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By Jean Dunbabin
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Extra info for Captivity and Imprisonment in Medieval Europe, C. 1000-C. 1300
13 Most of the arguments are not relevant to the subject of this chapter, though we shall return to them in Chapter 4. But Duby’s work has focused attention on castle-building all over western Europe in the decades after 1000, on possible links between what can be deduced from charters and the fragmentary archaeological remains, and on a style of building that once again facilitated imprisonment. We are also indebted to Duby for a view of what he initially called ‘feudal lordship’, the power wielded by the lords of these castles, a power based on military force and on the exaction from the local population of what came to be called ‘evil customs’, malae consuetudines.
But neck collars could also be used in moving prisoners, taking them to jail or elsewhere. 3 The offenders will in any case have been secured in some way that forced them to keep moving along with the soldiers. Neck collars could also be used in confined spaces. 4 In this case, as with the serf of Noblat, the victim’s fear of choking or suffocating was dwelt upon by the narrator. While neck collars were almost impossible to escape from without divine aid, their cruelty was only too obvious, which may explain why they are less often mentioned in sources later than the eleventh century.
But in Italy, social status was not necessarily forgotten in the actual construction of urban jails. 64 A different kind of social separation obtained in Cambrai where, in the thirteenth century, the jail had relatively airy and clean private rooms on its top floor for those of high status or deep pockets. It is interesting that enough of such people made their way into incarceration for special arrangements to be made for them. 65 Whether there were dungeons below the common rooms is unclear from the surviving text.