The Benefits of Peace: Private Peacemaking in Late Medieval Italy Glenn Kumhera offers the first comprehensive account of private peacemaking, weaving together its legal, religious, political and social meanings across several cities (13th-15th centuries). The ability of peacemaking to hinder criminal prosecution has often been considered the result of government powerlessness. Kumhera, however, examines the benefits of private peacemaking, detailing how its flexibility was crucial in creating a viable criminal justice system that emphasized violence prevention and recognition of jurisdiction while allowing space for friends, neighbors and clergy to intervene. Additionally, he explores the roles of women and clergy in peacemaking, how peace operated in a vendetta culture and how the medieval understanding of reconciliation affected the practice of peacemaking.
Planning for Death: Wills and Death-Related Property Arrangements in Europe, 1200-1600 analyses death-related property transfers in several European regions (England, Poland, Italy, South Tirol, and Sweden).
Laws and customary practice provided a legal framework for all post-mortem property devolution. However, personal preference and varied succession strategies meant that individuals could plan for death by various legal means. These individual legal acts could include matrimonial property arrangements (marriage contracts, morning gifts) and legal means of altering heirship by subtracting or adding heirs. Wills and testamentary practice are given special attention, while the volume also discusses the timing of the legal acts, suggesting that while some people made careful and timely arrangements, others only reacted to sudden events.
Contributors are Christian Hagen, R.H. Helmholz, Mia Korpiola, Anu Lahtinen, Marko Lamberg, Margareth Lanzinger, Janine Maegraith, Federica Masè, Anthony Musson, Tuula Rantala, Elsa Trolle Önnerfors, and Jakub Wysmułek.
A Punishment for Each Criminal is the first in-depth analysis of how gender influenced Swedish medieval law. Christine Ekholst demonstrates how the law codes gradually and unevenly introduced women as possible perpetrators for all serious crimes. The laws reveal that legislators not only expected men and women to commit different types of crimes; they also punished men and women in different ways if they were convicted. The laws consistently stipulated different methods of executions for men and women; while men were hanged or broken on the wheel, women were buried alive, stoned, or burned at the stake.
A Punishment for Each Criminal explores the background to the important legislative changes that took place when women were made personally responsible for their own crimes.