In the earliest medieval poems, Robin Hood is devoted to the Virgin Mary. While this may seem odd, many thieves in medieval Europe had an attachment to her.
G. W. M. Reynolds, the “vicious republican” of the Victorian era, attributed the cause of all crime to the the existence of the royal family and the political establishment.
In the Victorian era, New York was a large industrial city with ‘dark Satanic mills’ in which the poor and the rich lived “cheek by jowl”; paupers lived a hand-to-mouth existence and for many, a life of crime as part of an organised criminal gang.
Carlos Rodriguez gives a brief history and analysis of Mexican cartels from the 1980s onwards.
Stephen Basdeo takes a look at the life of one of New York’s pioneering social reformers, Jacob A. Riis.
What distinguishes a well-planned murder committed by a robber to a low-life thug extorting protection money from a business owner? In this post, Tyler Welch discusses how we can define organised crime, and how such groups emerge and flourish.
“Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15: 33, ASV)
Robin Hood hated the sheriff of Nottingham and everything he stood for, but that doesn’t mean that he objected to the sheriff keeping law and order.
In 1824, the lawyer, Andrew Kapp, asked, “Do not these creatures, when they are bruised and wounded, shew an equal sense of pain with ourselves? Are not their shrieks and mournful cries, as so many, calls upon their tormentors for pity? And do not their dying pangs, and the painful convulsions of their tortured bodies, cause uneasiness in every human spectator?”
Contrary to stories of Robin Hood, an outlaw’s life was not a merry one: in the 1820s, banditry in Italy was rife; at this time, a young travel writer named Charles Macfarlane was touring the country and managed to obtain a rare interview with one of these brigands.
By Stephen Basdeo. The popular song “Mack the Knife” was based upon the story of an eighteenth-century highwayman named Captain Macheath. This post traces the literary life of this fictional character.
Katherine Royer’s new book, “The English Execution Narrative, 1200-1700” (2015) analyses the meanings behind the often gruesome executions carried out in the medieval and early modern period.
Last week Google celebrated the life of Victor Hugo (1802-85) with some quirky illustrations on its masthead, so I thought I would do the same by writing a post on an early novel by Hugo entitled “The Last Day of a Condemned Man” (1829), which explores the mindset of a man who is about to be hanged.
Salvatore Giuliano was the last true outlaw in history. Known as the Robin Hood of Sicily, he stole from the rich to give to the poor.
Expelled from school after stabbing his classmate, G. Barrington became an actor, then a pickpocket, until he was transported to Botany Bay and died of insanity.
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, 1803, a 67 year old woman is murdered in her bed by John Terry, apprentice.
In the 18th century, people asssumed that if you shunned work and acted like an idle apprentice, you would become a criminal.
When “Upperworld” and “Underworld” Meet: Social Class and Crime in “The Mysteries of London (1844-46)
Rich people commit greater crimes than their poorer counterparts, but they are at their most dangerous when members of the “upperworld” and “underworld” work together.
Martina Chapanay, a woman who led a gang of bandits in Argentina for upwards of 20 years.
Given that the term “fake news” has recently been bandied around by some very prominent public figures on social media (hurled as a term of abuse at various media outlets, and usually in capital letters), I thought I might bring to people’s attention an interesting little court case from June 1778.
Throughout history, art depicting the law and justice helped to legitimise the power of the courts
Oleksa Dovbush was an outlaw/freedom fighter who robbed from the rich to give to the poor.
Robin Hood was not the only famous law breaker in medieval times. Alongside Robin Hood were figures such as Adam Bell and the subject of this blog post, the medieval pirate Thomas Dun.
Broadly speaking, criminals fall into three types: heroes, buffoons, and brutes.[i] The categories are just as applicable to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they are today – ‘heroes’ would be men […]