compurgation


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com·pur·ga·tion

 (kŏm′pər-gā′shən)
n.
An ancient form of trial in which an accused person could call a number of people, usually 12, to swear to their belief in his or her innocence.

[Late Latin compūrgātiō, compūrgātiōn-, complete purification, from Latin compūrgātus, past participle of compūrgāre, to purify completely : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + pūrgāre, to purify; see peuə- in Indo-European roots.]

compurgation

(ˌkɒmpɜːˈɡeɪʃən)
n
(Law) law (formerly) a method of trial whereby a defendant might be acquitted if a sufficient number of persons swore to his innocence
[C17: from Medieval Latin compurgātiō, from Latin compurgāre to purify entirely, from com- (intensive) + purgāre to purge]
ˈcompurˌgator n
comˈpurgatory, comˌpurgaˈtorial adj

compurgation

formerly, in common law, acquittal on the basis of endorsement by the friends or neighbors of the accused. Also called trial by wager of law. — compurgator, n. — compurgatory, adj.
See also: Law
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) follows up with deep concern the use of violence and force by the police and security officers in Gaza to disperse a peaceful assembly organized by Fatah Movement in Palestine Square in Gaza City's Center on Monday, 31 December 2018, in compurgation of the 54th anniversary of founding Fatah Movement and beating up the participants, including leading figures.
The first was 'voluntarie, rash and unnecessarie swearing' issuing from a profane heart and careless of God; the second was judicial swearing, such as compurgation, which was equally wrong because men so often break oaths or swear things they cannot know: 'For Conscience not grounded upon sure Knowledge, is either an ignorant Fantasie, or an arrogant Vanitie'.
To be put to your law meant to be tried, normally by being required to take a formal oath that you were innocent of wrongdoing (as in "wager of law," commonly used in actions of debt), then usually followed by ordeal, compurgation, or inquest.
Trial by jury originated not as improvement over trial by judge, but to replace the outdated approaches of "compurgation" or "ordeal." Under "compurgation," a defendant could be acquitted of an accusation by obtaining a sufficient number of sworn statements by members of the community to support him.
Some have argued that the lex terrae should be read more narrowly to refer merely to a judgment of one's peers by the "time-honoured" tests: battle, compurgation, or ordeal, McKechnie, supra note 249, at 379, or to simply whatever procedures positive law required, see Walker v.
It is unclear to me why this should be the case, since the difficulties that gave rise to Slade's Case concerned the evidentiary problems not of written but of parole agreements once compurgation (calling God to witness) was felt to be an inadequate form of proof.
(17) The most common opinion is that "trial by jury was introduced into England by William the Conqueror, who added it to the three basic trial methods already practiced in England and on the Continent since Charlemagne: trial by compurgation, trial by battle, and trial by ordeal." (18)
performed trials by compurgation, in which the court added to the
(13) Anglo-Saxon England had two trial methods: compurgation, where 12 juratores (those sworn) evaluated a case using their knowledge of the disputants and the alleged offenses; and ordeal, such as ordeal by hot water/stone, by consecrated bread, or by cold water.
accumulates [s] its own irrefutability." The play refuses to allow "examination of evidence" to provide "a solution to Hero's plight," but instead foregrounds Benedick's "act of faith" in Beatrice and therefore in her "belief in her cousin's innocence"--an act of faith that, like "compurgation in medieval folklaw," is not a forensic strategy (344-45).
Clergymen were not only seen as sacerdotal figures who were assumed to be more trustworthy--hence they could prove their innocence by compurgation rather than trial by ordeal or combat--but were also among the only literate people in a largely illiterate society.