In the Middle Ages, a person could claim sanctuary to delay or avoid punishment for a serious crime. But what were the rules? This week on The Medieval Podcast, Danièle interviews Dr. Shannon McSheffrey to find out how and why medieval people sought sanctuary, and whether or not a convicted heretic could expect the church to save his life.
The Londoners who entered pleadings in this court between 1405 and 1415 have left a fascinating glimpse into both interpersonal violence and the world of savvy litigators.
Common law was an all-male system, with one glaring exception: juries of matrons.
In the history of crime and punishment the prisons of medieval London have generally been overlooked.
Can win a medieval kingdom by being able to stand very still (and with just a little bit of scheming)?
It was in this division of earthly and spiritual justice that the very notion itself encountered its first major challenge as an institution in medieval society.
This article explores compelling and specific cases from France during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in which animals were formally executed for crimes.
An overwhelming number of the criminal charges made in the Consistory from the second half of the fourteenth century until the last quarter of the fifteenth, the period for which records are most complete, were sexual in nature.
It is inquisitors that sell, these days: marketing builds upon visual imagination and curiosity, but is also driven by some sort of fascination with these controversial and ultimately incomprehensible individuals who pursued religious non-conformity as a crime.
The Older Law of Västergötland is the oldest surviving text in Old Swedish and marks the beginning of parchment manuscripts written in the vernacular in Sweden.
Clover uncovers the seemingly inadequate evidence-finding process in Njáls saga and discusses how the legal process can be transmitted to the saga’s narrative structure.
During the early medieval era, judicial power and authority – the right and ability to adjudicate legal disputes and enforce the law – had hemorrhaged from the public authorities of the Carolingian empire into the hands first of great magnates and then lesser lords.
Jason A. Brown focus on a medieval manuscript to show how law was taught in medieval universities.
Each of the two great law-making events of 1215, Magna Carta and the Fourth Lateran Council, included provisions relating to dispossession (spoliation, disseisin) and how to remedy some of its previous deficiencies.
Justinian’s codification is the bridge that links Antiquity, the Byzantine Empire, and Europe. It is also the link between civil law and common law, and between canon law and civil law.
Recognizing that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, medieval lawmakers believed that justice could be satisfied by aggressors making financial compensation to victims.
The social and governmental response to the Black Death in England undermined the social strength of women’s property rights and created a late-medieval patriarchal structure qualitatively different from that of the earlier fourteenth century.
‘To Avoide All Envye, Malys, Grudge and Displeasure’: Sociability and Social Networking at the London Wardmote Inquest, c.1470–1540 By Charlotte Berry The London Journal,…
This article examines the structure and jurisdiction of the pre-Reformation ecclesiastical courts in England to determine their effect on the Reformation.
Such penalties, the rhetoric surrounding their use, and the circumstances in which they were prescribed sound very familiar to a historian of early medieval Europe, where the language and targets of such precepts were similar to those set out in the Indian material.
In the wide and growing world of Anglo-Saxon scholarship, wergild has an at once ubiquitous and spectral presence.
As a community of the faithful, medieval people believed that no matter how evenly or unevenly matched the fighters were, the one who was innocent would prevail, but trial by combat was not often a black-and-white thing.
Let’s take a brief look at what judicial execution was really like in the Middle Ages.
This thesis will analyze the intersection between medical and religious beliefs in the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries to evaluate the importance placed upon medical evidence by secular and ecclesiastical courts.