Cane and eroticism


Authority symbol

the cane become present at the King Court

Before pretending to be erotic, the cane was treated very strictly.

Catherine de Medicis

In the Sixteenth century Catherine de Medici (born in 1519 in Florence +1589) uses it to relieve her old suffering, in the mean time she makes the cane a fine presence and authority tool. As a testimony, Honore de Balzac in "Catherine de Medicis" gives the following description of Theodore de Beza, a French Protestant Christian theologian, born in Vezelay in 1519 and a disciple of Calvin:

Théodore de Bese

Theodore de Beza wore the dress of a courtier, black silk stockings, low shoes with straps across the instep, tight breeches, a black silk doublet with slashed sleeves, and a small black velvet mantle, over which lay an elegant white fluted ruff. His beard was trimmed to a moustache and virgule (now called imperial) and he carried a sword at his side and a cane in his hand. Whosoever knows the galleries of Versailles or the collections of Odieuvre, knows also his round, almost jovial face and lively eyes, surmounted by the broad forehead which characterized the writers and poets of that day.

In Catherine de Medicis by Honoré de Balzac (tr. K.P. Wormeley) at the WorldWideSchool website

Below is an excerpt of a reconstitution of the Nostradamus biography (thanks to the "Encyclopedia Hermetica", directed by Robert Benazra, Ramkat publisher), reporting from an episode of a royal visit in 1564, in Salons de Provence, of Charles IX, son of Catherine de Medici and Henri II:

"The procession started walking again and Michel, under the eyes of the inhabitants of Salons de provence, walked behind the king's horse, the head uncovered, his velvet hat at his hand, leaning on a cane made from a beautiful and thick Indian rattan handeled with silver ... because he sometimes suffered of this annoying pain at his foot that common people calls gout », drove Charles IX to the castle, that the Archbishop of Arles had put at the disposal of the Court."

Written some years later, the few lines below might, we will see it, be used as a to the relation that will link later on the cane with eroticism. In 1576, Etienne de La Boetie, in its "Discourse on voluntary servitude", says :

"Five or six have always had access to his ear, and have either gone to him of their own accord, or else have been summoned by him, to be accomplices in his cruelties, companions in his pleasures, panders to his lusts, and sharers in his plunders."

and some pages later:

"Similarly attracted, the indiscreet satyr of the old fables, on seeing the bright fire brought down by Prometheus, found it so beautiful that he went and kissed it, and was burned; so, as the Tuscan [1] poet reminds us, the moth, intent upon desire, seeks the flame because it shines, and also experiences its other quality, the burning.".


(1) Petrarch, Canzoniere, Sonnet XVII. La Boétie has accurately rendered this sonnet


Next room
Preceding room
Exiting the exhibition
French version


Web site address: /
Gilbert Segas
Expert in antique canes for collecting
Tel.: +33.(0)
All rights reserved Gilbert Segas © 2000 - 2021
Design and contents by i.S.k.i.v. Limited eBusiness solutions © 2000 - 2021
Cane and eroticism
Authority symbol, the cane become present at the King Court