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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 2822 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #195 on: February 04, 2009, 01:23:36 pm »

emperor or king. A prince, town, or community, that incurred the sentence of outlawry, lost thereby at once all liberties, privileges, and graces.

Should the sentence passed be a capital one, the count flung the halter over his head out of the in-closure of the tribunal, the schöppen spat on it, and the name of the condemned was entered in the blood-book. If the criminal was present he was instantly seized, and, according to the custom of the middle ages, when, as in the East, no disgrace was attached to the office of executioner, the task of executing him was committed to the youngest schöppe present, who forthwith hung him from the nearest tree. The quality of the criminal was duly attended to; for if he was initiated he was hung seven feet higher than any other, as being esteemed a greater criminal. If the accused was not present, all the schöppen were, as we have already described, set in pursuit of him, and wherever they caught him they hanged him without any further ceremony.

The sentence was kept a profound secret from the uninitiated. A copy of it, drawn up in the usual form, and sealed with seven seals, was given to the accuser.

We thus see that the proceedings in the Fehm-courts were strictly consonant to justice, and even leaned to the side of mercy. But this was not all: the right of appeal was also secured to the accused in case the schöppen who consulted about the verdict did not agree, or that the witnesses did not correspond in their evidence; or, finally, if the verdict found was considered unjust or unsuitable; which last case afforded a most ample field of appeal, for it must have been very rarely that a sentence did not appear unjust or over-severe to the party who was condemned. It was, however, necessary that the appeal should be made on publication of the sentence,

p. 370

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