This account of the women of the Romance countries does not attempt to trace in detail their gradual evolution, but rather to present, in the proper setting, the most conspicuous examples of their good or evil influence, their bravery or their cowardice, their loyalty or their infidelity, their learning or their illiteracy, their intelligence or their ignorance, throughout the succeeding years.
and, doubtless as one of the consequences of this regulation, it had become the custom for many of the priests to have one or more concubines with whom they, in most cases, lived openly and without shame. The monasteries became, under these conditions, dens of iniquity, and the nunneries were no better. The nunnery of Saint Fara in the eleventh century, according to a contemporary description, was no longer the residence of holy virgins, but a brothel of demoniac females who gave themselves up to all sorts of shameless conduct; and there are many other accounts of the same general tenor. Pope Gregory VII. tried again to do something for the cause of public morality, in 1074, when he issued edicts against both concubinage and simony--or the then prevalent custom of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferment; but the edict was too harsh and unreasonable with regard to the first, inasmuch as it provided that no priest should marry in the future, and that those who already possessed wives or concubines were to