ordalia (from the ancient German ordal, that it means "judgment of God") is practical a legal one with which innocence or the colpevolezza of the accused is determined subjecting it to a painful test. The determination of innocence derives from the completion of the test without to endure damages or from the fast guarigione of the brought back lesions. The ordalia, like duel of God, it was one judicium Of i: one procedure based on the premise that God the innocent would have helped.

Common all over the world in the past, this type of process survived untilAge of the lumi in western Europe and more to along elsewhere.

_ "L? _ordalia of the fire "of Dieric Bouts the Old one

In Europe the ordalia it was often "of the fire" or "the water" -- incandescent metal in the first case and hot water in the second. The exact use of the ordalia varied, a practical Scandinavian remarkablly and Anglo-Saxon was that the accused made nine steps resisting in both the hands one incandescent iron bar. To second of the customs of the period, innocence was shown from a complete absence of lesions, or the wounds came wrapped and examined in order to verify of the guarigione or the suppuration. An English version previewed that nine incandescent blades came placed on the pavement. The acusato one came bound and if it crossed the pavement without wounds came judged innocent.


Ordalia of the water

There were various types of ordalia of the water. (dead man in the 695) recorded the common expectation that with a miliare stone around the neck the condemned would be drowned: "the cruel pagani threw it [ Quirino, bishop of the church of Sissek ] in a river with a tied miliare stone to the neck, and when it fell in water came supported to along on the surface from a divine miracle, and the waters did not suck it under since the weight of the crimes did not burden on he." (Historia Francorum i.35)

Varying of the ordalia of the water was the demand to remove one stone from a pentolone of hot water. The brought back wounds indicated the colpevolezza like in the ordalia of the fire; sometimes the used liquid could be oil or fused lead. The ordalia of the water this could also consist in "the bitter" water consumption without to endure damage (is present in like test for one accused woman to have store clerk adulterio and it comes called Sotah inebraismo, however, it is the contrary of the normal case, in how much the not harmful water comes seen like transformed in a mortal poison them if the accused is guilty).

Role of the clergy

The elements of the ordalia of the fire and the ordalia of the water were usually under the control and the supervision of local. The judicial recordings of these procedures indicate that a discreet number of the accused came scagionato from the ordalia. Since the clergymen knew their parrocchiani, and listened to their confessions, seem probable that the ordalia came fixed in some way, in order to obtain a verdict that the clergyman thought just.

The same clergy was not disposed to sottoporsi to the risks of the ordalia of the water or the fire, therefore he came previewed the ordalia of the bread. A piece of cake, bread or cheese (called "cursed mouthful"), came place onaltar of the church. The accused came carried to the altar and recited a prayer, with the effect that God would have sended to block its throat and to make to suffocate it if guilty. Little came condemned from this process, even if are reasonable that the dimensions of the mouthful were up to the inquisitore, than similarly had one secret acquaintance of the behavior of the accused derivantegli from the confessional one.

Some ordalie were less painful, are that ordalie were considered, but without the damage provoked during the process in order to determine the colpevolezza. The practical one for which it believed that the wounds of an assassinated corpse would have been reopened and bled to the presence of the assassin, was anch' it a ordalia, used for the last time in England in . To sting a presumed witch in order to try the brand of the devil can be considered a type of ordalia. Matthew Hopkins, it subjected its victims to this prtica. These last ordalie had more the ways of , used like instrument in order to just investigate the crimes that like true process and.


In common law English, the ordalia began to fall in disuse to leave fromassizes of Clarendon instituted they give Enrico II of Ingihlterra. It continued to being used, judicially or extra-judicial, in cases in which possiblie was not thought some other test, like for homicides without witnesses or crimes like the witchcraft. An other blow against the ordalia came carried in , when quarter I conciliate laterano it prohibited the catholic clergy to train the ordalie. Since the circumstances suggest that the participation of the clergy was centers them in the result of the ordalie, this prohibition intralciò seriously the practical one. In obedience to this principle, in , during the reign of , the ordalia it came abolished in England, and of the processes to one giuria they came in any case instituted that it had been previously judged from a ordalia. When the persecution of the witches finally was extinguished in , the last ones vestigia of the ordalia were extinguished with it.

The ordalia he was something of different from strong and hard pain, that it previewed to crush with of the large ones you weigh a accused person, than refused to introduce an innocence or colpevolezza declaration, until did not yield or died.


  • R. Bartlett, Trial by Fire and Water (1988)

External connections


  > Italian to English > it.wikipedia.org (Machine translated into English)