Hot answers tagged

64 votes
Accepted

Could women be crucified under Roman law?

In Antiquities of the Jews, the ancient historian Josephus reported an incident where the Emperor Tiberius explicitly ordered a woman to be crucified: Mundus had a freedwoman, who had been made ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
59 votes
Accepted

Why can I visit battlefields, but not battleships?

Respect, preservation, and safety. While it's possible there may still be remains on a battlefield, people do their best to find and remove the bodies and bury them properly. Sunken ships often ...
user avatar
  • 52.6k
58 votes
Accepted

In ancient Rome, could free-born Romans become slaves?

That is for sure an overgeneralisation, but so is Wikipedia's. There are some elements of truth in both: Ancient Rome held that freedom could not be sold, and in principle a freeborn person could not ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
58 votes
Accepted

Why were Royal Navy ships forbidden to attack the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in Argentinian waters?

The exclusion zone mentioned in the article is described in the Wikipedia article as follows: The Total Exclusion Zone (TEZ) was an area declared by the United Kingdom on 30 April 1982 covering a ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
53 votes
Accepted

How common were marital duels in medieval Europe?

Not that common. Very curiously, we do not see husband and wife, necessarily, in these pictures. Talhoffer only writes of man ("er") and woman ("frow"). (More illustrations, with ...
user avatar
  • 73.7k
49 votes
Accepted

Were there any drunk driving laws before the automobile?

In the UK, the 1872 Licencing Act made it an offence to be: ... drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle, or steam engine, or who is drunk when in ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
48 votes

Is there a historical explanation as to why the USA people are so litigious compared to the French?

Very little scholarly work has apparently been done on this, so my answer will closely follow the article "The Culture of Tort Law in France" by Jean-Sébastien Borghetti (2012). The question ...
user avatar
  • 17.4k
48 votes

Why can I visit battlefields, but not battleships?

In the UK, the wreckage of military aircraft and designated military vessels is protected under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Only 12 vessels are currently designated as controlled ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
46 votes
Accepted

When and why did the use of the lifespans of royalty to limit clauses in contracts come about?

This is an attempt to escape the rule against perpetuities. No interest is good unless it must vest, if at all, not later than twenty-one years after some life in being at the creation of the ...
user avatar
  • 1,855
45 votes
Accepted

How did German unification affect existing sentences for criminal convicts?

Thanks to some hints provided in the comments to my original post here, I have been able to locate some sources that answer my questions, at least on a high level: Beginning in 1989, even before the ...
user avatar
  • 2,460
44 votes
Accepted

Why was "leaping into the river" a valid trial outcome to prove one's innocence?

It was a divine judgement in cases where the evidence was inconclusive and previous attempts to resolve the case had failed. In some cases at least, it was only used after other attempts at a ...
user avatar
42 votes
Accepted

Were there U.S. weapon restrictions during 19th century?

The official way we determine how the Constitution is "understood" is through US Supreme Court decisions, and there haven't been any on that particular subject. There have been basically 3 ...
user avatar
  • 109k
42 votes

How and when was the modern company ownership structure invented?

The governance model for early corporations is the chartered city; a community granted town privileges and, if also free, independence from feudal obligations to local sovereigns or lords and debt of ...
user avatar
40 votes

Was there a constitutional mechanism to overturn the election of Adolf Hitler?

There was a mechanism called voting against Hitler. Unfortunately, Hitler's opponents failed to set aside their differences and unite against him. It is important to realise that Hitler did not gain ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
39 votes
Accepted

Was Richard I's imprisonment by Leopold of Austria justified?

The Middle Ages was not particularly known for being a civil and orderly period. Leopold V had no authority of any kind to arrest Richard I. He did it simply because he wanted to, and could. The ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
38 votes

What were sandbags used for in medieval duels?

The sandbag is from a quintain, a "jousting dummy" if you will: On Offham green there stands a Quintain, a thing now rarely to be met with, being a machine much used in former times by youth, as ...
user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

Nuremberg Laws - Did they affect existing marriages between Jews and Non-Jews?

It is very rare for new laws to apply retroactively, even Hitler's Nuremberg Laws. In this case, the prohibition of mixed marriages did not apply to couples who were already married. However, as the ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
34 votes

Is there a historical explanation as to why the USA people are so litigious compared to the French?

While this isn't exactly a historical answer, it does provide a reasonable part of an explanation: Different people pay the costs in a lawsuit in the USA and France In France, the legal costs are paid ...
user avatar
  • 1,069
33 votes

What did an ancient Roman certificate of land ownership look like; or, what did it consist of?

Ancient Rome had land deeds and registrations. Most of it has long since been lost, but there are still plenty of examples. Note that Roman rule lasted a long time and stretched across three ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
33 votes

Were secret treaties ratified? How did they become official while remaining secret?

There are some misconceptions about what ratification means. Though it is now common for treaties to be ratified by a legislature, that has never been essential to the ratification process. In ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
33 votes

Who had the shortest time in going from imprisonment to head of state within democratic processes?

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 is a possible candidate. He was imprisoned in June 1995 on charges of being involved in plotting a coup and was released in June 1998. ...
user avatar
32 votes

How and when was the modern company ownership structure invented?

The Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) is generally seen as the first company with stocks, shareholders and board members. It didn't have 1 director, it had 17: "De Heren ...
user avatar
  • 17.2k
32 votes

Why was "leaping into the river" a valid trial outcome to prove one's innocence?

Peter Leeson from George Mason University has argued that medieval trial by ordeal worked because people believed that they worked. Thus, only the innocent were willing to undergo the ordeal. If this ...
user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

How did the US government manage to enforce the 1980 boycott of the Olympic Games in Russia?

Enforce is the wrong word to use here, because while the idea may have began with the US government, formally speaking the decision to participate or not rested with each National Olympic Committee. ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
28 votes
Accepted

Are there any accounts written by torturers on their actions?

Takashi Nagase wrote a book about his experiences during and after the Second World War entitled Crosses and Tigers, and financed a Buddhist temple on the Thai-Burma railway to atone for his actions ...
user avatar
  • 1,062
27 votes
Accepted

When did one-way mirrors become widely used by police?

Surprisingly enough, in England, screens for identity parades did not come in at all until the late 1980s. A poke around the British Newspaper Archive (paywall, sorry) found this article from Nov 1986,...
user avatar
  • 6,811
25 votes

What were the reasons for making Prohibition a constitutional amendment?

As other answers have mentioned, there were state and local laws that prohibited alcohol before the Constitutional amendment. And there is the obvious fact that a Constitutional amendment is a more ...
user avatar
  • 1,116
25 votes

What does it mean that the early supreme court "gave themselves" the power of judicial review?

It is in the Constitution - implicitly. The it "isn't anywhere in the constitution" argument is frequently popular to different groups on different topics, but in this case at least has no legal basis ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
25 votes
Accepted

When did the last Terra Nullius vanish from the earth?

I am talking about Terra nullius which are lands occupied by countries, not individuals. (Most of my answer is from the Wikipedia link. I picked the most important) You can find them in : Svalbard ...
user avatar
  • 1,610
25 votes
Accepted

In medieval Europe, were children born in an annulled marriage automatically illegitimate?

An annulment does not "break" a marriage, as does a divorce. It declares that the marriage never happened in the first place. This meant that the married couple would revert to their previous legal ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible