By Timothy S. Jones
Drawing on new historicist rules, this publication examines literary and old narratives, felony statutes and files, sermons, lyric poetry, and biblical exegesis circulating in England among the 11th and 16th centuries. Timothy Scott Jones theorizes the determine of the outlaw in medieval England and uncovers the criminal, moral, and social assumptions that underlie the perform of outlawry.
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Extra info for Outlawry in Medieval Literature (The New Middle Ages)
81 The wolf may be reclaimed, however, as a powerful if not entirely positive image for the outlaw. In the Gesta Herewardi the band of outlaws becomes lost on a stormy night in the fen lands and they follow a white dog that mysteriously appears before them on the track. 82 This incident immediately follows Hereward’s sack of Peterborough and a dream in which Saint Peter admonishes him to return the stolen property, which he promptly does. The two events may be associated in the text simply on account of their supernatural content, but the assistance offered by the uncanny guide appears to come as a reward for Hereward’s obedience, and the choice of a wolf that is not what it appears to be suggests that the outlaws too may not be what they appear.
36 Flyman or flieman is used to describe several conditions. Flieman, the preferred spelling in texts such as Alfred’s translation of Orosius’s Historia Adversum Paganos and the Winchester (A) manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, most often means “to put to f light” and describes the outcome of battles. ”37 The same is true of the more popular spelling, flyman, which is used in the other Chronicle manuscripts, and describes such events as the exile of St. 39 Liebermann identified several other Anglo-Saxon terms that he took to indicate outlawry, including the expressions fah wið ðone cyng [enemy of the king], ðolige .
As the legal authority of the state grew, the potential for errant punishment in this system was recognized and the procedure became more precise. Indeed, from the Lex Salica on, one of the reasons for allowing a man three, then four, and eventually five opportunities to respond to a summons was that he might be away on a journey, ill, or otherwise indisposed and so unable to respond to the charges and defend himself. Æthelstan, who drew an especially hard line on theft, declared in his Thunderfield code that a thief who f lees is to be pursued and killed by everyone who wants to carry out the king’s will (“prosequatur eum omnis homo super vitam suam qui velit quod rex, et occidat eum cui obviabit”).
Outlawry in Medieval Literature (The New Middle Ages) by Timothy S. Jones