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Subject: ‘Law’

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Condemned pig

Posted in Absurd, Animals, Historical articles, History, Law, Oddities, Religion on Sunday, 31 January 2016

This edited article about legal systems first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 527 published on 19 February 1972.

Animal justice, picture, image, illustration

Top: A sow and her piglets are summoned to appear before the court; Bottom: A court official reads out the charges to a cow accused of trampling a boy to death

Imagine your surprise if you saw a pig, a cow or even a wild animal such as a fox or a badger, being led into court to be tried by a judge and jury! If you had lived on the Continent in medieval times, such a spectacle would not have surprised you in the least, for in those days it was quite common for both domestic and wild animals to be brought to court, there to be tried, sentenced or acquitted, according to the jury’s verdict.

These animal courts were not staged for fun. They were conducted in all seriousness, with eminent lawyers acting for plaintiff and accused, exactly as they do when people are tried in our courts today.

Not long ago a bird was blamed for causing a thatched cottage to be burnt to the ground. It was suggested that the bird had taken a still smouldering cigarette end into the thatch for use as nest-building material. If the same thing had happened in medieval times it would have been the solemn duty of the ecclesiastical court to publicly declare the bird to be under notice to quit the district forthwith.

Fantastic, admittedly – but none the less true. The position was that civil courts had jurisdiction over all domestic creatures, including farm animals, whilst the church, or ecclesiastical courts, could call to trial and pronounce sentence on all forms of wild life, from wolves and rats down to insect pests such as ants and house flies.

One of France’s most eminent jurists, M. Chassensee, made his name for his masterly defence of the rats in the Diocese of Autun, in the 15th century. The rats were accused of appearing in great numbers and annoying the townspeople and were therefore summoned to appear before the local ecclesiastical court.

The defendants were described as “dirty animals of grey colour living in holes.” As the rats failed to appear in answer to the summons, the prosecution demanded sentence right away. But Chassensee argued that All the rats in the diocese were interested parties and they, too, should be called to give evidence. The curate of every parish was therefore commanded to issue a general summons. Still no rats turned up.

Contempt of court? Certainly not, argued Chassensee. Some were too old and some too young to make the journey. The rest of his clients, he explained, were quite willing to attend, but were afraid to come out of their holes because of “evilly disposed cats belonging to the plaintiffs.” This resulted in a stalemate and the case was therefore adjourned, sine die, or indefinitely!

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The best pictures from educational trade cards, 116

Posted in Actors, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Law, Magic, Music, Politics, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Cinderella by the kitchen fire.

Cinderella, picture, image, illustration

Cinderella by the Kitchen Fire

The second picture shows townsfolk reading a Notice giving their town the right to levy local taxation.

Tax, picture, image, illustration

Notice of the right of a town to levy Octroi tax in the Middle Ages

The third picture shows the dying Violetta in the closing scene of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Traviata, picture, image, illustration

Rodolphe Asks For Forgiveness From Violetta Who Is Dying

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 108

Posted in Architecture, Best pictures, Boats, Castles, Customs, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Law, Leisure, Rivers on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a firework display in Rome.

Rome, picture, image, illustration

Firework display in Rome

The second picture shows a court martial in the Middle Ages.

court, picture, image, illustration

Court martial

The third picture shows boats on the Ganges.

Ganges, picture, image, illustration

Boats on the Ganges

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 90

Posted in America, Architecture, Best pictures, Country House, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Law, Sea, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a Russian Country House.

 Russia, picture, image, illustration

A Russian Country House

The second picture shows San Francisco and the prison island, Alcatraz.

San Francisco, picture, image, illustration

San Francisco and Alcatraz

The third picture shows the distribution of tinned food to soldiers in India.

Indian army, picture, image, illustration

Distribution of tinned food to soldiers in India

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 75

Posted in Africa, Ancient History, Architecture, Best pictures, Bravery, Educational card, Famous battles, Famous landmarks, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Law, Music, Mystery, Myth, Politics, Religion, Superstition, War, Weapons on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Cardinal Richelieu sending Francois de Montmorency-Bouteville and the Comte de Chapelles to be executed for defying his ban on duelling, in 1627.

Cardinal Richelieu, picture, image, illustration

Cardinal Richelieu sending Francois de Montmorency-Bouteville and the Comte de Chapelles to be executed for defying his ban on duelling, 1627

The second picture shows Orpheus in Egypt.

Orpheus, picture, image, illustration

Orpheus in Egypt

The third picture shows the death of Lord Talbot and his son.

Talbot and son, picture, image, illustration

The Death of Lord Talbot and his Son

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 60

Posted in Architecture, Best pictures, Education, Educational card, Famous Composers, Fashion, Historical articles, History, Law, Leisure, Music, Oddities, Royalty, Sinners, Theatre on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Wagner at the villa Wesendonck in Zurich.

Wagner, picture, image, illustration

Wagner at the villa Wesendonck in Zurich

The second picture shows Queen Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth I, picture, image, illustration

Queen Elizabeth I

The third picture shows a morality tale: alcoholism suppresses all moral strength and leads to suicide.

suicide, picture, image, illustration

Alcoholism suppresses all moral strength and leads to suicide

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 58

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Industry, Institutions, Law, Mystery, Politics, Trade, War on Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the Battle of Courtrai in 1302.

Battle, picture, image, illustration

Battle of Courtrai in 1302

The second picture shows Chinese potters.

Chinese potters, picture, image, illustration

Chinese potters

The third picture shows Lycurgus of Sparta making his fellow citizens take the Spartan Oath.

Lycurgus, picture, image, illustration

Lycurgus of Sparta making his fellow citizens swear to respect the institutions established by him

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 50

Posted in Africa, America, Art, Artist, Best pictures, British Countryside, Educational card, Famous artists, Historical articles, History, Law, Music, Royalty, Transport, Travel, Weapons on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Holbein showing Henry VIII sketches for his Dance of Death.

Holbein, picture, image, illustration

Holbein showing Henry VIII sketches for his Dance of Death

The second picture shows a coach held up by Highwaymen.

Highwayman, picture, image, illustration

English 17th Century Coach Held Up by Highwaymen

The third picture shows a dandified black violinist.

violinist, picture, image, illustration

A black violinist

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 42

Posted in Animals, Best pictures, Castles, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History, Law, Legend, Literature, Religion, Sport, Weapons, Wildlife on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the Foundation of the Benedictine Order in 529.

Benedictines, picture, image, illustration

Foundation of the Benedictine Order, 529

The second picture shows a lion hunt.

hunt, picture, image, illustration

Lion hunt

The third picture shows Bluebeard and his new wife.

Bluebeard, picture, image, illustration

Bluebeard

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 19

Posted in Ancient History, Best pictures, Education, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Law, Music, Oddities, Philosophy, War on Monday, 23 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Gallic warriors using soap.

Soap, picture, image, illustration

Soap, used by Gallic warriors

The second picture shows Solon giving laws to the Greeks, 6th Century BC.

Solon, picture, image, illustration

Solon giving laws to the Greeks, 6th Century BC

The third picture shows a Spanish student playing the guitar.

guitar, picture, image, illustration

The guitar: Spanish student (18th Century)

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.