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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Enkele verklarings vir die strafregtelike vervolging van diere gedurende die Middeleeue en Renaissance

 

Abstract

In die periode tussen die negende en negentiende eeue is meer as twee honderd gedokumenteerde verhore van diere opgeteken. Die diere sluit onder meer donkies, bulle, dolfyne, varke, rotte, skape, wolwe, slakke, ruspes, insekte en kewers in. Wat vandag lyk na 'n sinlose en bisarre praktyk, was in die Middeleeue roetine: die beskuldigdes (diere) is formeel gedagvaar en voor 'n hof gedaag; diere het die reg op verdediging gehad en is ook gevonnis, byvoorbeeld gehang, verbrand of toegesluit in 'n tronk. Diere kon ook onder kerklike sensuur geplaas word, al was hulle nie deel van die Katolieke Kerk nie. Diere is soos hulle menslike beskuldigde eweknieë behandel, al kon hulle nie praat, die hofverrigtinge volg of aanspreeklik gehou word vir hulle dade nie. In 'n poging om hierdie verskynsel te verklaar, ondersoek die artikel verskeie moontlikhede. Gevolgtrekkings waartoe gekom word, is dat die Katolieke Kerk diere as lede van die samelewing moes gereken het. Deur marteling en wrede teregstellings van diere het die geleerde elite die boodskap na die ongeletterde massas uitgestuur dat niemand verhewe is bo die Kerk en staat nie, en dus nie die lang arm van die gereg kon ontduik nie. In 'n sekere sin het diereverhore en openbare teregstellings van diere gedien as 'n tipe moraliteitsteater, en die Kerk het, deur die ongeletterde massas se vrese en bygelowe uit te buit, sy mag en invloed in die gemeenskap so herbevestig.


During the period between the ninth and nineteenth centuries, more than two hundred animal trials were documented. Animals put on trial included donkeys, oxen, dolphins, pigs, rats, sheep, wolves, snails, worms, insects and beetles. What today seems like a senseless and bizarre practice appears to have been acceptable in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance. The animals were formally tried in open courts, had the right to legal representation and were sentenced, which included hanging, burning or incarceration. Certain animals were subjected to excommunication by the Catholic Church, although they were not members of the Church. These animals were treated the same as humans, even though they were unable to speak, follow court proceedings or be held liable for their actions. In an effort to explain this phenomenon, the article traces a few possibilities. It is concluded that the Catholic Church appears to have regarded these animals as members of their communities, with the torture and cruel sentences inflicted on these animals sending a strong message to the illiterate populace of the Middle Ages that nobody is above the Church and state and could not, therefore, escape the long arm of the law. Animal trials may also have served as a type of morality play, exploited by the Church to play on the fears and superstitions of illiterate people in order to strengthen the influence and power of the Church over the community.

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/content/litnet/7/3/EJC62276
2010-12-01
2016-12-08
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