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Capital Punishment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on elements that highlight the continuity within different aspects of the death penalty, from the medieval to the Early Modern period. The king and his stewards were supposed to have a monopoly on punishment, and it could possibly end with the culprits death. The relationship between outlawry and royal pardons, as expressed through the institution of landsvist, points towards the existence of the death penalty during the middle Ages. The chapter explains views on punishment as a means of purging society in order to avert Gods wrath. The Christian laws ensured that certain categories of criminals, among them those convicted of serious sexual crimes, were denied burial in the churchyard. A potential criminal had to live in fear of losing not only this life but eternal life as well.

Keywords: capital punishment; death penalty; landsvist; outlawry; sexual crime



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