Download Captivity and Imprisonment in Medieval Europe, 1000-1300 by Jean Dunbabin PDF

By Jean Dunbabin

Medieval imprisonment used to be no longer commonly punitive. as an alternative, it used to be meant as a style of coercion, to exort ransom or revenge from a fellow aristocrat, to self-discipline participants of a loved ones or to take away a perilous opponent. additionally, as Dunbabin's fascinating learn makes transparent, kinds of captivity may fluctuate to a unprecedented degree

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In some cases, as in many English towns, a jail had usually already been established before an element of control passed to the localities. In other places the existing castle became town property. 60 The consequences of such developments might be considerable. The jail could in some circumstances provide the first and only building that belonged to the town as a whole. 61 In these conditions, urban identity was presumably closely linked with the power of detention. This was appropriate, since the control of criminal jurisdiction was the solidest sign of the burgeoning political and economic importance of towns.

By the later thirteenth century, Roman law was having a decisive impact on the lives of prisoners in some parts of western Europe. Therefore, a brief survey of the main features of late Roman imprisonment is a necessary preliminary to our main topic. It is important to remember that the Roman empire was not marked by uniformity of institutions or ways of thought. Despite the relative copiousness of records, the administration below the top level was fluid in the extreme. One substantial reason for Roman success was the willingness of its ruling groups to assimilate the culture of Rome with those of the various provinces so that, although there were common features across the empire, there were also many local adaptations; if anything, the impact of local custom grew greater in the fourth and early fifth centuries.

In such a case, they would find their freedom of movement distinctly limited. According to Cosmas of Prague, in 1001 Duke Miesco of Poland succeeded in bribing the Emperor Henry II to imprison the son of Duke Boleslas who was staying with him. Though the young man was not kept for long, Henry’s action certainly soured relations between himself and Boleslas. 57 One instance of custodial imprisonment before trial serves to demonstrate just how unusual and unsatisfactory it was in the early eleventh century: Wipo in his Deeds of Conrad II told of the emperor’s determined pursuit of Thasselgard, who had committed many crimes in Italy in his predecessor’s reign.

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