The Invention of Homicide: Crime, Honor, and Spectacular Justice in Late Medieval Flanders
Paper by Mireille Pardon
Given at the 21st Annual Mellon Colloquium on April 14, 2023
Abstract: Professor Pardon’s project examines how people thought about homicide in fifteenth-century Flanders, and how changes in the perception of killing over time impacted judicial practice. Medieval reconciliation procedures, a feud-like understanding of violence, and an emphasis on pecuniary penalties declined as spectacular, bodily punishment took center stage. Drawing on the wealth of archival resources for late medieval Flemish cities, her work explores slow cultural shifts in concepts of honor, masculinity, and the common good to give a new perspective on the birth of early modern punitive justice.
Top Image: Detail from one of the corners of the Ghent Altarpiece, by Jan van Eyck, completed 1432, oil on wood, in Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium. Photo by Web Gallery of Art / Wikimedia Commons