Did You Know… Trial by Ordeal


Did you know that the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II (1194-1250 AD), was the first king to outlaw Trial by Ordeal as he thought they were nonsensical.

Trial by Ordeal was a test administered to an accused party in the middle ages by a Court of Law to measure the innocence of the accused. It could be undertaken any number of ways from a sink/float water test, to a challenge that required pulling items out of boiling water/oil relatively unscathed, to eating extremely dry cake without choking to death, to many, many other methods of trial.

In 1215 Pope Innocent III banned the blessing of participants and the participation of clergy members in a Trial by Ordeal , but the Trials themselves didn’t discontinue until around the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

To learn more about Trial by Ordeal and what the ordeals consisted of visit A History of “Trial by Ordeal”.


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