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Dispute and violence in early modern Languedoc

6th August - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Speaker: Sian Hibbert, PhD Candidate, University of York 

Studying criminal records from the archives of Toulouse, of cases from assault and battery to murder, this lecture explores how minor disputes could escalate to physical violence, who was involved in it, and what this tells us about attitudes towards violence in pre-Revolutionary France. 

In late 17th- and early 18th-century France, disputes could often escalate from words to blows – and even further. The criminal records of the Parlement of Toulouse, the main court of justice for the southern French region of Languedoc, are a rich source for those who are studying criminality. Now, Sian Hibbert explores how she uses such cases to examine broader phenomena of dispute and interpersonal violence.  

From the incident of assault and battery between Demoiselle to Besset and the Faure brothers, to the murder case involving Jeanne Michel, wife of a lower municipal official, and Pierre Cazal, this paper will use examples from her recent archival work in Toulouse to discuss how and why dispute may have led to physical violence, who was involved in it, and what criminal records can tell us about contemporary attitudes towards bodily violence. In doing so, it acts not just as an insight into the civilian use of arms in early modern France, but a broader examination of society at the time. 


 Image: Fighting peasants. Copyright: The Mauritshuis, The Hague.