The Middle Ages span from the seventh to the fifteenth century and remains infamous as one of the most exciting and bloodthirsty periods in European history. Stories of torture and executions have peppered this time and flavored it with a reputation for the barbaric.
But under what context do we find the use of judicial violence – the sanctioned violence under secular and ecclesiastical laws that feeds that reputation to the modern day? Judicial violence can be defined as any act that inflicts physical pain on a person in the custody, and by the consent, of a judicial authority.
The purpose of this short documentary is to seek answers to some basic questions about judicial violence in Western Medieval Europe. What particular instruments of violence were found to be most effective for a specific purpose? When in the evolution of European law (secular or ecclesiastical) did these methods appear (or find a resurgence) and when did they fall out of favor, if at all? Who used these methods and who was subjected to them? Why was judicial violence used in specific cases? What was the motivation behind these methods?
Paula Duke, ’13
Majors: History, Classical Studies, Individualized: Archaeology
Sponsor: Michelle Herder