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2 To Have and To Take: Property Crimes

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Chapter Summary

Issues concerning ownership and the managing of property take up a large part of Swedish medieval law. This chapter deals with various types of property crime: theft, robbery, larceny, unlawful use of another's property, and vandalism. Present-day definitions of these crimes correspond to medieval ones to a certain extent; however, there are important differences that should be kept in mind. The chapter illustrates that all property crime regulations, not just theft and robbery, show attempts to define and understand the intent behind an action. It discusses the requisites for certain property crimes in some detail, in particular whether the use of force was a necessary requisite for robbery. The chapter strengthens the argument that the legislation is aimed at entire households represented by 'the peasant' and explores how these 'peasants' were thought to interact and shows that honour was connected to one's property.

Keywords: crime; medieval law; peasant; property crime regulations; robbery; vandalism



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