Confession and Criminal Justice in Late Medieval Italy

Source : OUP

Lidia Luisa Zanetti Domingues, Confession and Criminal Justice in Late Medieval Italy. Siena, 1260-1330, Oxford University Press, 2021.

In medieval Italy the practice of revenge as criminal justice was still popular amongst members of all social classes, yet crime also was increasingly perceived as a public matter that needed to be dealt with by the government rather than private citizens. Confession and Criminal Justice in Late Medieval Italy sheds light on this contradiction through an in-depth comparison of lay and religious sources produced in Siena between 1260 and 1330 on criminal justice, conflict, and violence.

Confession and Criminal Justice in Late Medieval Italy: argues that religious people were an effective pressure group with regards to criminal justice, thanks both to the literary works they produced and their direct intervention in political affairs, and that their contributions have not received the attention they deserve. It shows that the dichotomy between theories and practices of ‘private’ and of ‘public’ justice should be substituted by a framework in which three models, or discourses, of criminal justice are recognised as present in medieval Italian communes, with the addition of a specifically religious discourse based on penitential spirituality. Although the models of criminal justice were competing, they also influenced each other.

1:Competing Models for Approaching Violence and Conflict and their Points of Contact
2:Emotions, Virtues and Vices in the Sienese Reflection on Violence and its Remedies
3:Models of Emotionality in Action in Religious and Lay Sources on Criminal Justice
4:Defining the Complex Relationship between Mercy, Justice and Revenge
5:Communal Legislation and the Pursuit of Divine Justice
6:The Development of Criminal Justice in Siena and the Influence of Religious Ideas

Regret. A Study in Ancient Moral Psychology

Source : OUP

James Warren, Regret. A Study in Ancient Moral Psychology, Oxford University Press, 2021.

This book provides a study of regret (metameleia) in the moral psychology of Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. It was important for all these philosophers to insist that regret is a characteristic of neither fully virtuous nor wholly irredeemable characters. Rather, they took regret to be something that affects people who retrospectively feel pain at realising an earlier mistaken action. Regret sets out in full the accounts of the nature of this emotion found in the works of these philosophers, viewing them in the context of their respective accounts of virtuous and non-virtuous agents, ethical progress, the role of knowledge in producing good actions, and compares it with modern philosophical notions of ‘agent regret’.

Introduction: Why Regret?
1:Virtue, Metameleia, Regret, and Remorse
2:Plato on Regret, Akrasia, and the Tyrannical Soul
3:Aristotle on Regret and Counter-Voluntary Actions
4:Aristotle on Regret and Akrasia
5:Metameleia and Ignorance
6:Stoic Regret
7:Gellius and Gallus on the Limits of Regret


Emotion and the History of Rhetoric in the Middle Ages

Source : OUP

Rita Copeland, Emotion and the History of Rhetoric in the Middle Ages, Oxford University Press, 2021.


Rhetoric is an engine of social discourse and the art charged with generating and swaying emotion. The history of rhetoric provides a continuous structure by which we can measure how emotions were understood, articulated, and mobilized under various historical circumstances and social contracts. This book is about how rhetoric in the West, from Late Antiquity to the later Middle Ages, represented the role of emotion in shaping persuasions. It is the first book-length study of medieval rhetoric and the emotions, coloring that rhetorical history between about 600 CE and the cusp of early modernity. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages, as in other periods, constituted the gateway training for anyone engaged in emotionally persuasive writing. Medieval rhetorical thought on emotion has multiple strands of influence and sedimentations of practice. The earliest and most persistent tradition treated emotional persuasion as a property of surface stylistic effect, which can be seen in the medieval rhetorics of poetry and prose, and in literary production. But the impact of Aristotelian rhetoric, which reached the Latin West in the thirteenth century, gave emotional persuasion a core role in reasoning, incorporating it into the key device of proof, the enthymeme. In Aristotle, medieval teachers and writers found a new rhetorical language to explain the social and psychological factors that affect an audience. With Aristotelian rhetoric, the emotions became political. The impact of Aristotle’s rhetorical approach to emotions was to be felt in medieval political treatises, in poetry, and in preaching.

1:Before the Middle Ages: Emotion from Invention to Style
2:Christian and Literary Rhetorics of the Early Middle Ages: Emotion as the Property of Style
3:Emotion in the Rhetorical Arts and Literary Culture c. 1070-c.1400
4:Aristotle’s Rhetoric in the Latin West: The Fortunes of the Path?
5:De regimine principum: Emotion, Persuasion, and Political Thought
6:Political Poetics and the Aristotelian Turn: Dante, Chaucer, and Hoccleve
7:Preaching, Emotion, and the Aristotelian Turn
Epilogue: Mixed Rhetorics