Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 January 2012
In the full-text databases of Latin sources from Europe from the period between 400 and 1500, the Latin word for violence crops up around two thousand times, about as often as “justice” (2,400) though not as often as other interesting words like “envy” (6,000) or “vengeance” (3,800). The frequency of use of the word, adjusted for the vagaries of survival, reveals an interesting trend. From the tenth to the eleventh centuries, an age of predatory castellans and violent territorial expansion, the frequency nearly doubles in the extant literature, and remains high for several centuries to come. The word often appears in texts alongside nauseating tales of violence, of hands lopped off and eyes plucked out and intestines dragged from their hidden recesses. There is the story told by Guibert of Nogent about the predatory castellan Thomas de Marle, who hung his captives by their testicles until the weight of their own bodies tore them off. These were exempla. They painted verbal pictures of the behavior of those who were surely doomed to hell. In the hands of clerical authors like Guibert, they served as a goad to kings and princes who, in their indolence, might allow this stuff to go unavenged.
1 From the Library of Latin Texts and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, which I consulted at http://www.brepolis.net.ezp1.harvard.edu/login/overview.cfm. For the sake of simplicity I considered only nominative, accusative, and ablative forms in the singular of the following words: violentia, iusticia, invidia, and vindicta. I normalized the frequency relative to appearances of et, a word of relatively unvarying frequency.
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22 In Marseille, the Latin word for seizure was sazimentum and the object of seizure, more often than not, was simply called a pignus (English, a “pawn”; mod. French, a gage).
25 Archivio di Stato di Lucca (hereafter ASL), Podestà di Lucca (hereafter PdL) 4725, fols. 2v, 3r, 4v, 5r.
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27 For example, Guenée, Bernard, Tribunaux et gens de justice dans le bailliage de Senlis à la fin du Moyen Âge (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1963), 293–95Google Scholar; Chiffoleau, Les justices du pape, 44.
28 Meyerson, Thiery, and Falk, Great Effusion of Blood, 6.
29 Ruff, Julius R., Violence in Early Modern Europe 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 44Google Scholar.
30 ASL PdL 4717, fols. 2r–3r.
31 The court notary who kept a register from October of 1339 to March of 1340 was especially attentive to the several forms of summoning and distinguished carefully between citations issued in person and citations issued to the house, via the family. See ASL PdL 4739: respectively se citasse dictum inquisitum personaliter and se citasse dictum inquisitum domo in familia.
32 Statutum Lucani Communis, Bongi, Salvatore, ed., presentazione di Vito Tirelli (Lucca: Maria Pacini Fazzi editore, repr. ed. 1991 ), bk. 3, ch. 2, 132–33: Et si probaretur de ipso maleficio vel iniuria, ad condepnationem faciendam procedere debeant; non obstante quod de iure comuni absens condenpnari non possitGoogle Scholar.
33 ASL, Sentenze e bandi, 2.
34 ASL, Sentenze e bandi, 7. By way of comparison, Peter Raymond Pazzaglini has counted up sixteen hundred acts of banishment in Siena in the space of a little over two years earlier in the fourteenth century; see The Criminal Ban of the Sienese Commune, 1225–1310 (Milan: A. Giuffrè, 1979), 34Google Scholar.
35 ASL PdL 4739. The register opened on 6 October 1339 and closed on 8 March of the following year.
36 In six cases, including one involving a petty insult, the accused were simply released, and in a further four cases involving groups the outcomes were mixed.
37 Whereas in Lucca, assailants appear to have slipped straight into self-imposed exile, in Marseille, as in London, escape was a two-stage process, beginning with sanctuary in church. See Rosser, Gervase, “Sanctuary and Social Negotiation in Medieval England,” in Blair, John and Golding, Brian, eds., The Cloister and the World: Essays in Medieval History in Honour of Barbara Harvey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 57–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the law of sanctuary, see Shoemaker, Karl, Sanctuary and Crime in the Middle Ages, 400–1500 (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011)Google Scholar.
38 Archives départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône (hereafter ADBR) 3B 96.
39 I have translated these acts in Smail, Daniel Lord and Gibson, Kelly, eds., Vengeance in Medieval Europe: A Reader (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009), 417–27Google Scholar.
40 ASL PdL 4739.
41 ASL PdL 4721.
42 ASL, Curia dei ribelli e dei banniti, 6.
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45 Statutum Lucani Communis, bk. 2, ch. 23, p. 85.
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49 ADBR 3B 822, fol. 75r, case opened 24 Nov. 1357 on fol. 67r. See also 355E 9, fols. 47r–48r, 8 June 1358.
50 ADBR 3B 808, fols. 290r–303v, case opened 28 Nov. 1342.
51 ADBR 3B 19, fols. 11r–20v, case opened 23 Dec. 1325.
52 ADBR 3B 42, fols. 14r–31v, case opened 24 July 1341, in which the merchant Antoni Catalan had Johan Esteve imprisoned for debt; ADBR 3B 29, fols. 75r–79r, case opened 19 July 1334, in which a merchant from Narbonne was imprisoned in Marseille at the behest of another Narbonnais merchant; for the wine-seller, see ADBR 3B 37, fols. 264r–269r, case opened May or June 1339 (date illegible).
53 ADBR 3B 57, fols. 2r–19v, case opened 8 Oct. 1354.
54 ADBR 3B 30, fols. 3r–8v, case opened 18 Mar. 1335.
55 ADBR 355E 10, fol. 38v, 14 Aug. 1359, shows how oathswearers could help get people released from jail; in 355E 10, fol. 18v, 8 May 1359, a woman stands surety for her husband in jail for debt.
56 ASL PdL 33, fol. 101r, and following.
57 ASL, Opera di Santa Croce 9, fols. 148r–155r.
58 The florin, at this time, was being exchanged for 69 Lucchese shillings, and a staria of wheat cost around 12½ Lucchese shillings. I do not yet have price data on some of the other commodities listed in the register.
59 I have yet to discover a record from Lucca that records the fees.
60 ADBR 3B 822, fol. 75r, case opened 24 Nov. 1357 on fol. 67r.
61 ASL, Camarlingo Generale 15, fol. 196r: Titulus pecunie percepte de proventu carcerarum.
62 ASL, Camarlingo Generale 4, fols. 94r–114r.
63 Records of the criminal court of the Podestà suggest that two-thirds of the cases resulted in convictions, indicating an annual total of around 250 criminal inquests during the 1330s.
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65 One of the most common registers found in the records of the Lucchese courts was one entitled Liber reclamorum, or “Book of claims.”
66 ASL PdL 79, fols. 90r–91r.
68 See ASL, Curia Nuova di Giustizia e dell'Esecutore, 32. Fol. 25r of this register records an act of intesimentum with a marginal notice of predation. The formal record of the predation appears on fol. 101r.
69 Ibid.: (the marginal notes are heavily abbreviated): P[reda] l[evata] e[st] d[ie] p[rima] Marcii in libris decem d[enariorum] et expensis et sic p[ro]n[unciata] per jud[icem].
70 For example, ASL, Curia dei Rettori 11, p. 290: Et publice et alta voce ad domum eius habitationis et per dictam contratam in vicinia publice et alta voce cum proclamatione dicti nuncii et tunc in dictis locis eidem Johanni locasse.
71 ADBR 3B 145, fols. 97v, case opened 17 June 1405 on fol. 94r.
72 ASL, Curia dei Visconti o dei Gastaldioni 24, fol. 54r.
73 ADBR 3B 859, fol. 133r, case opened 26 Apr. 1408 on fol. 105r.
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75 Regrettably, such records are relatively uncommon; further research may turn up more.
76 ASL PdL 33, fol. 137r.
77 A record of the Curia di San Christoforo from 1315 shows that court costs for predation were fixed at one penny for every 60d., or 1.67 percent. See the list of court receipts in ASL, Curia di San Christoforo 24, fol. 42r ff. Later in the century, court costs grew to 4 or 5 percent.
78 Paolo Grillo, “Indebitamento, giustizia e politica nella Lombardia comunale (fine XII-prima metà del XIII secolo),” in Claustre, ed., La dette, 169–85, here 183–84.
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82 Andrews, Law, Magistracy, and Crime, 309.