Medieval Cruelty: Varieties of Perception from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Medieval Cruelty: Varieties of Perception from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

by Daniel Baraz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801438179

ISBN-13: 9780801438172

Pub. Date: 03/28/2003

Publisher: Cornell University Press

The Middle Ages are often thought of as an era during which cruelty was a major aspect of life, a view that stems from the anti-Catholic polemics of the Reformation. Daniel Baraz makes the striking discovery that the concept of cruelty, which had been an important issue in late antiquity, received little attention in the medieval period before the thirteenth century.…  See more details below

Overview

The Middle Ages are often thought of as an era during which cruelty was a major aspect of life, a view that stems from the anti-Catholic polemics of the Reformation. Daniel Baraz makes the striking discovery that the concept of cruelty, which had been an important issue in late antiquity, received little attention in the medieval period before the thirteenth century. From that point on, interest in cruelty increased until it reached a peak late in the sixteenth century.Medieval Cruelty's extraordinary scope ranges from the writings of Seneca to those of Montaigne and draws from sources that include the views of Western Christians, Eastern Christians, and Muslims. Baraz examines the development of the concept of cruelty in legal texts, philosophical treatises, and other works that attempt to discuss the nature of cruelty. He then considers histories, martyrdom accounts, and literary works in which cruelty is represented rather than discussed directly. In the wake of the intellectual transformations of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, an increasing focus on the intentions motivating an individual's acts rekindled the discussion of cruelty. Baraz shows how ethical thought and practice about cruelty, which initially focused on external forces, became a tool to differentiate internal groups and justify violence against them. This process is evident in attacks on the Jews, in the peasant rebellions of the later Middle Ages, and in the Wars of Religion.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801438172
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2003
Series:
Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Abbreviationsxi
Introduction1
Chapter 1Speculating on Cruelty, from Seneca to Montaigne13
Chapter 2Late Antiquity--The Building Blocks of a Discourse29
Chapter 3The Early Middle Ages--An Age of Silence?47
Chapter 4The Central Middle Ages--A Renaissance of Cruelty75
Chapter 5The Late Middle Ages--Manipulated Images and Structured Emotions123
Chapter 6The Early Modern Period--Cruelty Transformed143
Conclusion177
Appendixes181
Glossary of Latin Terms209
Selected Bibliography211
Index221

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