Three decades ago, John Langbein published an influential book on medieval and early modern judicial torture. Before Langbein, Enlightenment philosophers such as Beccaria and Voltaire had traditionally been credited with the final abolition of judicial torture in the leading European states during the latter part of the eighteenth century. Langbein dismissed the traditional explanation as a “fairy tale,” claiming that the use of torture had in fact declined in major European countries since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, well before its formal abolition. In the medieval statutory or Roman-canon theory of proof, judicial torture was originally designed to produce confessions in cases of serious crime in which “full proof” in the form of confession or two eyewitnesses was needed to convict. The argument that Langbein advanced is that the emerging new modes of punishment for serious crime, such as forced labor, transportation, and imprisonment, enabled European criminal courts to take full advantage of the medieval legal institution of extraordinary punishment, poena extraordinaria, which could be imposed without confession if the evidence was otherwise convincing. Extraordinary punishment was by definition something else than the ordinary punishment, usually less than capital punishment. In practice this meant milder punishment on less evidence. Langbein's pivotal point is that the rise of the extraordinary punishment rendered torture unnecessary in many cases, although it still remained legal. Causing a revolution in the law of proof, free judicial evaluation of evidence thus in fact developed alongside the old statutory theory of proof, which now lost its monopoly.