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Dixit Quod Non Recordatur: Memory As Proof In Inquisitorial Trials (Early Fourteenth-Century France)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on memory as a field of tension and conflict, and as a cultural clash between the inquisitor and the accused. Leaving aside a reconstruction of the remembrances of the accused, it highlights the strains and pressures affecting the selection of memories, and determines how certain items surfaced instead of others, under the duplex and opposed mechanisms set in motion by the judge and the defendant. The transformation of oral confessions into written records in Latin and the cultural distance between the individuals involved in the trial had a direct influence on the outcome of memories. The chapter also highlights the use of memory and its counterpart, forgetfulness, as a deliberate strategy of dissimulation and concealment recurrently employed by the accused. It discusses some of the characteristics of what suspected heretics recalled in front of the judges, taking into consideration the meaning of their words for judicial procedure.

Keywords: heretics; inquisitor; oral confessions



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