Justice in medieval times

But Jesus' followers during the first four or five generations after his death were far more concerned about sexual morality than Jesus himself had been. One pattern centered on the reproductive function of sex and established nature and the natural as the criterion of what was licit; the second focused on the notion that sex was impure, a source of shame and defilement; the third emphasized sexual relations as a source of intimacy, as a symbol and expression of conjugal love.

Justice in medieval times

Dictionary and Thesaurus minima non curat lex 1. When the Germanic tribes entered the lands of the Western Roman empire, they brought many of their customs and traditions with them, among them being those customs and traditions that comprised their system of justice.

The bases of those systems among the various peoples appear to have been much the same. The operative unit of society was the kindred, the clan or extended family.

When the member of one kindred harmed the member of another in person or in property, the aggrieved persons relatives sought retribution in what is now termed a vendetta or feud. Given the collective nature in which people operated, it should come as no surprise to find that retribution was not sought specifically from the person at fault, but from him or any member of his kindred.

The problem with this system is that retribution betprends upon an equivalence between injury and punishment, and this is not always a simple matter to establish. It is only human for a plaintiff to consider the value of his loss more highly than the defendant gauges his own responsibility.

Justice in medieval times

There was always the danger that a kindred would consider that there opponents had been overreachig in their retribution and would seek their own retribution as a means of striking what they might consider a suitable balance.

Such games of tit for tat could go on for years with men being killed long after the original basis of complaint had been forgotten. At some period in their development, the Germans tried to overcome the defects of this system of maintaining law and order.

They turned to their chieftains to act as arbitrators in disputes between kindreds. The first matter was to reach a decision on the facts of the case, and several means arose.

Justice in medieval times

Compurgation meant that the person accused of a crime was required to swear an oath that he was innocent and, depending on the seriousness of the offense, he might be required to persuade a greater or lesser number of the leading members of his kindred to swear the same oath along with him.

The may seem similar to the modern practice of offering character witnesses, but was really quite different. If it turned out that the defendant were lying about his injury he and all of his compurgators were liable to suffer the same punishment.

In addition, the leaders of a kindred might not be willing to places the lives and properties of members of their clan at risk in order to support a person who they knew not to be of the highest character. So if was that some people were abandoned by their own kindred and had to flee the vengeance of the relatives of their victim.

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Lacking compurgators or by order of the arbitrator, the accused, after having taken a solemn oath of his innocence, might be required to undergo any of a variety of ordeals to prove his innocence.

Such ordeals included that of cold water, in which the defendant was bound hand and foot and thrown into a pool of water that had been previously blessed by a priest.

On the belief that holy water would reject a liar who had foresworn a holy oath, it was believed that the guilty would float and the innocent would sink. In the order of hot water, the accused would put his hand in boiling water while swearing his oath.

The hand would immediately be bandaged and if, after a week, it was found to be not badly blistered, the person was considered innocent. Although these procedures may seem extremely crude to people today, one should consider that a person would think long and hard before entrusting his fate to such painful processes.

One suspects that most conflicts were settled long before they reached the stage of the defendant undergoing an ordeal. Believing that God would not allow the guilty to prosper, important matters were often settled by the ordeal of combat.

Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant actually had to enter the field of combat, but were allowed to choose champions to fight in their place.

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Each combatant would swear by the right of the cause of the person whom their represented and, in the ensuing combat, God would strengthen the arm of whichever had sworn to uphold the right. This may seem more than a bit happistance, but this particular custom persisted into the Middle Ages not only as an important element of civil law, but was sometimes called upon to settle disputes between nations.

In fact, trial by combat persisted into the present day and underlies both the basic principles and minor details of modern law. The defendant is represented by an attorney as is the state, and they engage in a form of combat with acting judge acting to ensure that the opponents follow proper procedure.Crime & Punishment in Medieval England.

The origins of English law, It seemed as if the clergy were particularly adept at rallying compurgators in their times of trouble with the law. hybrid justice appeared. Such was trial by battle (or trial by combat) where the accused engaged battle against the victim before a judge.

If the accused. Marriage in Medieval Times By Rachelle Carter. When someone says the word marriage today we think about two people who are in love and who want to spend the rest of their lives with each other.

The Punishments of the Medieval Era When Shakespeare was born in , Queen Elizabeth had taken power a mere 6 years prior, and her justice . Medieval Justice and Law.

Interesting history, facts and information about the life of the people who lived in England during the Medieval times. Daily Life in Medieval Times is a fully-illustrated edition of the classic and popular books of history and anthropology by Frances and Joseph Gies - Life in a Medieval Castle, Life in a Medieval City and Life in a Medieval Village.

By the end of the century, medieval law was no longer dominated by personality, local custom, trial by ordeal, kinship and compurgation, wergeld, or individual rights of judgment. Two powerful and often conflicting legal systems had emerged, however, and an increasing portion of the population were gaining the power to make law.

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