1st Edition

The Death Penalty in Late-Medieval Catalonia Evidence and Significations

By Flocel Sabaté Copyright 2020
    400 Pages
    by Routledge

    400 Pages
    by Routledge

    The death penalty was unusual in medieval Europe until the twelfth century. From that moment on, it became a key instrument of rule in European society, and we can study it in the case of Catalonia through its rich and varied unpublished documentation. The death penalty was justified by Roman Law; accepted by Theology and Philosophy for the Common Good; and used by rulers as an instrument for social intimidation. The application of the death penalty followed a regular trial, and the status of the individual dictated the method of execution, reserving the fire for the worst crimes, as the Inquisition applied against the so-called heretics. The executions were public, and the authorities and the people shared the common goal of restoring the will of God which had been broken by the executed person. The death penalty took an important place in the core of the medieval mind: people included executions in the jokes and popular narratives while the gallows filled the landscape fitting the jurisdictional limits and, also, showing rotten corpses to assert that the best way to rule and order the society is by terror.

    This book utilises previously unpublished archival sources to present a unique study on the death penalty in late Medieval Europe.


    List of abbreviations

    Chapter One: Introduction

    Chapter Two: Precedent times: The Early-Medieval Justice Before Major Crimes

    Chapter Three: Sovereignty and merum imperium

    Chapter Four: The Symbology of the Gallows: Jurisdiction and Terror

    Chapter Five: The Death Penalty in the ‘plenitudo potestatis’

    Chapter Six: The Death Penalty in the Non-Royal Jurisdictions

    Chapter Seven: The Death Penalty in the Legislation and Municipal Capitality

    Chapter Eight: The Death Penalty in Ordinary Justice

    Chapter Nine: The Death Sentences

    Chapter Ten: The Application of the Death Penalty: The Ceremony of Execution

    Chapter Eleven: The Application of the Death Penalty: The Display of the Body

    Chapter Twelve: The Application of the Death Penalty: Punishment by Fire

    Chapter Thirteen: More Fire: The Inquisition and the Death Penalty

    Chapter Fourteen: The Death Penalty and Otherness: Jews and Muslims Before the Death Penalty

    Chapter Fifteen: The Death Penalty in the Mind

    Chapter Sixteen: The Death Penalty in the Paths to Consolidate Power and Social Cohesion

    Chapter Seventeen: The Death Penalty at the End of the Middle Ages in the Tense Catalonia

    Chapter Eighteen: Conclusions




    Flocel Sabaté is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Lleida, Spain and Doctor Honoris Causa of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina. He is director of the journal Imago Temporis Medium Aevum and president of the Association of the Historians of the Crown of Aragon. He has served as a guest professor in universities and research centres as Concepción, ENS (Lyon), JSPS (Tokyo), Lisboa, Mexico, Paris-1, Poitiers, and Yale.