Violence against parents in Swedish peasant society
Modern research has shown that western law in the Middle Ages was strongly influenced by Mosaic law. This influence became even stronger in Sweden when the theocratic monarchy and the orthodox clergy, by an addendum to the law, also introduced the death penalty of the Pentateuch for crimes against , including violence and verbal abuse against elderly parents. Since all prosecutions for crimes requiring the death penalty had to be tried in the court of appeal, the records of the appeal courts give an overall picture of the application of the law during a 250-year period. Prosecutions for crimes against parents increased during this period from just a few cases to a hundred per year. The death sentence was mitigated in the higher courts. The trend can be interpreted as an enforcement wave, but also as an expression of serious social unrest and economic conflicts in peasant society in the first half of the 19th century.
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