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Contumacy, Defense Strategy, and Criminal Law in Late Medieval Italy


It is easy to imagine that on this early morning in 1395, Antonius, realizing the magnitude of his actions, had little time to fabricate a defense or construct a plan. In late fourteenth-century Reggio Emilia, flight was often the most desirable path open to those suspected of perpetrating felonies. Subsequent witnesses in this murder investigation speculated that Antonius fled the territory of the Villa de Vetto before the first light of day less to evade the law than to avoid the wrath of Caterina's relatives. Propelled by the need to escape retribution, Antonius, like almost half the defendants cited by the criminal court of Reggio Emilia, fled rather than appear before the criminal judge.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Sarah Blanshei , “Crime and Law Enforcement in Medieval Bologna,” The Journal of Social History 16 (1) (Fall, 1982):121–38;

Andrea Zorzi , “The Judicial System in Florence in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” in Crime Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy, eds. Trevor Dean and Kate Lowe (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994), 49

Shona Kelly Wray , “Instruments of Concord: Making Peace and Settling Disputes through a Notary in the City and Contado of Late Medieval Bologna,” Journal of Social History 42 (3) (2009): 747

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
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