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Crimes I


In this seminar, we will begin the section of the module which will consider in turn different kinds of crime in early modern Europe. This week will examine political crimes. We will divide into groups to examine assassinations, regicides, and tyrannicides; conspiracies; and riots and rebellions.

Seminar Questions

  • What were the forms and nature of political crimes in early modern Europe?
  • What were contemporary attitudes and responses to these crimes?

Required Reading

Each student should choose and read three relevant items below for the topic they are investigating.

Assassinations, Regicides, and Tyrannicides

Dall'Aglio, Stefano, The Duke's Assassin: Exile and Death of Lorenzino de' Medici, trans. Donald Weinstein (New Haven, 2015)

Eisner, Manuel, 'Killing Kings. Patterns of Regicide in Europe, AD 600-1800', British Journal of Criminology 51 (2011), 556–577.

Härter, Karl, ‘Political Crime in Early Modern Europe: Assassination, Legal Responses and Popular Print Media’, European Journal of Criminology 11/2 (2014), 142–168.

Medici, Lorenzino de', Apology for a Murder, trans. Andrew Brown (London, 2004)

Peacey, Jason, ed., The Regicides and the Execution of Charles I (Houndmills, 2001)

Ranum, Orest, 'The French Ritual of Tyrannicide in the Late Sixteenth Century', The Sixteenth
Century Journal 11/1 (1980), 63–82.


Coward, Barry, and Julian Swann, eds, Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theory in Early Modern Europe: From the Waldensians to the French Revolution (Aldershot, 2004) 

Dillinger, Johannes, 'Organized Arson as a Political Crime. The Construction of a "Terrorist" Menace in the Early Modern Period', Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies 10/2 (2006), 101-121

Lowe, Kate, 'The Political Crime of Conspiracy in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Rome', in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe, eds, Crime, Society, and the Law in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 184-203.

Roberts, Penny, 'Arson, Conspiracy and Rumour in Early Modern Europe', Continuity and Change 12/1 (1997), 9-29

Riots and Rebellions

Barkey, Karen, Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization (Ithaca, NY, 1994)

Beik, William, Urban Protest in Seventeenth-Century France: The Culture of Retribution (Cambridge, 1997)

Bercé, Yves-Marie, History of Peasant Revolts: The Social Origins of Rebellion in Early Modern France, trans. Amanda Whitmore (Cambridge, 1990)

Bercé, Yves-Marie, Revolt and Revolution in Early Modern Europe, trans. Joseph Bergin (Manchester, 1987)

Carroll, Linda L., 'Carnival Rites as Vehicles of Protest in Renaissance Venice', The Sixteenth Century Journal 16/4 (1985), 487-502

Clifton, Robin, The Last Popular Rebellion: The Western Rising of 1685 (Hounslow, 1984)

Connolly, S. J., Contested Island: Ireland 1460-1630 (Oxford, 2007)

Cressy, David, Dangerous Talk: Scandalous, Seditious, and Treasonable Speech in Pre-modern England (Oxford, 2010)

Davies, C.S.L. ‘Popular Disorder’, in Peter Clark, ed., The European Crisis of the 1590s (London, 1985), pp.244-260.

Dunning, Chester S. L., Russia's First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty (University Park, PA, 2001) [For the Bolotnikov Rebellion]

Fletcher, Anthony, and Diarmaid MacCulloch, Tudor Rebellions, 5th ed. (Harlow, 2004)

Fletcher, Anthony, and Stevenson, John, ‘Introduction’, in Anthony Fletcher and John Stevenson, eds, Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1985), pp.1-40.

Griesse, Malte, ed., From Mutual Observation to Propaganda War: Premodern Revolts in Their Transnational Representations (Bielefeld, 2014)

Haliczer, Stephen, The Comuneros of Castile: The Forging of a Revolution, 1475-1521 (Madison, WI, 1981)

Heijden, Manon van der, Women and Crime in Early Modern Holland, trans. David McKay (Leiden, 2016), Chapter Seven.

Hindle, Steve, 'Crime and Popular Protest' in Barry Coward, ed., Blackwell Companions to British History: A Companion to Stuart Britain (Oxford, 2003), pp.130-47.

Hindle, Steve. 'Imagining Insurrection in Seventeenth-Century England: Representations of the Midland Rising of 1607', History Workshop Journal 58 (2008), 21-61

Howard, Sharon, Law and Disorder in Early Modern Wales: Crime and Authority in the Denbighshire Courts, c.1660-1730 (Cardiff, 2008), Chapter Four.

Kesselring, K. J., The Northern Rebellion of 1569: Faith, Politics, and Protest in Elizabethan England (Basingstoke, 2007)

Kilday, Anne-Marie, Crime in Scotland 1660-1960: The Violent North? (London, 2018), Chapter Four.

Kollmann, Nancy Shields, Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge, 2015), Chapter Sixteen.

Koskinen, Ulla, Aggressive and Violent Peasant Elites in the Nordic Countries, c. 1500-1700 (Basingstoke, 2017)

Lindley, Keith, ‘Riot Prevention and Control in Early Stuart London’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser. 33 (1983), 109-126.

Manning, Roger B., Village Revolts: Social Protest and Popular Disturbances in England 1509-1640 (Oxford, 1988)

Murdock, Graeme, Penny Roberts and Andrew Spicer, 'Ritual and Violence', Past & Present 214/7 (2012)

Nussdorfer, Laurie, 'The Vacant See: Ritual and Protest in Early Modern Rome', The Sixteenth Century Journal 18/2 (1987), 173-189

Perrie, Maureen, 'Recent Western Historiography of the Time of Troubles in Russia', Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo Universiteta, Istoriya 63 (2018), 244-261

Rapple, Rory, 'Writing about Violence in the Tudor Kingdoms', The Historical Journal 54/3 (2011), 829-54.

Roberts, Penny, 'Urban Conflict and Royal Authority: Popular Revolts in Sixteenth-Century Troyes', Urban History 34 (2007), 189-207

Sánchez León, Pablo, Absolutismo y comunidad: los orígenes sociales de la guerra de los comuneros de Castilla (Madrid, 1998)

Schindler, Norbert, Rebellion, Community and Custom in Early Modern Germany, trans. Pamela E. Selwyn (Cambridge, 2002)

Scott, Tom, and Bob Scribner, eds and trans, The German Peasants' War: A History in Documents (Atlantic Highlands, NJ, 1991)

Sharp, Buchanan, ‘Popular Protest in Seventeenth-Century England’, in Barry Reay, ed., Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (London, 1985), pp.271-308.

Thompson, E. P., 'The Moral Economy of the Crowd in the Eighteenth Century', Past and Present 50 (1971), 76-136.

Tyacke, Nicholas, ed., The English Revolution c.1590-1720: Politics, Religion and Communities (Manchester, 2007)

Walter, John, Crowds and Popular Politics in Early Modern England (Manchester, 2006)

Walter, John, ‘Faces in the Crowd: Gender, Youth and Age in Early Modern Protest’, in Helen Berry and Elizabeth Foyster, eds, The Family in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 96-125.

Walter, John, 'Politicising the popular? The "tradition of riot" and popular political culture in the English Revolution,' in Nicholas Tyacke, ed., The English Revolution c.1590-1720: politics, religion and communities (Manchester, 2007), pp. 95-110

Walter, John, Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution: The Colchester Plunderers (Cambridge, 1999)

Wood, Andy, The 1549 Rebellions and the Making of Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2007)

Wood, Andy, Riot, Rebellion and Popular Politics in Early Modern England (Houndmills, 2002)