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Mutilation and the law in early medieval Europe and India: a comparative study

Patricia Skinner Orcid Logo

The Medieval Globe, Volume: 2, Issue: 2, Pages: 115 - 139

Swansea University Author: Patricia Skinner Orcid Logo

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Abstract

This article compares the diverse legal traditions of Europe and India from the 1st to 11th centuries CE, asking whether the two cultures had a shared understanding of the meanings of facial disfigurement as injury and as punishment. It surveys the evidence, and concludes that whilst there are super...

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Published in: The Medieval Globe
ISSN: 2377-3561 2377-3553
Published: 2016
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa31627
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Abstract: This article compares the diverse legal traditions of Europe and India from the 1st to 11th centuries CE, asking whether the two cultures had a shared understanding of the meanings of facial disfigurement as injury and as punishment. It surveys the evidence, and concludes that whilst there are superficial similarities, the different contexts within which 'law' was made and understood mitigate against assuming influences in either direction. It challenges the often-assumed link between India's early surgical expertise and the prevalence of disfiguring mutilation as a punishment, arguing that the latter was more often threatened than carried out.
Keywords: medieval; Europe; India; law; surgery; mutilation
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 2
Start Page: 115
End Page: 139