By Jean Dunbabin
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Extra resources for Captivity and Imprisonment in Medieval Europe, C. 1000-C. 1300
38 The captors of important men clearly anticipated that the hours of darkness, when the guards might well drop into deep sleep, brought real danger of escape which had to be prevented by radical means. Anecdotal evidence points to the tower as the normal place of confinement for those of higher birth, and the dungeon for the peasant or the serf. However this was not the invariable rule. 40 Charles of Anjou ordered that his high-ranking Greek prisoners held at the castle of Trani should be confined in the The Means of Detention in the High Middle Ages 39 lower room, where they could be well guarded.
Peasants or footsoldiers got short shrift, whether in war or in judicial hearings; the fate of their social superiors depended on the influence of those they could bring to their support. 3 THE MEANS OF DETENTION IN THE HIGH MIDDLE AGES In the course of the eleventh century, mentions of imprisonment creep back into the sources. In part this is because the number and variety of writings available to historians increase, if by no means as dramatically as they will do during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
4 In other words, prisons were integrated into the administration of the empire, and were intimately connected with the repression of crime. 5 Imprisonment was primarily custodial, that is to say of those accused of crimes and awaiting trial. By the third century, when the famous jurist Ulpian wrote, only those defendants whom the provincial governors decided should not be allowed bail or a military guard to keep them 20 Captivity and Imprisonment in Medieval Europe, 1000–1300 secure in their own houses were committed to prison.