Crime and Punishment in Georgian Britain

From gruesome, public executions to Georgian Britain’s adoration of the ‘heroic’ highwayman, the author investigates attitudes to crime and punishment in Georgian Britain. Introduction Throughout this period many people viewed criminals and law breaking as heroic and courageous, and the activities of robbers and villains were often widely celebrated in popular culture. Stories of daring[…]

The Mamertine Prison: Ancient Rome’s Tullianum

The prison was constructed around 640–616 BCE, by Ancus Marcius. Introduction The Mamertine Prison (Italian: Carcere Mamertino), in antiquity the Tullianum, was a prison (carcer) located in the Comitium in ancient Rome. It was situated on the northeastern slope of the Capitoline Hill, facing the Curia and the imperial fora of Nerva, Vespasian, and Augustus. Located between it and the Tabularium (record house)[…]

Draco’s Law Code in Ancient Athens

The laws aided and legitimized the political power of the aristocracy and allowed them to consolidate their control of the land and poor. By Antonios Loizides Introduction Draco was an aristocrat who in 7th century BCE Athens was handed the task of composing a new body of laws. We have no particular clues concerning his[…]

Fook Shing: Colonial Victoria’s Chinese Detective

Fook Shing spent 20 years as a Melbourne gumshoe. He policed the thriving Chinese community – claiming opium as an expense – but was never promoted above his entry rank of detective third class. On July 25 1882, Inspector Frederick Secretan, the head of Victoria Police’s Detective Branch, shifted uncomfortably in his seat. In the[…]

Edmund Randolph: First Attorney General of the United States

Edmund Randolph was the seventh Governor of Virginia, the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General. Introduction Randolph was born on August 10, 1753 to the influential Randolph family in Williamsburg in the Colony of Virginia. He was educated at the College of William and Mary. After graduation he began reading law with his father John Randolph and uncle, Peyton Randolph.[…]

“Woe Unto Those Who Know Not How to Syllabificate”: The Languages of Medieval Law

Lawyers spoke their own language, even in the Middle Ages. When John of Salisbury (ca. 1115-1180) decried the dishonesty of lawyers in his Policraticus, he targeted the incomprehensibility of their legalese, complaining that “they snare simple men in nets of impenetrable jargon … ‘Woe unto those who know not how to syllabificate.’”[1] The sentiment expressed by John[…]

Female Litigants and Customary Law in Northern Burgundy, 1560-1610

Early modern women were subjected to multiple realms of authority in both the private and public spheres. By Taryn McMillanFreelance WriterMcMaster University It was the spring of 1596 and Jehanne Petit, a young widow, ventured to the local bailliage (bailiwick) court to request a greater share of her first husband’s wealth. In the sleepy village of Châtillon-sur-Seine,[…]

Patronage, Politics, and the “Rule of Law” in Early Modern France

The law’s “brooding presence” was very real to political actors in early modern France. Old Regime France, David Bell has observed, was a “judicial society” where “the experiences of the law courts were central to the way in which political action was conceptualized.”[1] Theorists distinguished the king’s “absolute power” from the rule of a tyrant by[…]

Punishment in Ancient Athens

Athenians preferred to memorialize punishments for eternity. By Dr. Danielle S. AllenJames Conant Bryan University Professor of Political TheoryUniversity of Harvard Here we can no longer avoid turning to the gory details. I will begin with a simple list of the penalties imposed in Athens, say a few words about the most interesting penalties, and[…]

The Medieval Law Merchant: The Tyranny of a Construct

Medieval commerce had little space for a specialized law, and merchants had little need for it. Abstract The story of a medieval law merchant has a strong hold on scholars interested in private ordering. Despite numerous historical works demonstrating the falsity of the myth, it continues to be discussed regularly in scholarship as if it[…]

Perspectives on Translating Medieval Law: The Norwegian Landslov of 1274

Strategies in translating the first national law-code of Norway, the Landslov from 1274, into English. Abstract This paper demonstrates strategies in translating the first national law-code of Norway, the Landslov from 1274, into English. One can argue the need to have Old Norwegian law in English to make it more accessible. To ensure that a[…]

Early Medieval Law: De Minimis Non Curat Lex

Two powerful and often conflicting legal systems had emerged. Early Development When the Germanic tribes entered the lands of the Western Roman empire, they brought many of their customs and traditions with them, among them being those customs and traditions that comprised their system of justice. The bases of those systems among the various peoples[…]

Thomas Aquinas and the Shape of Law

Recovering a more capacious social topology from the Thomist theology that modern Western philosophy supplanted. Titled Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Care(University of Nebraska Press, July 2018) my recent book develops the insights of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for critical theory and aesthetics. While the modern Liberal imagination treats money as a finite, private and[…]