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Seeing Justice DoneThe Age of Spectacular Capital Punishment in France$
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Paul Friedland

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199592692

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592692.001.0001

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The Execution of Justice

The Execution of Justice

The Ritual of Punishment in Medieval and Early Modern France

(p.89) 4The Execution of Justice
Seeing Justice Done

Paul Friedland

Oxford University Press

At the turn of the fifteenth century, with the introduction of mandatory confession by a Catholic priest in all cases of capital punishment, a common penal ritual developed with decidedly religious overtones. Part public shaming, part ritual expulsion, and part Passion Play, executions in France were very much the product of France's penal history, combining elements of Roman exemplary deterrence with atonement and compensation. The endurance of various types of execution with little or no deterrent function—the trial and punishment of animals, cadavers and effigies—reveals the extent to which the theory and practice of capital punishment were drawn from different cultural influences and frequently functioned at cross purposes.

Keywords:   capital punishment, penal ritual, public shaming, ritual expulsion, Passion Play, exemplary deterrence, atonement, punishment of animals, effigies

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