This week we take a look at crime in the Middle Ages, offering five accounts of murder from medieval Oxford as well as the strange history behind the tale of the Pied Piper.
The medievalism of the FX television series Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014) is not inherently obvious. Set in Northern California, the series follows a fictional outlaw motorcycle club (MC) modeled on real gangs including the Hells Angels. Critics, fans, and creators alike discuss the series as an extended adaptation of Hamlet, and the broad narrative of the series is indeed a family tragedy.
Medieval violence and Criminology: using the Middle Ages to understand contemporary ‘motiveless’ crime
Prostitution was a vice that was was considered a necessary evil because of “men’s lust”. Ecclesiastics felt that if brothels weren’t available to men in cities, they would find other inappropriate outlets for their entertainment. In an effort to curb potential problems, civic officials permitted prostitution to function within the city walls so long as it was regulated and turned a profit.
Just like their modern day counterparts, medieval cities had to deal with their own criminal underworlds – the sex trade, gambling, and violence taking place within their walls. At the International Medieval Congress, held earlier this month at the University of Leeds, these issues were explored as part of session #706: Perceiving and Regulating Vices.