In contrast to the assertion of secular power over European monastic institutions, Japanese monasteries emerged in the medieval period as autonomous institutions, their combined temporal and spiritual authority supporting a complex and extensive manorial system. In a decentralised and fragmenting state, the interests of great temples such as Kōyasan were often in conflict with local lordship. This paper examines the role and symbolism of crime as a form of social interaction, a ritualization of the conflict for local control. It considers the function and nature of crime and the significance of the authority to judge transgression.
The nunnery of San Sisto in Piacenza was founded in 877 by Angilberga, widow of Louis II of Italy, who endowed it with lavish estates in the region, and also ensured that the community would have both papal and imperial support. In spite of this powerful patronage, the monastery was involved in a series of conflicts over its possessions until well into the 11th century. This paper will consider these disputes, and focus especially on the way the community used the status of its royal founder and its close connection to the papacy to end, and usually win, these disputes – either in a public court or mediated by a royal missus – in a way that was notably different from the settlements reached by their peers.