Crime and Punishment c.AD 50- c. 1350

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What is a hierarchical system of government?
Where different people have power over other e.g. A rich person has power over the working class
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Who was at the top and bottom of Roman society?
The top of society were the wealthily families and at the bottom were slaves.
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What is a patriarchal society?
Where men had power over women
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What was the most common crime during the Roman era?
Theft and robbery
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Why was there no police force in the Roman Empire?
The Roman believed in harsh punishments as deterrence and people would arrest criminals themselves and take them to the authorities.
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What was Roman law based upon?
The right of every person know what the laws were, someone could defend themselves, innocent until proven guilty, evidence in court and a fair trail.
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Why did Romans carve laws into metal?
So that it would last longer than paper and so it couldn't be changed easily.
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Which was the first Roman law to be broken by the governors?
They didn't give people fair trails.
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What did the Roman bring to Britain for the first time?
A legal system
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Who was responsible for controlling Britain?
The army
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Why did the law depend on who you were?
If you were higher class the law didn't matter to you as much
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What were prisons used for in Roman Britain?
To await your punishment
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How was small-scale theft dealt with?
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How were those who threatened the authority of those in power dealt with?
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Why did people pay compensation and how was it unfair?
If you injured someone, it was unfair because the higher class someone was the more you had to pay e.g. 300 asses for a freeman but 150 assess for a slave
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What was lost as a result of the collapse of the Roman Empire?
A unified system of law and order
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Where did the Angles, Saxons and Jutes originally come from?
North Germany
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How was the Anglo-Saxon law different from the Roman law?
There were several systems of law and order
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Why did it get more complicated when the Vikings and the establishment of the Danelaw arrive?
Because they had their own laws.
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Why did the Anglo-Saxons place such emphasis on family?
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How did family affect punishment of criminals?
Family stuck together to support their own kin
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What is the concept of a Blood Feud?
When three generations of a family were killed but if a family hurt you, you could hurt them back.
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Why was Blood Feud unfair on smaller families?
Because it could stop a family name from being passed on.
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What was a Hundred?
An area equivalent to 100 peasant farms e.g. a Parish
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What was a tithing?
A group of 10 males
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How did a tithing work?
If one man committed a crime then it was his tithings job to make sure he went to court or paid his fine.
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What was hue and cry?
When the Hundred chased a criminal to convict them.
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Who was the most important figure to uphold the law?
The King
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What was the Kings Peace?
The Kings Peace was kept so that this subjects could live and travel without any fear of being attacked
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Why was it important for the King to hold up law and order?
So that his subjects were safe.
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Why was Alfred the Great significant to Anglo-Saxon law and order?
He made the most important codes of law.
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Why was Anglo-Saxon law incomplete?
Because it wasn't wrote down.
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What was a wergild?
A fine paid to someone for injuring them or killing them.
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Why was a wergild unfair?
Because how much you paid depended on how important that person was.
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When did the Anglo-Saxons kings convert to Christianity?
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How did the Church bring God into law and order?
As God could decide who was innocent or guilty.
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Why was mutilation more common in later Anglo-Saxon England?
So people could repent for their sins
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What new concept was brought into law and order by the Church?
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Why was this new concept not very popular?
Because no all people believed in God
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What were the trails by ordeal?
Trials brought in by the Church to see if someone was guilty or innocent?
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What was trail by hot iron?
When the accused person had to carry a hot piece of iron for three yards in their left hand. If after three days the wound was healing without an infection they were innocent.
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What was trial by hot water?
When the accused had to place their left hand into boiling water to pick up a object. Once completed, the hand was bandaged and if after three days it began to heal without festering they were innocent.
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What was trail by cold water?
This was normally for men. Used with pure water, they were lowered into the water and if the knot and themselves were covered by the water they were innocent. Pure water as it was willing to let the innocent beneath its surface.
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What was trail by consecrated bread?
Used by priests.Priest had to pray and ask God that the bread would make them choke if he lied about his supposed crime. If he choked when eating the bread he was guilty.
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Why were these unfair?
As it was easier to not choke on bread than it was to have a burn wound start to heal after three days.
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Why did the Anglo-Saxons reject the Norman rules?
Because they were already used to their way of life and the Norman punishments were harsher than the traditional Anglo-Saxon ones.
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Why did the Normans have harsher punishments for criminals?
To use for deterrence.
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Why were harsher punishments used for commonly than financial punishments?
As it gave more power to the government.
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What aspects from the Anglo-Saxon legal system were kept with the Normans?
ines, tithings, hue and cry, roles of hundreds and trial by ordeal.
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What new trial by ordeal did the Normans introduce and why?
Trial by combat. This was introduced to demonstrate the significance of warfare in the society of the Normans.
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What is the Kings mund?
An area of land around every mans home in which peace and order should be kept.
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Why did towns seek a charter from the King?
As they wanted more freedom from the local manor court and allowed towns to set up their own borough courts.
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Why did the Normans set up the Church Courts?
So the Churches had the power to control the behaviour of their priests and the crimes against the church.
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Why was trial of ordeal ended in 1215?
As the Church believed it was wrong to ask God to intervene in worldly affairs.
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What is benefit of clergy?
Priests had to read a passage from the Bible to prove they were innocent (Priests learnt the passage off by heart)
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What is right of sanctuary?
Anyone who got to the sanctuary of the Church couldn't be arrested. If they confessed to their crime then they were allowed to leave the country.
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What was the forest laws made by William I?
30% of England would be protected by Royal forests. This meant that people could not enter them or kill anything within them (deer). This law added to the kings control, wealth (fines) and increased the kings ability to maintain law and order.
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What did the forest law stop?
Criminals from hiding in forests, killing deers or chopping down the trees in fear of mutilation, fines or death.
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Name some of the punishments from Medieval England.
Execution by hanging, mutilation (chopping off hands or pulling out an eye), fines of money or service or putting someone in the stock or the pillory as a humiliation.
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What are mitigating circumstances?
Circumstances that would change your punishment or prolong it.
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What are some of the mitigating circumstances?
Benefit of the clergy, joining the army, buying a pardon ( wealthy people with lots of money were accepted as kings were short of money), Pregnancy (can have death sentence after birth) and being a King's approver (giving evidence against others)
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Where the Middle Ages violent?
The crimes were mostly theft which were not violent however the punishment for death is execution which is violent.
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Were the Middle Ages lawless?
No they were not as every case was dealt with in the court. Mitigating circumstances were also taken into consideration.
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Myth: Medieval Kings were all powerful and dominated English society
Fact: Justice system created by Henry II depended on strength, character and ability to be a King. King not interested in law and order or was a weak king then law began to collapse (e.g. Edward II or Henry VI)
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Myth: Really strong and active Kings were good for keeping law and order
Fact: Strong could keep law and order but active kings often away on crusades e.g. Richard I (hardly ever in England), Edward I (more in Wales and Scotland fighting wars) and Henry V (died whilst on campaign in France)
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Myth: The power of the King meant everyone obeyed his will
Fact: During 14th and 15th centuries some rich and powerful families didn't obey law and will of King. Long period of conflict (War of Roses) where nobles recruited armies and fought against king. Could have regions and ignore Kings law.
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Myth: The Christian Church became more tolerant of other religions after the Crusades.
Fact: Church leaders saw any religious viewpoint other than the Roman Catholic Church as heresy which was a serious challenge to their religious authority. The King supported them in this.
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Myth: Punishment in the Christian Church Courts were much more lenient than in the royal court.
Fact: Because heresy was such a serious crime special Church Courts had the power to arrest people and torture them. If found guilty they could be killed.
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Myth: Rebellions against the King and civil war were what led to most crimes.
Fact: Most common crime was petty theft- often linked to poverty. Poverty led to breaking the forest laws which could turn them into outlaws.
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Myth: Outlaws were popular with the people because they stole from the rich.
Fact: Most outlaws stole food, clothes, animals and tools from the poor as the rich were protected by guards.
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Myth: Hanging was used more and more often in the Middle Ages.
Fact: Hanging and other forms for execution remained the most common forms but hanging was used less frequently due to the Church- more people accused of crimes were fined or even pardoned.
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Myth: Medieval people believed in harsh punishments from offenders
Fact: Judges offen criticised juries because they would not convict their friends and family. Normally only persistent offenders who were punished.
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What was the legend of Robin Hood?
That he stole from the rich to give to the poor.
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Why do you think Maid Marion has become more important in recent versions of Robin Hood?
To add romance and make it more interesting.
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Why were there several different versions of Robin Hood by the end of the Middle Ages?
As it was passed by mouth so the little details in the story were changed.
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Why would villagers be afraid of outlaws?
As they would steal from the poor as poor villagers had no protection.
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Why did priests and monks fear outlaws?
As Churches had valuable objects and lots of money and they were easy targets as they didn't carry any weapons.
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How may the Robin Hood legend not be true?
Outlaws were feared as they stole from the poor or Churches, not from the rich as they had protection.
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Why was the threat of outlaws worse after the Black Death?
As people had more money due to family members dying so outlaws had more to steal than before.
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Would a Sheriff like Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood of been more likely to exist in the reign of Henry V or Henry VI?
Henry VI as he was a weak and feeble king who allowed Nobles to get away with crimes.
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How were Medieval crimes divided?
Into the seriousness of the crime
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How was stealing treated?
As if it was as bad as murder or ****.
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Who did the Church Courts deal with?
Priests, monks and nuns.
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What type of court dealt with minor crimes?
Manor Courts.
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What were Medieval prisons used for?
To hold people awaiting their trials.
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What did Medieval judges believe they had to power to do which was given by God?
Kill or set free.
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Only what type of men could appear in Royal Courts?
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Women were only allowed to go to court under what circumstances?
If her husband died in her arms or if she was *****.
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What age did you have to be over in order to be executed?
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Why did the civil war weaken the local government?
Taxes increased causing more poverty which caused more stealing.
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Why might thieves want to use cover by roads?
To jump out at people to steal items or so they could hide.
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What was the main draw back of the tithing system?
All the men would be friends or family.
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Why might witness by neighbours be ineffective?
As all the neighbours would know each other so they would say against someone being guilty.
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Card 2


Who was at the top and bottom of Roman society?


The top of society were the wealthily families and at the bottom were slaves.

Card 3


What is a patriarchal society?


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Card 4


What was the most common crime during the Roman era?


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Card 5


Why was there no police force in the Roman Empire?


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