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Suicide in the Middle AgesVolume ii: The Curse on Self-Murder$
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Alexander Murray

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207313.001.0001

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The Body

The Body

(p.10) 1 The Body
Suicide in the Middle Ages

Alexander Murray

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines what people did after discovering a suicide, focusing on the corpse or the body. Whatever was done with the body had to be done with speed. Instant burials of suicides sometimes got local officials into trouble, and hence into the records, higher up the hierarchy. Although their motive may sometimes have been subterfuge, it was more often just public health: they wanted the body buried. The discussion cites some ways in which the corpse is handled or disposed through extraction, transport, hanging and mutilation, the barrel and the river, and other forms of profane burial.

Keywords:   corpse, body, extraction, transport, hanging, mutilation, barrel, river, profane burial

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