Coping in medieval prisons
By Guy Geltner
Continuity and Change, Vol.23:1 (2008)
Abstract: Based on archival research in several Italian city-states, this article examines medieval prison life, its attendant pains, and inmate coping strategies by substantially engaging the variety of scholarship on modern incarceration. It demonstrates the limited degree to which current hardships overlap with those of earlier forms of captivity, and underscores the diversity of inmates’ social positions in both eras. Medieval prisoners were marginalized, but they avoided social liminality (a major present-day risk) largely thanks to their visibility, accessibility, and frequent interaction with free society.