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Original scientific paper

https://doi.org/10.21857/yvjrdcn1ly

The figure of executioner in Dubrovnik between social acceptance and rejection (fourteenth to eighteenth century)

Nella Lonza orcid id orcid.org/0000-0002-6387-1036 ; Institute for Historical Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia


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Abstract

Based on the documents from the State Archives of Dubrovnik, this article examines the office of executioner in the period between the fourteenth and the late eighteenth century. Introduction of professional executioner is being correlated with the process of the expansion of state “services” managed by professionals, with distinctive features of the penal system and the symbolic role of executioner in the rituals of power, while the abolishment of permanent office is accounted by the changing criminality trends in the mid-eighteenth century. Through the elements of execution, the ideal of “good death” is elucidated, along with the executioner’s intermediary role between the worlds of the dead and living. Further analysed is the attitude of Ragusan society towards the executioner, attention being drawn to certain ambivalent aspects, with a conclusion that in Dubrovnik, unlike elsewhere in Europe, less stigma was attached to this profession: executioner was generally perceived as an “official” who performed an unattractive though essential service to the benefit of the community.

Keywords

Dubrovnik, executioner, punishment rituals, Middle Ages, Early Modern era

Hrčak ID:

167084

URI

https://hrcak.srce.hr/167084

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