Month: October 2010

Elden on Torture

There must have been a better title for this post. He links to a Der Spiegel story that I also saw on medieval torture:

Interesting piece in Der Spiegelhere (via Medieval News).

A German researcher has studied medieval criminal law and found that our image of the sadistic treatment of criminals in the Dark Ages is only partly true. Torture and gruesome executions were designed in part to ensure the salvation of the convicted person’s soul…

Although it will doubtless get interest for the gory details, the book looks interesting for its reading of medieval legal texts. Looks like it is only available in German. The title would translate as something like Torture, the Pillory and the Stake: Jurisprudence in the Middle Ages. Foucault would have had fun with this. Great closing line to the Der Spiegel piece too.

Schild’s book includes a number of medieval depictions of elaborately staged executions. Nevertheless, says the author, the work can certainly be enjoyed “with a glass of wine in the evening.”

One for the Christmas list then…

I laughed outloud at the last line of the article, too, as if my own amazon wishlist didn’t get me enough gruff from my family—since I’ve asked for everything from the latest fiction to books on the role of women in Athenian society…

(But please, no more chess sets: I think people think you get a Ph.D. and love chess: I don’t mind it, but I don’t need all the sets people have gotten me over the years. I even has a Simpson’s brand chess set, which Brad did enjoy when he was younger…)