Inquisitions and Other Trial Procedures in the Medieval West: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Inquisitions and Other Trial Procedures in the Medieval West

1st Edition

By H.A. Kelly


382 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788393
pub: 2001-05-24

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'Inquisition' was the new form of criminal procedure that was developed by the lawyer-pope Innocent III and given definitive form at the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. It has since developed a notoriety which has obscured the reality of the procedure, and it is this that Professor Kelly is first concerned with here. In contrast to the old Roman system of relying on a volunteer accuser-prosecutor, who would be punished in case of acquittal, the inquisitorial judge himself served as investigator, accuser, prosecutor, and final judge. A probable-cause requirement and other safeguards were put in place to protect the rights of the defendant, but as time went on some of these defences were modified, abused, or ignored, most notoriously among papally appointed heresy-inquisitors; but in all cases appeal and redress were at least theoretically possible. Unlike continental practice, in England inquisitorial procedure was mainly limited to the local church courts, while on the secular side native procedures developed, most notably a system of multiple investigators/accusers/judges, known collectively as the jury. Private accusers, however, were still to be seen, illustrated here in the final pair of studies on 'appeals' of sexual rape.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Inquisition and the prosecution of heresy: misconceptions and abuses; Inquisitorial due process and the status of secret crimes; The right to remain silent: before and after Joan of Arc; Joan of Arc's last trial: the attack of the devil's advocates; Trial procedures against Wyclif and Wycliffites in England and at the Council of Constance; Lollard inquisitions: due and undue process; English kings and the fear of sorcery; The case against Edward IV's marriage and offspring: secrecy; Witchcraft; Secrecy; Precontract; Statutes of rapes and alleged ravishers of wives: a context for the charges against Thomas Malory, knight; Meanings and uses of raptus in Chaucer's time; Index.

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Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General