The Execution of Justice

Paul Friedland

in Seeing Justice Done

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592692
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741852 | DOI:
The Execution of Justice

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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At the turn of the fifteenth century, with the introduction of mandatory confession by a Catholic priest in all cases of capital punishment, a common penal ritual developed with decidedly religious overtones. Part public shaming, part ritual expulsion, and part Passion Play, executions in France were very much the product of France's penal history, combining elements of Roman exemplary deterrence with atonement and compensation. The endurance of various types of execution with little or no deterrent function—the trial and punishment of animals, cadavers and effigies—reveals the extent to which the theory and practice of capital punishment were drawn from different cultural influences and frequently functioned at cross purposes.

Keywords: capital punishment; penal ritual; public shaming; ritual expulsion; Passion Play; exemplary deterrence; atonement; punishment of animals; effigies

Chapter.  15024 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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