Public opinion has often had a strong influence in setting the boundaries of judicial violence in Europe. This project consists of a detailed analysis of secular and religious attitudes towards judicial violence in the period ca. 1260-1360, through the case-studies of the well-documented communes of Florence and Siena. Western Europe underwent in this period substantial penal reforms, ultimately making greater use of corporal punishment. At the same time, there were also changes in religious attitudes towards this phenomenon: the first confraternities devoted to the spiritual assistance of criminals condemned to death were founded in the 14th century. The political and religious reasons for these changes, their detailed chronology and the attitudes of different social segments towards them have not yet been thoroughly researched. This project aims to do so by combining the study of theories and practices of criminal justice of secular and religious origin and the history of emotions. It will advance our knowledge of medieval society and provide insight for understanding comparable contemporary phenomena, by producing as its outputs a monograph, preparatory articles, a series of podcasts and a briefing document on the role of public opinion in the increase/decrease of judicial violence throughout history. In this way, the proposed project will enhance the fellow's career perspectives both in and outside academia, and it will strengthen the links between research in the Humanities and public policy.
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