The purpose of Medieval torture

Interesting piece in Der Spiegel here (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…

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