The Consumption of Justice
Emotions, Publicity, and Legal Culture in Marseille, 1264–1423
Publication Year: 2013
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the ideas and practices of justice in Europe underwent significant change as procedures were transformed and criminal and civil caseloads grew apace. Drawing on the rich judicial records of Marseille from the years 1264 to 1423, especially records of civil litigation, this book approaches the courts of law from the perspective of the users of the courts (the consumers of justice) and explains why men and women chose to invest resources in the law.
Daniel Lord Smail shows that the courts were quickly adopted as a public stage on which litigants could take revenge on their enemies. Even as the new legal system served the interest of royal or communal authority, it also provided the consumers of justice with a way to broadcast their hatreds and social sanctions to a wider audience and negotiate their own community standing in the process. The emotions that had driven bloodfeuds and other forms of customary vengeance thus never went away, and instead were fully incorporated into the new procedures.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Download PDF (99.6 KB)
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (30.1 KB)
Download PDF (11.5 KB)
List of Tables
Download PDF (13.3 KB)
Download PDF (41.5 KB)
Lawsuits are much the same the world over: underneath the tedious procedures, masked by the legal form demanded by the law, lie enmity, spite, aggravation, and the desire to avenge. Reading lawsuits leaves one with a rather jaundiced view of humankind. This opportunity to acknowledge all the assistance that made this book possible, therefore, is a happy occasion to ...
List of Abbreviations
Download PDF (10.7 KB)
A Note on Usage
Download PDF (34.8 KB)
The vernacular language of late medieval Marseille was a form of Proven~al that incorporated a number of loan words from Latin and French. Latin was the most common language of record, though notaries of the court sometimes chose to leave insults and certain phrases in witness testimony in the vernacular. Wherever possible, I have translated names ...
Download PDF (584.2 KB)
Come to terms with thy opponent quickly while thou art with him on the way; lest thy opponent deliver thee to the judge, and the judge to the offi cer, and thou be cast into prison. Amen I say to thee, thou wilt not come T roubles began for the shoemaker Antoni d'Ays in the early 1330s when his wife, Douselina, left him and left Marseille too. 1 Several years after her departure, at An toni's prompting, the judge of the palace court wrote a stern letter ordering her to return to her husband. She, or someone writing ...
1. Using The Courts
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
U ntil 1348, Marseille consisted of three politically dis tinct jurisdictions, namely the upper or episcopal city, the small jurisdiction known as the Praepositura that surrounded the cathedral of La Major, and the lower or viscountal city. In the late twelfth century, the lower city began to emancipate itself from the control of the viscounts of Marseille, a process more or less complete by 1220. In the course of its political elaboration the commune almost certainly incorporated elements of Roman law. 1 Although ...
2. Structures of Hatred
Download PDF (847.6 KB)
I f love and friendship formed the warp of Marseille's basic social fabric, hatred and animosity supplied the woof. Such competitive tension is built into all societies. 1 "Groups are in competition with one another for power and resources," Sally Falk Moore remarks, "and individuals likewise compete with one an other for valued social positions and goods. These competitions can be long-term or short-term, cool, smoldering, or flaming, but they are always in the background."2 Bloodfeuds, raids, bloody brawls, insults: these are in ...
3. The Pursuit of Debt
Download PDF (542.3 KB)
Economics and enmities often generate overlapping meta phorical fields. In many human societies, the bloodfeud and the vendetta, as sets of exchanges between two par ties, are metaphorically configured according to the lan-guage and practice of the gift and the counter-gift. "Gifts have been given to you, father and sons alike," remarks Bergthora of Njal's Saga to her sons, speaking of a grievous insult, "and you would scarcely be men if you did not repay them."! The gift exchange involves more than just the thing being ex ...
4. Bony and Bona
Download PDF (919.3 KB)
T he system of coercion and sanction as it was practiced in fourteenth-century Marseille was built around the simple principle that whereas people were mobile their property was not. It was easy for a person to escape the law. Outside the walls of the city, the jurisdiction of the courts ended at the fuzzy boundary between the city's territory and the world beyond. Inside the walls, jurisdiction ended abruptly at the threshold separating the secular space of street and plaza from the ecclesiastical space of church and monas ...
5. The Public Archive
Download PDF (648.2 KB)
Judges of Marseille's court of inquest went to great lengths to uncover the facts in cases of homicide and serious assault. They conducted preliminary interviews in an effort to iden tify the likely suspect, fingered the blades used, and took the depositions of expert medical witnesses. The facts in place, judges then em bedded them in a convincing storyline: "Mathea Sadaroni, a Catalan of Barcelona, was a friend of Maya de Anycellis, and she lived with her in the house of Druda de Lingris, one of the suspects, which is located in the Pros ...
Download PDF (82.6 KB)
T o adopt the perspective of the user of the courts of law in late medieval Europe is to see aspects of the medieval practice of law that one normally does not see. The role of emotions in records of civil litigation and criminal prosecution from late medieval Marseille is a case in point. On the whole, procedural manuals and other normative legal sources such as law codes and statutes have little to say about the emotions, and the normal bureaucratic practice of eliding emotions from all types of records more or less ensures that ...
Appendix: The Nature and Format of the Record
Download PDF (208.1 KB)
The archives of the city of Marseille hold a remarkable series of judicial registers from the city's secular courts during the later middle ages. Though most of the original registers have perished, enough have survived for us to be able to extrapolate the original size of court caseloads. Over the course...
Download PDF (291.1 KB)
Download PDF (165.0 KB)
Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past