Thursday, April 15, 2010

Animals as witnesses in medieval English courts

Over at the medieval studies blog In the Middle, Karl Steel has a great post on the legal standing of animals in English courts. I will just quote one of his citations and send you off to see his learned commentary:

If a ship is broken and no living soul escapes from it [de qua nullus vivus evaserit] [,] that may properly be called wreck, especially if the owner has drowned, because the true owner, coming from afar, may prove by certain proofs and signs that the things are his, as where a dog is found alive and it can be established that he is its master; it will be presumed that he is also the owner of the things, and so [also] if certain marks have been placed on the wares and goods.
Here's Karl!

Image: a medieval dog by his presence helping to cure internal injuries.

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