“The medieval period was rife with individuals who defied societal norms and pursued a life of crime. These notorious criminals, often surrounded by legends and myths, challenge our understanding of law and order in the Middle Ages.”Eric Jager, author of “Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris.”
Eustace was a notorious pirate and mercenary who operated during the 13th century. He terrorized the English Channel, attacking ships and coastal towns. Eustace was known for his brutality and cunning, and he was eventually captured and executed in 1217.
While the existence of Robin Hood as a historical figure is debated, he is a legendary outlaw who has become an iconic character in medieval folklore. Robin Hood was said to have lived in Sherwood Forest, robbing from the rich to give to the poor. His exploits and adventures have been immortalized in numerous ballads and tales.
Gilles de Rais was a French nobleman and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years’ War. However, he is also infamous for his dark side. Gilles de Rais was accused of engaging in a series of horrific crimes, including child murder, rape, and occult practices. He was arrested in 1440 and executed the following year.
Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula, ruled Wallachia (now part of modern-day Romania) in the 15th century. He gained a reputation for his extreme cruelty, particularly his preferred method of execution—impaling his enemies on long stakes. While Vlad the Impaler was a ruler rather than a common criminal, his actions have earned him notoriety throughout history.
Thomas de Torquemada was a Dominican friar who played a prominent role in the Spanish Inquisition during the late 15th century. As the Grand Inquisitor, he was responsible for the persecution and torture of thousands of people accused of heresy. Torquemada’s methods were ruthless, and he used his position to consolidate power and enforce religious orthodoxy.
“The stories of infamous criminals in the medieval period not only captivate our imagination but also provide us that even in an era defined by feudalism and hierarchy, there were those who dared to defy the established order and carve their own path through illicit means.”Karen Lamb, author of “Rogues and Villains: A Journey Through the Dark Side of Medieval Europe.”
These are just a few examples of individuals who gained infamy during the medieval period.
It’s worth noting that historical accounts can be subjective or exaggerated, and our understanding of these figures may be influenced by legends and folklore that have developed over time.