Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(873 words)

Arson in medieval and early modern criminal law was the deliberate or neglectful setting fire to buildings, especially homes. Dense urban development (Town), highly flammable building materials (wood and straw), and the lack of equipment for firefighting made fire a constant threat. Many towns and cities in Europe therefore issued Polizeiordnungen (police ordinances) in the 16th and 17th centuries, stipulating very precise instructions for the prevention of fire. Arson was therefore one of the gravest of breaches of the peace.

In accord with late medieval Italian jurisprudence, …

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Oestmann, Peter and Nordloh, Philipp, “Arson”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 07 December 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_017759>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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