altmarius

cultură şi spiritualitate

How to Get Out of a Conviction in the Middle Ages

By Danièle Cybulskie

Medieval justice was a slow and, for the most part, careful process, much different from the horrors we see on television in which being charged with a crime was tantamount to being slated for the chopping block. That said, the justice system did have holes. Whether you’re guilty or innocent, here are five handy tips to help you avoid getting convicted in a medieval court.

Two men in prison Ms. Ludwig XIV 6, fol. 255v - Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program

Two men in prison Ms. Ludwig XIV 6, fol. 255v – Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

1. Be a Priest

Although being a priest couldn’t save you all of the time, it certainly did help things. Called the “benefit of clergy”, priestly legal status meant a man would be tried for his crimes in the ecclesiastical courts where punishment was less harsh (i.e. penance instead of corporal punishment). It was partially for this reason that England’s Henry II wanted priests to be accountable to secular courts first, something that Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, opposed. (Henry lost that battle; Becket lost his life.) Because everyone knew priests could escape the harsher punishments of secular law, wily criminals memorized Latin prayers and verses to pass themselves off as priests if they got caught. I’m guessing the shire reeves who took criminals into custody got to be pretty good at distinguishing Latin from pig Latin over the course of their careers.

2. Get a Lawyer

If you had the money or the connections, you could get yourself legal representation, which was enormously helpful. In the case of Giovanni versus Lusanna in Florence – she said they were married, he said they weren’t – both parties’ lawyers went to tremendous lengths to find witnesses, make good arguments, and dig up previous legal cases to besmirch each other and the judge (ah, lawyers). While having annoying lawyers may have something to do with how Giovanni lost his case at first (the judge actually got so irritated one day that he went home), they proved their worth by getting the verdict overturned on appeal. Knowing the finer points of the vast medieval legal system was something beyond the reach of most people, so if people could afford a lawyer to help them navigate it, it was well worth the money spent.

3. Grease Some Palms and Crack Some Skulls

A little bribery and a few threats could sometimes go a long way in the medieval court system, especially, it seems, in late medieval Italy. The Borgias were particularly adept at mixing money and death threats, allowing them to reach the papacy and to defeat all comers, even when the evidence (like a hugely pregnant belly) was against them. While most of the people in the legal system seemed to genuinely want it to be just, not everyone was so scrupulous. It’s no coincidence that Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince after watching the Borgias finesse crimes from bribery to murder.

4. Get a Forensic Expert

Believe it or not, forensics did exist in the Middle Ages. Cause of death was something that needed to be determined in murder cases, so expert testimony was relied upon to determine the guilt of the accused. In the case of Margarida de Portu, charged with poisoning her husband, the court records contain a detailed examination of the corpse by the local doctor, Vivas Josep. Josep’s examination included everything from a visual inspection, to hair and skin samples. He even hoped to inspect the vomit of the deceased (to his disappointment, no one had saved it). Josep determined by these methods that Margarida’s husband was not poisoned (p.42-43), a conclusion that went a long way to exculpating her. I’m sure Margarida would have appreciated it if Josep hadn’t gone on to suggest that her husband had had a heart attack because she wouldn’t have sex with him (p.47), but it’s hard to complain when you’re exonerated.

5. Be Nice to Your Neighbours

Without the handy devices of the digital age (like security cameras and DNA testing), most crimes went unwitnessed and were very difficult to prove. In the absence of hard evidence, courts were forced to rely on circumstantial evidence and the word of the people. Witness testimony was crucial in determining things like intent: people who were shown to be mentally ill, for example, would not be punished, so it was critical for judges to hear about the accused’s mental state and competence, as well as whether or not anyone thought it was likely that he or she had committed the crime. A person who had good connections in the community and a reputation for being honest and trustworthy, therefore, had a much better chance of getting away with a crime than a person who isolated himself or annoyed the neighbours. In Florence, Giovanni called on more than seventeen of Lusanna’s neighbours to testify in his case against her (Brucker, p.54), many of whom were (predictably) hostile. When it came to medieval justice, the safest course was to follow the golden rule: testify unto others as you would have them testify unto you.

For more on Giovanni and Lusanna’s marital woes and litigation, check out Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence by Gene Brucker. To find out more about Margarida de Portu’s murder trial, read A Poisoned Past: The Life and Times of Margarida de Portu, a Fourte... by Steven Bednarski, and for some up-to-date information on the mentally ill and the legal system, check out Leigh Ann Craig and Wendy Turner’s work.

You can follow Danièle Cybulskie on Twitter @5MinMedievalist

Click here to read more articles from the Five-Minute Medievalist

Vizualizări: 98

Adaugă un comentariu

Pentru a putea adăuga comentarii trebuie să fii membru al altmarius !

Alătură-te reţelei altmarius

STATISTICI

Free counters!
Din 15 iunie 2009

199 state 

(ultimul: Sint Maarten)

Numar de steaguri: 263

Record vizitatori:    8,782 (3.04.2011)

Record clickuri:

 16,676 (3.04.2011)

Tari lipsa: 43

1 stat are peste 600,000 clickuri (Romania)

1 stat are peste 90.000 clickuri (USA)

1 stat are peste 40,000 clickuri (Moldova)

1 stat are peste 20,000  clickuri (Italia)

2 state au peste 10.000 clickuri (Franta,  Germania)

6 state au peste 5.000 clickuri (Olanda, Belgia, Marea Britanie, Canada, UngariaSpania )

10 state au peste 1,000 clickuri (Polonia, Rusia,  Australia, IrlandaIsraelGreciaElvetia ,  Brazilia, Suedia, Austria)

50 state au peste 100 clickuri

24 state au un click

Rating for altmarius.ning.com 

altmarius.ning.com-Google pagerank,alexa rank,Competitor

DE URMĂRIT

1. ANTICARIAT ALBERT

http://anticariatalbert.com/

2. ANTICARIAT ODIN 

http://anticariat-odin.ro/

3. TARGUL CARTII

http://www.targulcartii.ro/

4. PRINTRE CARTI

http://www.printrecarti.ro/

5. MAGAZINUL DE CARTE

http://www.magazinul-de-carte.ro/

6 ANTICARIAT PLUS

http://www.anticariatplus.ro/

7. DEPOZITUL DE CARTI 

http://www.calinblaga.ro/

8. CARTEA DE CITIT

http://www.carteadecitit.ro/

9. ANTICARIAT ON-LINE
http://www.carti-online.com/

10. ANTICARIATUL DE NOAPTE

 http://www.anticariatuldenoapte.ro/

11. ANTICARIATUL NOU

http://www.anticariatulnou.ro

12. ANTICARIAT NOU

https://anticariatnou.wordpress.com/

13. ANTICARIAT ALEPH

https://www.anticariataleph.ro/

14. ANTIKVARIUM.RO

http://antikvarium.ro

15.ANTIKVARIUS.RO

https://www.antikvarius.ro/

16. ANTICARIAT LOGOS

http://www.anticariat-logos.ro/

17. ANTICARIAT.NET

http://www.anticariat.net/informatii-contact.php

18. TIMBREE

www.timbree.ro

19. FILATELIE

 http://www.romaniastamps.com/

20 MAX

http://romanianstampnews.blogspot.com

21. STAMPWORLD

http://www.stampworld.com

22. LIBMAG

https://www.libmag.ro/oferta-carti-polirom/?utm_source=facebook-ads-7-99-polirom&utm_medium=banner-facebook&utm_campaign=7-99-polirom-facebook&utm_content=new-3

23. DAFFI'S BOOKS

https://www.daffisbooks.ro/

24. MAGIA MUNTELUI

http://magiamuntelui.blogspot.com

25. RAZVAN CODRESCU
http://razvan-codrescu.blogspot.ro/

26.RADIO ARHIVE

https://www.facebook.com/RadioArhive/

27.EDITURA UNIVERSITATII CUZA - IASI

http://www.editura.uaic.ro/produse/colectii/documenta/1

28. EDITURA ISTROS

https://www.muzeulbrailei.ro/editura-istros/

29 ORIZONTURI CULTURALE

http://www.orizonturiculturale.ro/ro_home.html

30. SA NU UITAM

http://sanuuitam.blogspot.ro/

31. MIRON MANEGA
http://www.certitudinea.o

32. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ROMANIA

https://www.natgeo.ro/revista

33. KORUNK

http://ideakonyvter.ro/53-korunk

Insignă

Se încarcă...

Anunturi

Licenţa Creative Commons Această retea este pusă la dispoziţie sub Licenţa Atribuire-Necomercial-FărăModificări 3.0 România Creativ

Note

Erfolgsgeschichte Taunusbahn

Creat de altmariusclassic Sep 13, 2013 at 11:02am. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusclassic Sep 13, 2013.

Schnell und Steiner

Creat de altmariusplus Iun 19, 2013 at 1:59pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusplus Iun 19, 2013.

Grosse Kunstfuehrer zum Schnell &Steiner

Creat de altmariusclassic Dec 21, 2012 at 6:55pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusclassic Dec 21, 2012.

Hermann Hesse -bucher

Creat de altmariusscience Nov 7, 2012 at 5:47pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusscience Nov 7, 2012.

Grosse Kunstfuehrer zum Schnell & Steiner - 1

Creat de altmariusclassic Oct 8, 2012 at 7:52pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusclassic Oct 8, 2012.

Neuerscheinungen zum Schnell &Steiner - 3

Creat de altmariusclassic Oct 8, 2012 at 7:50pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusclassic Oct 8, 2012.

Neuerscheinungen zum Bohlau - 1

Creat de altmarius Aug 29, 2012 at 7:30am. Actualizat ultima dată de altmarius Aug 29, 2012.

Neuerscheinungen zum Schnell & Steiner - 2

Creat de altmarius Aug 29, 2012 at 7:26am. Actualizat ultima dată de altmarius Aug 29, 2012.

Neuerscheinungen zum Schnell & Steiner

Creat de altmariusplus Mar 14, 2012 at 3:01pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusplus Mar 14, 2012.

Grosse Kunstfuhrer: Maribor

Creat de altmariusconcurs Feb 22, 2012 at 1:08pm. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusconcurs Feb 22, 2012.

© 2020   Created by altmarius.   Oferit de

Embleme  |  Raportare eroare  |  Termeni de utilizare a serviciilor