Chapter

Varieties and Logics of Medieval Hostageship

Adam J. Kosto

in Hostages in the Middle Ages

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199651702
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741999 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199651702.003.0002
Varieties and Logics of Medieval Hostageship

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This chapter presents the variety of forms of medieval hostageship from across the whole period: unilateral and bilateral (exchange); open-ended and finite; true, where the hostage was turned over at the formation of the agreement, and conditional, where the hostage was turned over upon violation. It shows that with respect to the subject of the agreements for which hostages were granted and their structure, as well as the identity and treatment of the hostages themselves, there was no ‘typical’ medieval hostage. Execution of hostages is shown to be quite rare, and the fate of the hostage does not always seem to correspond to the status of the agreement. This prompts an analysis of the logics of hostageship with reference to modern literature on contract theory and credible commitments.

Keywords: agreements; theory of contract; credible commitments; torture; mutilation; captivity; family; William Marshal; cultural diplomacy

Chapter.  16675 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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