Who was responsible for determining guilt in a trial by ordeal?
There were two main forms of ordeal – fire and water – with God being seen as determining guilt through the result. For fire, the accused had to carry a red-hot bar of iron and walk 9ft (3m). If the wound healed cleanly within three days, they were innocent. But if it festered, guilty.
What is the role of trial by ordeal?
Ordeal, a trial or judgment of the truth of some claim or accusation by various means based on the belief that the outcome will reflect the judgment of supernatural powers and that these powers will ensure the triumph of right. Although fatal consequences often attend an ordeal, its purpose is not punitive.
How was the trial by ordeal used in medieval times?
In ancient and medieval societies, however, a different way of determining a person’s innocence or guilt was used. This was called the ‘trial by ordeal’. This method involved having the accused do something dangerous or even life-threatening. If the accused survived the ordeal, he or she is (usually) proclaimed innocent.
Why was trial by ordeal an effective test of guilt?
For more than 400 years, between the ninth and the early 13th centuries, that’s exactly what Europeans did. In difficult criminal cases, when ‘ordinary’ evidence was lacking, their legal systems asked God to inform them about defendants’ criminal status. The method of their request: judicial ordeals.
How is innocence determined in a trial by ordeal?
Trial by Ordeal: A Life or Death Method of Judgement. In the modern judicial system, the innocence or guilt of an accused may be established based on the evidence brought against him or her. In ancient and medieval societies, however, a different way of determining a person’s innocence or guilt was used.
What did the accused do in an ordeal?
Ordeal by hot water: the accused would reach into a pot of boiling water and retrieve an object. If the accused was innocent, the water would not burn their skin, but if they were guilty then the burns would reveal their guilt.