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Subject: ‘Oddities’

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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, 93

Posted in Ancient History, Best pictures, Educational card, English Literature, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Legend, Literature, Oddities, Religion, Trade 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 Tancredi baptising the dying Clorinda.

Tancredi, picture, image, illustration

Tancredi baptises the dying Clorinda from Torquato Tasso's epic poem Jerusalem Delivered.

The second picture shows a fakir.

A fakir, picture, image, illustration

A fakir

The third picture shows an Ancient Roman bookshop.

Roman bookshop, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Roman bookshop

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 79

Posted in Absurd, Africa, Best pictures, Cars, Dogs, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Farming, Historical articles, History, Oddities, Plants, Rivers, Travel 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 view of the Nile valley from the Great Pyramid.

Nile, picture, image, illustration

View of the Nile valley from the Great Pyramid

The second picture shows the potato harvest in Ireland.

Ireland, picture, image, illustration

Potato Harvest in Ireland

The third picture shows a ‘dining car’.

car, picture, image, illustration

A 'dining car'

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 63

Posted in Animals, Best pictures, Children, Educational card, English Literature, Fairy Tale, Historical articles, History, Legend, Literature, Magic, Music, Mystery, Oddities, Religion, Science, Wildlife 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 Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Hamelin, picture, image, illustration

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The second picture shows the miraculous birth of Zoroaster.

 Zoroaster, picture, image, illustration

The miraculous birth of Zoroaster

The third picture shows a demonstration of Light projection.

Light projection, picture, image, illustration

Light projection

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 62

Posted in America, Animals, Birds, Communications, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Music, Oddities, Railways, Sport, Theatre, Transport, Travel, Wildlife 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 a Tourist car on the Mount Lowe Railway, California.

Mount Lowe, picture, image, illustration

Tourist car on the Mount Lowe Railway, California

The second picture shows a futuristic prediction: enjoying the theatre in one’s own home in 2000.

prediction, picture, image, illustration

Enjoying the theatre in one's own home in 2000

The third picture shows men hunting flamingos in Spain.

hunt, picture, image, illustration

Hunting flamingos, Spain

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, 59

Posted in Absurd, Ancient History, Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History, Industry, Insects, Oddities, 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 the Rape of the Sabine women.

Sabine women, picture, image, illustration

The Rape of the Sabine women

The second picture shows anthropomorphic insects.

insects, picture, image, illustration

Anthropomorphic insects

The third picture shows the bricklayer.

The bricklayer, picture, image, illustration

The bricklayer

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 34

Posted in Absurd, Ancient History, Artist, Best pictures, Disasters, Discoveries, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Industry, Insects, Music, Oddities, Religion, Royalty, Science, Trade 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 monks bringing the first silk cocoons to the Emperor Justinian in Constantinople.

silk, picture, image, illustration

Monks bringing the first silk cocoons to the Emperor Justinian in Constantinople

The second picture shows the death of Georg Wilhelm Richmann, the German physicist.

Richmann, picture, image, illustration

Victims of Science: The death of Georg Wilhelm Richmann, German physicist (1711-1753)

The third picture shows a performance artist and his musical balancing act.

artiste, picture, image, illustration

Musical balancing act

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 27

Posted in Africa, Animals, Best pictures, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Oddities, Religion, Trade, Transport, Travel, Wildlife 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 the Ivory trade.

Ivory trade, picture, image, illustration

Ivory trade

The second picture shows a man riding a penny farthing into a canal.

accident, picture, image, illustration

Man riding a penny farthing into a canal

The third picture shows Convulsionaries or religious mystics in trances.

hysteria, picture, image, illustration

Convulsionaries or religious mystics in trances

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

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 20

Posted in Actors, Ancient History, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous battles, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Institutions, Inventions, London, Oddities, Royalty, Science 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 Archimedes and his eureka moment.

Archimedes, picture, image, illustration

Archimedes and his principle

The second picture shows the British banker Nathan Rothschild after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

Rothschild, picture, image, illustration

British banker Nathan Rothschild after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The third picture shows Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb.

Tom Thumb, picture, image, illustration

Charles Sherwood Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb

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