Divine justice, also known as "god's ruling", was a judicial procedure and a way of deciding whether a suspect was guilty or not by the will of god in the middle ages. The defendant accepts the judgment of god; And both parties together to accept god's ruling, mainly refers to the judicial duel. Judicial duel is a popular form of divine justice in the late middle ages.
The study of divine law in England dates back at least to the middle of the 19th century. In 1866, Henry lee published superstition and force: on oath, judicial dueling, divine judgment, and torture. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the study of divine law reappeared in hot spots. Among them, Robert bartlett's "the law of god in the middle ages" has a wide range of influence. It USES a variety of written materials, and puts forward unique views on the origin, function and reasons for the abandonment of the law of god. The scope of discussion covers Europe, involving both men and women. In the 21st century, its citation rate is still in the forefront of the academic community. After the previous, many related works, such as Peter brown's society with supernatural: changes in the middle ages, Rebecca kelemen paper in the middle of rational and irrational, Paul higham, the evidence message god: early common law, theory of English law and custom, Charlie reading the superstition to science: nature, luck and trial by etc. They echo, or debate, or find new ways. For example, in his works, reading repeatedly stressed the European situation of the implementation and final abolition of divine law, such as the construction of law schools since the 11th century, the maturity of the public's rational concept, and the supration of criticism of the trial law. This contradicts many of bartlett's statements and is part of a minority argument. They form a landscape of historical debate. In particular, some works reveal information about the precocity of the English legal system, which is helpful for us to understand the evolution of the English legal system in the middle ages and the early development of the English nation.
In China, the study of divine law has produced fruitful results, mostly focusing on the legal ACTS of ethnic minorities. A few years ago, there were graduate students in world history who wrote about this, but like bartlett's work above, they mostly studied the divine law of the whole of Europe or Western Europe, covering a wide range. This article intends to make a little analysis of the English divine law, focusing on the analysis of the origin, types, implementation and abolition of the British divine law in the 11th to 13th century. The improper place, asks each colleague to advise.
Some writings on the history of divine law in England date from the Norman conquest, but this does not mean that divine law began after 1066. As early as Anglo-Saxon times, there were cases of the adoption of divine law in Britain, which originated from the continent of Europe. The law of god in Europe dates back to the early 6th century, when the frankish god of boiling water passed to other Germanic tribes and then to England. In the early 19th century, some scholars believed that the law of water and fire in England was first mentioned by the code of inna. There are also writings that date the early use of divine law to the time of the nations between 628 and 727. The two views are much the same. In the reign of ethelred in the 980s, the two divine laws -- fire and water -- became popular and became known as the "important judgments", in which the law of fire was imposed on persons of free standing and the law of water was applied to serfs and peasants. What's more, it was the bishops who were supposed to oversee the application of the divine law, the priestly law of notarbury, which imposed fines on incompetent clergy. In that case, god is both judge and jury.
Divine law has two functions for its long - term implementation. First, the function of punishment: the purpose of medieval punishment was to punish the perpetrators to a large extent through severe pain, so as to express public anger and to create shock and warning effect. Divine law is a painful way to learn from god, to discover hidden truths. The following passage about the judgment of the god of hot iron showed the defendant's extreme pain. After the defendant's hands were burned with red scar, he rubbed them with grain. The judge then used a pair of tongs to hold the red-hot iron in the defendant's hand. The accused then walked slowly eight times, holding the red-hot iron in both hands. Then the judge will rub the grain on his hands, and when the latter shows no hesitation in rubbing the wound, and there is no wound, he will be acquitted at the end of the day.
Most divine law has no meaning of "presumption of innocence" or "vindication". Among them, the god of boiling water law even innocent people have to suffer from the pain of tearing heart and lungs, in fact, there is no after the event may be safe.
Another reason for the application of divine law was that torture could not be used in Britain at that time. Add the basis that accuser provides cannot be proved effectively, defendant does not agree to confess again, especially the homicide that a few cause popular anger or major loss, rob, love affair, belongings is damaged, malignant trouble to wait, if do not regard appeal divine as final remedy means, close a case hard. To be sure, pending cases can also be dealt with temporarily, but not repeatedly, otherwise the accumulation of too many cases, give the impression of judicial incompetence, both by the plaintiff complaints, but also by the king, officials and the public condemned. In this way, divine law is imperative.
The variety of divine law is difficult to describe. I have seen a book listing seven divine laws, but it is still not comprehensive. Other works disagree. The verification methods mentioned by them are as follows:
One is to swallow communion cake. It is said that when a person is a perjurer, especially in a state of fear and tension, the mouth and throat become dry, causing the throat to become blocked and difficult to swallow.
A similar law also applies to swallowing bread. The priest asked the man to swallow an ounce of dry bread or an ounce of dry cheese at a time. Failure is failure. Harold's father, the earl of Kent, was accused of parricide and forced to swallow such food. He exhaled, "if I'm guilty, I'll be choked with bread! "" then he fell to the ground and died. Later analysis of the cause of death, is a long period of hunger caused by esophageal atrophy adhesion, swallowing difficulties. But at that time, people thought it was the person who offended the gods and deserved it. The case passed down as a mystery.
The accused's body was tied tightly with ropes and it was up to the clergy to determine the direction and position of the plunge, which took him to a depth of seven feet. The priest pronounced the accused innocent when he saw that he was under water. And he who does not sink is guilty of sin, not accepted by god, and condemned to defeat.
Another is the boiling water method, in which an experimenter must quickly grab a rock from boiling water without burning his or her arm. If scalded, it must be cured within the prescribed time, otherwise it is considered as a losing lawsuit.
The most popular is the god's law of hot iron. The experimenter walks a certain distance with a hot piece of iron or an iron ring. If the wound erosion, it is considered guilty, will be imposed heavy punishment, even death; His property was confiscated by the king and his estate returned to its original Lord. For misdemeanors, a fine or part of the property, deportation or exile is imposed. In some places, when the defendant is charged with a lesser charge, about 450 grams of iron are used; For heavier charges, use 5,000g of iron.
As if to prove the judgment of the god of hot iron, the defendant put a hand into a heated iron glove, and if it was not injured, it was considered innocent. There is also a suspect must walk from the flames, legs and feet do not burn the injured as a victory. A similar divine law is passed by the parties over the heads of nine red-hot plowshares. Another option is to blindfold the defendant, walk over flaming coals, and then bandage the burned wound. Three days later to check the wound, the healing of innocence, ulceration lost. Such verification is bound to work against the defendant.
In contrast to the hot iron sentence, the cold law placed the defendant in a cold place in ice and snow weather. He wore very few clothes and endured the erosion of cold air for a long time. A defendant is presumed innocent if he lives.
Other laws of god that are not commonly used include the hunger law, the thirst law, the crossing law, and the cross law. One of the law is the law is required to cross the risk of the party in the wind when the boat out to sea, to accept the test of life and death. And the law of the cross is to make two parties face the cross with open arms and stand straight, until one of them can not stand, that is a defeat.
Among the above divine judgments, the god of hot iron and the god of boiling water are the most widely used. In medieval England, the law of the hot iron was mostly used for people with the status of freeman, while the law of the boiling water was mainly used for serfs and other people with low status.
One of the main characteristics of divine law is the combination of judicial and religious institutions. The role of priests was so prominent, first because their upper and middle class were in charge of both religious power and political affairs at that time, and second because they were also feudal lords who also possessed a large amount of land, and their economic strength was comparable to that of the secular aristocracy. As early as the Anglo-Saxon period, many monasteries controlled the hundred families until they were turned into private property. For example, just before the Norman conquest, abingdon Abbey controlled the Homer hundred in Berkshire, Chester Abbey controlled the gaudeley hundred in surrey, and ramsay Abbey controlled the clark hundred in Norfolk. It is estimated that at that time about a quarter of the hundred estates in England were under the control of the clergy. In such circumstances, it is understandable that the British judiciary is often controlled and involved by the clergy.
In the eyes of later generations, there is no doubt that the judgment of god belongs to superstitious practices. It is ignorant, absurd, cruel and arbitrary. Just because it belongs to religious events, by the church father to participate in, held in the church, and given a solemn form of etiquette, with a solemn oath, permission of the religious conference, it is possible to implement.
When the divine law prevailed, it was easy for the plaintiff to get the support of the court, but hard for the defendant to refuse. If the plaintiff is kind and innocent, they will not ask for a supplementary trial. But some of the most notorious defendants, fearing that the judgment might be made against them, tried to obtain divine justice, and by some happy stroke of luck changed their fate.
In addition to judicial dueling, another irrationality of many divine laws is that in most cases, they only verify the defendant but not the plaintiff, which does not reflect the principle of justice of either, and violates the spirit of judicial neutrality and judicial independence. This is tantamount to denying that the plaintiff has the possibility of being framed, and to a large extent put the judicial personnel and the plaintiff in the same place. Innocent accused even if by chance through the verification, can only be exempted from punishment, but can not make the plaintiff lost, guilty, punished.
Another divine law that is not selective is the cold water law. Since the accused can be deemed innocent by sinking into the water, almost all of the accused can successfully pass the same without verification effectiveness. This divine law is less commonly used than the hot iron law or the boiling water law.
In the face of divine justice, the defendants were in such a desperate situation that some tried to exploit the loopholes in the legal process, or to plot points outside it. Rich defendants are best saved by the purchase of judges, priests, and witnesses. As a result, bribery before verification is common. In the law of the god of hot iron, the beneficent law enforcer tries to lower the temperature of the iron so that the person concerned can easily pass the test.
Since divine law is always administered by the clergy, there are inevitably drawbacks, in addition to superstition and absurdity. For example, in the application of divine law, the shape and weight of the iron block, the time it was burned, etc., were determined by the clergy, which also gave them the opportunity to practice favoritism. Some priests accept bribes by way of law, which allows the accused to pass easily and get off the hook.
Reading is one way for defendants who cannot afford to pay bribes to avoid disaster. Literacy and good memory have great advantages. He was pardoned by reciting a prescribed hymn. For this reason, the 51st popular hymn in the Christian world was called the "nape hymn", which led some people to keep their heads on the nape of their necks. Illiteracy and poor memory had to hate set foot on the road.
Although there are so many disadvantages of divine law and it is easy to be pooh-pooh-pooh by later generations, the existence basis and relative reasonableness of divine law should not be ignored if the various circumstances at that time are taken into account in a more comprehensive way.
The application of divine law is not subjective but based on theory. The authoritative evidence can be traced back to the biblical story of the fall of Adam, and therefore humans should be punished. God's law is the Christian creed around, trying to rely on god's "just judgment", between good and evil between right and wrong to get a fair proof. Fortunately, punishment is not revenge, but the removal of evil. Moreover, before the performance of god's judgment, the judgment was not arbitrarily and primarily determined by the ancestors, so that neither the defendant nor the plaintiff could bear the infamy without distinction. Most importantly, it avoids gratuitous and arbitrary assertions. In this way, it is a good idea for a judge to punish or be punished.
Medieval libraries kept a large number of prayers about the judicatory cases. Like: "only you can save suzanne from the false accusation"; "If he is innocent, god will pardon his life", etc.
The divine law belongs to the judicial system and is subject to the judicial procedure system. This, to some extent, prevented the powerful figures in the society, including feudal lords, from using torture to torture serfs and opponents, and objectively maintained the judicial system. If a judicial officer is found to have violated the law in administering the trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant may correct the offence or file a complaint with a higher judicial authority.
In addition, there are strict requirements for the verified. Before a person can be judged by the law of god, he or she is required by the clergy to go on a diet for three days, abstain from bread, salt and vegetables, and then solemnly declare before the public that he or she is innocent, and that he or she is willing to accept god's arbitration according to the common law. It also formally shows the sanctity and seriousness of judicial affairs and cases.
From the perspective of the implementation effect, in some places where there are fewer drawbacks, because the law of divine judgment is playing a warning role with its severity, it also makes some fools and rogues daunting and dare not easily take the law into their own hands.
It is also important that the divine law has its reasonable reason and premise. Divine justice is not only determined by the judiciary and clergy, or some of the innocent parties to the active choice. In particular, some weak people, such as the elderly women who have been wronged, and the plaintiff who is "in the wrong but in debt", can resort to judicial institutions and judicial procedures to punish the perpetrators and seek justice when the defendant is clear and lack of circumstantial evidence.