Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2001-10 > 1003941656

From: Renia <>
Subject: Re: Irritating Posts
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 17:40:56 +0100
References: <>, <>, <>

Bryant Smith wrote:

> Renia <> wrote in message news:<>...
>>I think those of us who are historians, or those of us with knowledge of
>>history, know the kinds of crimes convicts were accused of, regardless
>>of how these crimes are perceived today. I suppose there will be those
>>on this group who are utterly ignorant of what you say below, but I
>>should imagine they would be few.
>>However. Think of the Taliban, and then consider matters of perception
>>in the modern world.
>>As historians, we deal with the period concerned, and in the periods
>>concerned, they were convicts. They had been convicted of what was then
>>recognised as a serious crime.
>>It really doesn't matter that we perceive stealing a handkerchief or
>>five chickens as minor crimes. It's what happened then that matters.
>>It's part of history. The story of how our ancestors came to be wherever
>>they were.
> Ole! One may next ask, why were what we now would call minor offenses
> considered serious crimes? (Where did Dickens(?) describe the
> omnipresence of large numbers of pickpockets at public hangings?)
> Given the rigid stratification of English society, I suspect a general
> attitude among the upper classes in favor of whittling down the numbers
> of the "underclasses" by transportation, impressment, and capital
> punishment. This last obviously wasn't deterring bothersome activities
> to the extent desired.
> Bryant Smith
> Playa Palo Seco
> Costa Rica

Historians cannot be politically correct. Social scientists can be
politically correct, but that is what makes them bad historians.

English society was much more fluid than is supposed, by the way.


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