IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1721: Rules of Punishment

Thursday 12 July 2012, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Paul R. Hyams, Department of History, Cornell University / Independent Scholar, Oxford
Paper 1721-aPenance in Ireland: Punishment or Medicine?
(Language: English)
Elaine Pereira Farrell, University College Dublin / Irish Research Council for Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS), Dublin
Index terms: Canon Law, Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Law
Paper 1721-b'Iussit orbari luminibus': The Regulation and Enactment of Blinding in the Early Carolingian Empire
(Language: English)
Megan Welton, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Index terms: Law, Political Thought

Paper -a:
In between the 6th and the 8th centuries a new Christian normative type of text were produced in Ireland. Some scholars see the penitential literature strictly as instruments of social control while others as guidance for healing broken souls. The proposal of this paper is to observe through the discourse of the penitential texts that the two interpretations are correct and not necessarily antagonist. During this period the Irish culture were suffering a fast change due to the introduction of a new religion. In this process Christianity was accommodated in the Irish culture changing it and being changed by it.

Paper -b:
This paper uncovers the origins of the practice of blinding in the early Carolingian empire, and explores the rules regulating this political and punitive act. A pope and several nobles underwent the poker in roughly forty years, yet no scholar has performed a systematic study on this topic. This paper begins by investigating how blinding entered the Carolingian political consciousness as an effective punishment. Then, it examines the rules in Carolingian leges and capitularia that governed such a gruesome tactic. Finally, I analyze the fine border between blinding as an acceptable punishment and an unjust act by combing through specific instances of blinding and their consequences for both the blinder and blinded.