Outlaws and Highwaymen

Passages from John de Bromyard’s Summa Praedicantium
trans. Gillian Spraggs from Summa Praedicantium, by John Bromyard (Nuremberg, 1518); see Falsitas § 41; Civitas § 4; Falsitas § 11; Dominatio § 9

c. 1330

On account of its false men and the growing number of evil-doers, the country is becoming a scandal even among foreign nations; and the numbers of evil-doers increase on account, no doubt about it, of such false men and perjurers and supporters of bad men. Wicked men multiply and wicked deeds are perpetrated with insolence: robbing, mutilating, killing, breaking of arms and legs and cruelly beating, and all with the insolence of false men or of those who give them such powerful support in their wicked deeds, so that no one dares to indict them or put them in prison.

* * *

In secular or worldly society, robbers, murderers and suchlike are delivered from hanging because of their noble blood, or for money: for twelve robbers set free thirty in the face of the judge. ... And this is the reason why there are so many robbers and murderers: because in the country where there is no justice, robbers and murderers increase.

* * *

Robbers, murderers, fighters and false scoundrels find refuge under the ... protection of false men .... Dogs at the voice of the hunter are not more ready to seize on the prey ... than the same are to do whatever that great defender should say to them, whether he should want them to beat or loot or spoil or kill someone.

* * *

He who is able to bring in his following more robbers and murderers is the one who is master of all.

John de Bromyard

Translation, notes and page design © Gillian Spraggs 2001, 2007
Text added to site on 20 September 2001 | Page last modified on 28 August 2007

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