Recently, in the market, I saw a harried woman scrubbing her face with her hand as she spoke on her cell phone. She said, “I swear, my life is trial by ordeal”.
I was shocked that I remembered this phrase from high school English.
In the Middle Ages, the innocence or guilt of people suspected of crimes was determined in a trial by ordeal which was a painful, dangerous experience.
The ordeals included trial by fire (sound familiar?), hot iron, hot water, boiling oil, snakes and poison. There are others, but you get the idea.
Basically, if you survived, you were innocent. Scarred for life, but innocent.
In twelve fifteen, the Magna Carta was signed laying the foundation for the English legal system. Trial by ordeal was phased out in the 16th century.
Yes, our legal system is flawed, but it doesn’t look so bad now, does it?
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