By Timothy S. Jones
Drawing on new ancient ideas, this booklet examines literary and ancient narratives, felony statutes and files, sermons, lyric poetry, and biblical exegesis circulating in medieval England so one can theorize the determine of the outlaw and discover the felony, moral, and social assumptions that underlie the perform of outlawry.
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Additional resources for Outlawry in Medieval Literature
107 Here the pirate, now named Dionides, claims, As a matter of right there is no difference between us except that he is the worse who is the more ruthless in plundering, the more contemptible in disregarding justice, and the more brazen in disregard for laws. These I f lee, but you wage war against them; I have a degree of respect for them; you f lout them. It is bad luck and financial difficulties that have made me a thief; it is intolerable pride and insatiate greed that have made the same of you.
90 St. Augustine took up this idea and expanded it in his City of God, where he divided humankind into two categories, those who live according to the law of God and those who live according to the desires of man. These are in turn pictured as the inhabitants of a City of God and a City of Man which originate with Cain and Abel: “Therefore it is recorded of Cain that he built a city, but Abel was a pilgrim, and built none. ”91 32 O U T L AW R Y I N M E D I E VA L L I T E R A T U R E This medieval understanding of Cain as an outlaw was compounded by the interpretation of Cain’s despair following his curse: “dixitque Cain ad Dominum maior est iniquitas mea quam ut veniam merear ecce dicis me hodie a facie terrae et a facie tua abscondar et ero vagus et profugus in terra omnis igitur qui invenerit me occidet me” (Genesis 4: 13,14).
So the legal historian J. G. 56 This may have been the motivation of Wulf bold if he believed that his father’s property had been unjustly, if not illegally, usurped by his stepmother. It was certainly the choice made by Fouke le fitz Waryn, a baron of the Welsh March during the reign of King John. When he was frustrated in his attempts to pursue a property claim with John, Fouke renounced his oath of fealty and took to the forest as an outlaw, fighting a guerilla war until he forced the king to concede the land.
Outlawry in Medieval Literature by Timothy S. Jones