The Body Legal in Barbarian Law
Published: August 2022© 2011
320 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in, 30 b&w illustrations, 13 b&w maps, 27 b&w tables
The sixth to ninth centuries saw a flowering of written laws among the early Germanic tribes. These laws include tables of fines for personal injury, designed to offer a legal, non-violent alternative to blood feud. Using these personal injury tariffs, The Body Legal in Barbarian Law examines a variety of issues, including the interrelationships between victims, perpetrators, and their families; the causes and results of wounds inflicted in daily life; the methods, successes, and failures of healing techniques; the processes of individual redress or public litigation; and the native and borrowed developments in the various 'barbarian' territories as they separated from the Roman Empire.
By applying the techniques of linguistic anthropology to the pre-history of medicine, anatomical knowledge, and law, Lisi Oliver has produced a remarkable study that sheds new light on early Germanic conceptions of the body in terms of medical value, physiological function, psychological worth, and social significance.
- Barbarian Laws in Context
- Process and Procedure
- The Head
- Torso, Arms and Legs
- Hands and Feet
- Insult and Injury
- Gender Differentiation
- Assault by Rant
’Intriguing book...The Body Legal in Barbarian Law is like an (unmutilated)body itself: pleasingly structured on the outside and hiding a lot of intricate workings under the skin.’ Matthias Ammon, TOEBI(Teachers of Old English in Britain & Ireland), vol 29:2012
Few scholars have the range or expertise to integrate historical, literary, and linguistic evidence as successfully as Lisi Oliver. She has done an important service to historians with The Body Legal in Barbarian Law which provides a rich, erudite argument for how local practice can be understood within the context of broader, cross-cultural trends and customs. This significant contribution to our understanding of medieval law will reframe the debate on many controversial topics in early legal history. Andrew Rabin, Department of English, University of Louisville