The Faithful Executioner

Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0809049937

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 3884

Based on the rare and until now overlooked journal of a Renaissance-era executioner, the noted historian Joel F. Harrington's The Faithful Executioner takes us deep inside the alien world and thinking of Meister Frantz Schmidt of Nuremberg, who, during forty-five years as a professional executioner, personally put to death 394 individuals and tortured, flogged, or disfigured many hundreds more. But the picture that emerges of Schmidt from his personal papers is not that of a monster. Could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate—even progressive? In The Faithful Executioner, Harrington vividly re-creates a life filled with stark contrasts, from the young apprentice's rigorous training under his executioner father to the adult Meister Frantz's juggling of familial duties with his work in the torture chamber and at the scaffold. With him we encounter brutal highwaymen, charming swindlers, and tragic unwed mothers accused of infanticide, as well as patrician senators, godly chaplains, and corrupt prison guards. Harrington teases out the hidden meanings and drama of Schmidt's journal, uncovering a touching tale of inherited shame and attempted redemption for the social pariah and his children. The Faithful Executioner offers not just the compelling firsthand perspective of a professional torturer and killer, but testimony of one man's lifelong struggle to reconcile his bloody craft with his deep religious faith. The biography of an ordinary man struggling for his soul, this groundbreaking book also offers an unparalleled panoramic view of Europe on the cusp of modernity, a society riven by violent conflict at all levels and encumbered by paranoia, superstition, and abuses of power. Thanks to an extraordinary historical source and its gifted interpreter, we recognize far more of ourselves than we might have expected in this intimate portrait of a professional killer from a faraway world.

The Faithful Executioner

Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 0809049929

Category: History

Page: 283

View: 6368

Offering an unrivaled view of Europe on the cusp of modernity, this fascinating biography of an ordinary man struggling for his soul documents the life of a 16th-century executioner, who, deemed an official outcast, sought to prove himself worthy of honor and free his children from the stigma of his profession. 20,000 first printing.

The Faithful Executioner

Life and Death in the Sixteenth Century

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1448129370

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 1144

Meet Frantz Schmidt: executioner, torturer and, most unusually for his times, diarist. Following in his father’s footsteps, Frantz entered the executioner’s trade as an Apprentice. 394 executions and forty-five years later, he retired to focus his attentions on running the large medical practice that he had always viewed as his true vocation. Through examination of Frantz’s exceptional and often overlooked record, Joel F. Harrington delves deep into a world of human cruelty, tragedy and injustice. At the same time, he poses a fascinating question: could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate – even progressive? The Faithful Executioner is the biography of an ordinary man struggling to overcome an unjust family curse; it is also a remarkable panorama of a Europe poised on the cusp of modernity, a world with startling parallels to our own.

A Hangman's Diary

The Journal of Master Franz Schmidt, Public Executioner of Nuremberg, 1573 1617

Author: Franz Schmidt

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

ISBN: 1629149764

Category: History

Page: 272

View: 2253

From 1573 to 1617, Master Franz Schmidt was the executioner for the towns of Bamberg and Nuremberg. During that span, he personally executed more than 350 people while keeping a journal throughout his career. A Hangman’s Diary is not only a collection of detailed writings by Schmidt about his work, but also an account of criminal procedure in Germany during the Middle Ages. With analysis and explanation, editor Albrecht Keller and translators C. Calvert and A. W. Gruner have put together a masterful tome that sets the scene of execution day and puts you in Master Franz Schmidt’s shoes as he does his duty for his country. Originally published more than eighty years ago, A Hangman’s Diary gives a year-by-year breakdown on all of Master Schmidt’s executions, which include hangings, beheadings, and other methods of murder, as well as explanations of each crime and the reason for the punishment. An incredible classic, A Hangman’s Diary is more than a history lesson; it shows the true anarchy that inhabited our world only a few hundred years ago. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Dangerous Mystic

Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 110198158X

Category: History

Page: 384

View: 4915

Life and times of the 14th century German spiritual leader Meister Eckhart, whose theory of a personal path to the divine inspired thinkers from Jean Paul Sartre to Thomas Merton, and most recently, Eckhart Tolle Meister Eckhart was a medieval Christian mystic whose wisdom powerfully appeals to seekers seven centuries after his death. In the modern era, Eckhart's writings have struck a chord with thinkers as diverse as Heidegger, Merton, Sartre, John Paul II, and the current Dalai Lama. He is the inspiration for the bestselling New Age author Eckhart Tolle's pen name, and his fourteenth-century quotes have become an online sensation. Today a variety of Christians, as well as many Zen Buddhists, Sufi Muslims, Jewish Cabbalists, and various spiritual seekers, all claim Eckhart as their own. Meister Eckhart preached a personal, internal path to God at a time when the Church could not have been more hierarchical and ritualistic. Then and now, Eckhart’s revolutionary method of direct access to ultimate reality offers a profoundly subjective approach that is at once intuitive and pragmatic, philosophical yet non-rational, and, above all, universally accessible. This “dangerous mystic’s” teachings challenge the very nature of religion, yet the man himself never directly challenged the Church. Eckhart was one of the most learned theologians of his day, but he was also a man of the world who had worked as an administrator for his religious order and taught for years at the University of Paris. His personal path from conventional friar to professor to lay preacher culminated in a spiritual philosophy that combined the teachings of an array of pagan and Christian writers, as well as Muslim and Jewish philosophers. His revolutionary decision to take his approach to the common people garnered him many enthusiastic followers as well as powerful enemies. After Eckhart’s death and papal censure, many religious women and clerical supporters, known as the Friends of God, kept his legacy alive through the centuries, albeit underground until the master’s dramatic rediscovery by modern Protestants and Catholics. Dangerous Mystic grounds Meister Eckhart in a world that is simultaneously familiar and alien. In the midst of this medieval society, a few decades before the Black Death, Eckhart boldly preached to captivated crowds a timeless method, a “wayless way,” of directly experiencing the divine.

European Sexualities, 1400-1800

Author: Katherine Crawford

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521839580

Category: History

Page: 246

View: 6875

A pioneering survey of the social and cultural history of sexuality in early modern Europe.

Hopes for Better Spouses

Protestant Marriage and Church Renewal in Early Modern Europe, India, and North America

Author: A. G. Roeber

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

ISBN: 0802868614

Category: Law

Page: 289

View: 6320

Modern Protestant debates about spousal relations and the meaning of marriage began in a forgotten international dispute some 300 years ago. The Lutheran-Pietist ideal of marriage as friendship and mutual pursuit of holiness battled with the idea that submission defined spousal roles. Exploiting material culture artifacts, broadsides, hymns, sermons, private correspondence, and legal cases on three continents -- Europe, Asia, and North America -- A. G. Roeber reconstructs the roots and the dimensions of a continued debate that still preoccupies international Protestantism and its Catholic and Orthodox critics and observers in the twenty-first century.

The Lure of the Arena

Social Psychology and the Crowd at the Roman Games

Author: Garrett G. Fagan

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521196167

Category: History

Page: 362

View: 4908

Were the Romans who watched brutal gladiatorial games all that different from us? This book argues they were not.

Public Executions: From Ancient Rome to the Present Day

From Ancient Rome to the Present Day

Author: Nigel Cawthorne

Publisher: Arcturus Publishing

ISBN: 1848585128

Category: Social Science

Page: N.A

View: 9636

Societies throughout history have adopted many and varied methods of meting out the ultimate sanction of capital punishment to their more unruly members. Although a number of countries across the globe still execute their own citizens, on occasion in public, the modern world in general views execution with distaste, and public execution doubl...

The Executioner's Journal

Meister Frantz Schmidt of the Imperial City of Nuremberg

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

ISBN: 0813938716

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 427

During a career lasting nearly half a century, Meister Frantz Schmidt (1554-1634) personally put to death 392 individuals and tortured, flogged, or disfigured hundreds more. The remarkable number of victims, as well as the officially sanctioned context in which they suffered at Schmidt’s hands, was the story of Joel Harrington’s much-discussed book The Faithful Executioner. The foundation of that celebrated work was Schmidt's own journal--notable not only for the shocking story it told but, in an age when people rarely kept diaries, for its mere existence. Available now in Harrington’s new translation, this fascinating document provides the modern reader with a rare firsthand perspective on the thoughts and experiences of an executioner who routinely carried out acts of state brutality yet remained a revered member of the local community, widely respected for his piety, steadfastness, and popular healing. Based on a long-lost manuscript thought to be the most faithful to the original journal, this modern English translation is fully annotated and includes an introduction providing historical context as well as a biographical portrait of Schmidt himself. The executioner appears to us not as the frightening brute we might expect but as a surprisingly thoughtful, complex person with a unique voice, and in these pages his world emerges as vivid and unforgettable. Studies in Early Modern German History

Rituals of Retribution

Capital Punishment in Germany, 1600-1987

Author: Richard J. Evans

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand


Category: History

Page: 1014

View: 6291

The book begins with an account of the system of 'traditional' capital punishments set out in German law, and the ritual practices and cultural readings associated with them in the early modern period. It examines how this system broke down under the impact of secularization and social change in the first half of the nineteenth century. The abolition of the death penalty became a classic liberal cause which triumphed, briefly, in 1848. Its definitive reinstatement by Bismarck in the 1880s coincided with the emergence of new, Social Darwinist attitudes towards criminality whose eventual triumph laid the foundations for the massive expansion of capital punishment which took place during Hitler's 'Third Reich'. After 1945, the death penalty was abolished in the West but continued to be used in East Germany until its abandonment in the 1980s. This compelling study brings a mass of new evidence to bear on the history of German attitudes to law and order, deviance, cruelty, suffering, and death. It tells the stories of the men and women who went to the block, the politicians, philosophers, and officials who debated whether they should be sent there, and the executioners whose job it was to kill them. The book's findings are used to test the argument of Norbert Elias that there was a deficit of the 'civilizing process' in Germany, to examine Michael Foucault's theory of the formation of a 'carceral society' in the modern period, and to cast new light on the social history of death, as pioneered by Phillipe Aries.

Fiction in the Archives

Pardon Tales and Their Tellers in Sixteenth-century France

Author: Natalie Zemon Davis

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804717991

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 217

View: 1458

To receive a royal pardon in sixteenth-century France for certain kinds of homicide--unpremeditated, unintended, in self-defense, or otherwise excusable--a supplicant had to tell the king a story. These stories took the form of letters of remission, documents narrated to royal notaries by admitted offenders who, in effect, stated their case for pardon to the king. Thousands of such stories are found in French archives, providing precious evidence of the narrative skills and interpretive schemes of peasants and artisans as well as the well-born. This book, by one of the most acclaimed historians of our time, is a pioneering effort to us the tools of literary analysis to interpret archival texts: to show how people from different stations in life shaped the events of a crime into a story, and to compare their stories with those told by Renaissance authors not intended to judge the truth or falsity of the pardon narratives, but rather to refer to the techniques for crafting stories. A number of fascinating crime stories, often possessing Rabelaisian humor, are told in the course of the book, which consists of three long chapters. These chapters explore the French law of homicide, depictions of "hot anger" and self-defense, and the distinctive characteristics of women's stories of bloodshed. The book is illustrated with seven contemporary woodcuts and a facsimile of a letter of remission, with appendixes providing several other original documents. This volume is based on the Harry Camp Memorial Lectures given at Stanford University in 1986.

Seeing Justice Done

The Age of Spectacular Capital Punishment in France

Author: Paul Friedland

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199592691

Category: History

Page: 334

View: 9718

A history of public executions in France from the medieval spectacle of suffering to the invention of the Revolutionary guillotine, up to the last public execution in 1939. Paul Friedland explores why spectacles of public execution were staged, as well as why thousands of spectators came to watch them.

Witnesses to the Scaffold

English Literary Figures as Observers of Public Executions : Pierce Egan, Thackeray, Dickens, Alexander Smith, G.A. Sala, Orwell

Author: Antony E. Simpson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780979111617

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 230

View: 6869

The public execution, a routine ceremony which lasted in Britain until 1868 and elsewhere in the Empire until the 20th century, is here documented through the personal accounts of six literary figures. These accounts are discussed in the context of the gradual emergence of a modern system of criminal justice. It is suggested that it was concern for the behavior of the crowd, rather than for the fate of the condemned, which strongly affected most of these writers.

An Eye for an Eye

A Global History of Crime and Punishment

Author: Mitchel P. Roth

Publisher: Reaktion Books

ISBN: 1780233817

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 6635

From “an eye for an eye” to debates over capital punishment, humanity has a long and controversial relationship with doling out justice for criminal acts. Today, crime and punishment remain significant parts of our culture, but societies vary greatly on what is considered criminal and how it should be punished. In this global survey of crime and punishment throughout history, Mitchel P. Roth examines how and why we penalize certain activities, and he scrutinizes the effectiveness of such efforts in both punishing wrongdoers and bringing a sense of justice to victims. Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, folklore, and literature, Roth chronicles the global history of crime and punishment—from early civilizations to the outlawing of sex crimes and serial homicide to the development of organized crime and the threat today of global piracy. He explores the birth of the penitentiary and the practice of incarceration as well as the modern philosophy of rehabilitation, arguing that these are perhaps the most important advances in the effort to safeguard citizens from harm. Looking closely at the retributions societies have condoned, Roth also look at execution and its many forms, showing how stoning, hemlock, the firing squad, and lethal injection are considered either barbaric or justified across different cultures. Ultimately, he illustrates that despite advances in every level of human experience, there is remarkable continuity in what is considered a crime and the sanctions administered. Perfect for students, academics, and general readers alike, this interdisciplinary book provides a fascinating look at criminality and its consequences.

A Cloud of Witnesses

Readings in the History of Western Christianity

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin College Division

ISBN: 9780395968833

Category: Religion

Page: 541

View: 6131

[TofC cont.] The social principles of Christianity / K. Marx -- The twentieth century: Listen America / J. Falwell; The platform of the German Christians -- Western Christianity and contemporary society: The long loneliness / D. Day; Problems of religious pluralism / J. Hick -- Appendices: Alphabetical list of key terms; List of ecumenical councils; Schematic history of Christian churches. This collection of original documents, written by men and women from a myriad of diverse cultures and time periods, illustrates the variety of Christian ideas and practices of the past two millennia. -Back cover. This anthology is ideal for use in historical surveys of western Christianity, whether taught in smaller chronological segments ... or as a one-semester overview of the last 2000 years ... -Pref.

Flogging Others

corporal punishment and cultural identity from antiquity to the present

Author: G. Geltner

Publisher: Amsterdam University Press

ISBN: 9048525942

Category: History

Page: 113

View: 4938

Corporal punishment is often seen as a litmus test for a society's degree of civilization. Its licit use purports to separate modernity from premodernity, enlightened from barbaric cultures. As Geltner argues, however, neither did the infliction of bodily pain typify earlier societies nor did it vanish from penal theory, policy, or practice. Far from displaying a steady decline that accelerated with the Enlightenment, physical punishment was contested throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, its application expanding and contracting under diverse pressures. Moreover, despite the integration of penal incarceration into criminal justice systems since the nineteenth century, modern nation states and colonial regimes increased rather than limited the use of corporal punishment. Flogging Others thus challenges a common understanding of modernization and Western identity and underscores earlier civilizations' nuanced approaches to punishment, deviance, and the human body. Today as in the past, corporal punishment thrives due to its capacity to define otherness efficiently and unambiguously, either as a measure acting upon a deviant's body or as a practice that epitomizes - in the eyes of external observers - a culture's backwardness. "Geltner's striking account...makes this volume necessary reading well beyond the history of criminology itself." - Ed Peters, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. "Brilliant! A short, sharp, and often shocking corrective to conventional penal history and western cultural categories. Geltner's little book mobilizes an abundance of comparative evidence to challenge our historical understanding of bodily punishment and to point up the invidious cultural uses of that history. An object lesson in scholarly provocation." - David Garland, New York University, author of Punishment and Modern Society. 'This provocative thesis about the continuation of corporal punishment will give rise to a great deal of debate.' - Pieter Spierenburg, Emeritus Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Young Widower

A Memoir

Author: John W. Evans

Publisher: U of Nebraska Press

ISBN: 0803254016

Category: Social Science

Page: 216

View: 4936

John W. Evans was twenty-nine years old and his wife, Katie, was thirty. They had met in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh, taught in Chicago, studied in Miami, and were working for a year in Romania when they set off with friends to hike into the Carpathian Mountains. In an instant their life together was shattered. Katie became separated from the group. When Evans finally found her, he could only watch helplessly as she was mauled to death by a brown bear. In such a love story, such a life story, how could a person ever move forward? That is the question Evans, traumatized and restless, confronts in this book as he learns the language of grief, the rhetoric of survival, and the contrary algorithms of holding fast and letting go. His memories of Katie and their time together, and the strangeness of his life with her family in the year after her death, create an unsentimental but deeply moving picture of loss, the brutality of nature, and the unfairness of needing to narrate a story that nothing can prepare a person to tell. Told with unyielding witness, elegance, and care, Young Widower is a heartbreaking account of a senseless tragedy and the persistence of grief in a young person’s life.


Stories of Almost Everyone

Author: Eduardo Galeano

Publisher: Nation Books

ISBN: 0786744707

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 6760

Throughout his career, Eduardo Galeano has turned our understanding of history and reality on its head. Isabelle Allende said his works “invade the reader’s mind, to persuade him or her to surrender to the charm of his writing and power of his idealism.” Mirrors, Galeano’s most ambitious project since Memory of Fire, is an unofficial history of the world seen through history’s unseen, unheard, and forgotten. As Galeano notes: “Official history has it that Vasco Núñez de Balboa was the first man to see, from a summit in Panama, the two oceans at once. Were the people who lived there blind??” Recalling the lives of artists, writers, gods, and visionaries, from the Garden of Eden to twenty-first-century New York, of the black slaves who built the White House and the women erased by men’s fears, and told in hundreds of kaleidoscopic vignettes, Mirrors is a magic mosaic of our humanity.

The Unwanted Child

The Fate of Foundlings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226317293

Category: Social Science

Page: 456

View: 6095

The baby abandoned on the doorstep is a phenomenon that has virtually disappeared from our experience, but in the early modern world, unwanted children were a very real problem for parents, government officials, and society. The Unwanted Child skillfully recreates sixteenth-century Nuremberg to explore what befell abandoned, neglected, abused, or delinquent children in this critical period. Joel F. Harrington tackles this question by focusing on the stories of five individuals. In vivid and poignant detail, he recounts the experiences of an unmarried mother-to-be, a roaming mercenary who drifts in and out of his children’s lives, a civic leader handling the government’s response to problems arising from unwanted children, a homeless teenager turned prolific thief, and orphaned twins who enter state care at the age of nine. Braiding together these compelling portraits, Harrington uncovers and analyzes the key elements that link them, including the impact of war and the vital importance of informal networks among women. From the harrowing to the inspiring, The Unwanted Child paints a gripping picture of life on the streets five centuries ago.