THE laws relating to family life were, in the main, an amalgam of Roman and Barbaric laws ; they were tinged, in the South, with feudalism ; often they were vague, usually they were inefficient. Each little community was regulated by statutes more or less peculiar to itself. The turbulence of the Middle Ages rendered the position of women specially insecure ; every means was taken to protect them, and, since conditions altered very slowly and violence and brute force were by no means unknown during the Renaissance, the statutes were but little altered. But any class specially protected by another class is necessarily subordinate, and subordinates, however generously treated, are naturally regarded as inferiors and are open to slight and scorn. The statutes of Macerata (A.d. 1553) declare women to be “a feeble sex : there is none that doth not know it”; the statutes of Parma (A.d. 1596) emphasise an ancient doctrine held in common by Roman and Langobard—“it is written,” they say, “that man is the head of the woman and therefore she lives subject to his power and will”.