Item: Des Jurements. Que nul ne soit si osé ne si hardi de jurer le Nom de Dieu, sur peine pour la première fois de baiser terre: & pour la seconde, de baiser terre & de trois sols: pour la troisieme, de soixante sols & trois jours en prison, en pain & eau: & pour la quatrieme, d’estre privé de la ville pour an & jourThis is just for swearing; the punishments for blasphemy are even more severe! Du Bellay, who was used to the anything-goes attitude of the Parisians, and the anything-goes-as-long-as-you-know-the-right-people attitude of the Romans, was quite taken aback by all this. Still, he also records that he had never seen so much greed and envy and anger and recrimination – and binge-drinking – as he saw in Calvinist Geneva.
Cursing: Let no man be so impertinent and so bold as to take God’s name in vain: the punishment for a first offence is to kiss the ground; for a second offence, to kiss the ground and pay a fine of three sols; for a third, a fine of sixty sols and three days in prison, on bread and water; and for a fourth, banishment from the city for a year and a day.
August 17, 2007
Joachim Du Bellay, when he passed through Geneva on his way back from Rome, was surprised to observe that the inhabitants of the city never used swearwords. Henri Chamard locates a record of the laws that governed Geneva in 1560, in MS Dupuy 415 held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France: