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Chapter 2, “The Killing Years,” explains the two-wave Nazi police genocide against the intelligentsia in 1939–1940, its fallout, and how these initial killing campaigns shaped the Nazi German occupation administration for Poland. German anti-intelligentsia campaigning was bloody but ultimately drove the resistance it attempted to thwart. The first campaign, codenamed Operation Tannenberg, was coordinated with the military campaign in 1939 but delayed in Warsaw because of the siege. Tannenberg went awry and was complicated by the circumstances of the invasion and incoming occupation. After Nazi Germany established a civilian occupation under general governor Hans Frank, Frank revived anti-intelligentsia killing with his new campaign, the Extraordinary Pacification Action (AB-Aktion). This campaign’s violence shocked Poles and provoked the resistance it was intended to achieve. This chapter argues that the two Nazi genocidal campaigns failed but shaped the nature of Nazi occupation administration, and encouraged the first violent Polish resistance in response.
The fourth chapter offers an extended conclusion that examines an international controversy ignited by the guillotine that revolved around the relationship between cognition and sensation, the evidentiary authority of bodily experience, and the limitations of human perception. It argues that the works of Fuseli, Girodet, and de Loutherbourg point to the radical remapping of an Enlightenment empirical framework that used the human body as a privileged source of knowledge. The controversies that circulated around the guillotine heralded, instead, a world in which “appearance” and “truth,” “seeing” and “knowing,” were radically decoupled – a world where scientists began removing direct sensory observation from their experimental procedures and where the idealized nude body no longer stabilized pictorial meaning. It proposes that this shift had significant implications for the epistemological status of experience for Romanticism, more broadly.
Excavations at Knobb's Farm, Somersham, Cambridgeshire, uncovered three small late Roman cemeteries, positioned at the edge of a farming settlement. The 52 burials found included 17 decapitated bodies and 13 prone burials – far higher than the British average. In two cases, cut marks show decapitation to have been the mechanism of death, and cuts on two other bodies indicate they experienced extreme violence. We conclude that the decapitations were the result of judicial execution. The significance of the prone burials is less clear, but it is demonstrably related to decapitation. Supplementary material is available online (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068113X21000064) and comprises a detailed osteological report and skeleton catalogue, specialist reports, DNA and isotopic analyses, and a complete description of the settlement's development.
During France’s turbulent ‘revolutionary century’ after 1780, historians of collective protest such as Charles Tilly and George Rudé have highlighted a crucial transformation in forms of collective protest after the mid-nineteenth century. From ‘reactive’ violence against new intrusions of the state and capitalism, food and anti-tax riots, to ‘proactive’ mobilisations through unions, election campaigns, strikes and demonstrations, these new tactics instead sought to gain influence and control over national institutions. This chapter uses several case-studies, ranging from the murder of royal officials in July 1789 to the protracted torture and burning of a noble in southwestern France in 1870, to question elements of this model. First, the transformation discerned by Tilly was neither sharp nor complete, and ‘proactive’ protest was already well in evidence at the time of the French Revolution. Second, a focus on the causes and types of violent collective behaviour has failed to analyse adequately the actual practice of violence, particularly the place of humiliation and the meanings of decapitation. Finally, however, we stress that insurgent crowds always tended towards verbal and symbolic violence – the use of threatening language, occasional destruction of property, and ritualistic action – that channelled violence within cultural limits.
Chapter 2 is a detailed examination of three scenes that target the most brutal form of epic mistreatment: decapitation and further abuses aimed at the severed head. The first section analyses the death and abuse of Pompey in Lucan’s BC 8. It turns next to abuses in the second half of Statius’ Thebaid: first Tydeus’ cannibalizing of Melanippus’ head in book 8, and second the Thebans’ abuse of Tydeus’ own corpse in book 9. The last section treats the decapitation of the Carthaginian general’s ally Asbyte by Theron in Silius’ Punica 2, and Hannibal’s subsequent abuse of Theron’s corpse in retaliation for Theron’s slaying of Asbyte. These scenes are all built explicitly upon model scenes in the Iliad and Aeneid which the later epicists have infused with post mortem abuse and grotesquery either ignored or only insinuated in the earlier poems. Through consideration of the ways in which Lucan, Statius, and Silius expand upon their models, this chapter offers a vivid glimpse into the evolution of the motif of corpse mistreatment from the ‘classic’ texts of Homer and Virgil, who had sought (in unique ways) to set a limit on the level of violence congruent with the world of epic.
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