures, ancient and modern, and advocating her full equality in all phases of
society; in 1962 received an award from the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women's
Clubs for his efforts in behalf of equal rights for women.

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