Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4rdrl Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-20T02:50:21.670Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

20 - Violence and Justice in Europe: Punishment, Torture and Execution

from Part IV - The State, Punishment and Justice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2020

Robert Antony
Affiliation:
Guangzhou University
Stuart Carroll
Affiliation:
University of York
Caroline Dodds Pennock
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Get access

Summary

The practice of criminal justice in western and central Europe was more violent between 1400 and 1600 than before or afterwards, but sensational propaganda produced during this period exaggerates the prevalence of torture and execution. Many criminals evaded justice altogether and most defendants who were caught and brought to trial were subject to quick and relatively merciful justice. Fines, short prison sentences and banishment were far more commonplace than brutally painful execution rituals. As early as the seventeenth century, the practice of both torture and execution declined, the result of changes in Christianity, the growing confidence of secular states, and concerns that inflicting pain was inherently abusive. Enlightenment authors such as Voltaire and Beccaria, who insisted on judicial reform in the late eighteenth century, grossly distorted the actual practice of criminal justice in their own era in ways that have allowed historians to assume that criminal justice in the pre-modern period was more violent than it actually was.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Bibliographic Essay

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×