Compurgation

Entertainment / Literature / Compurgation: In addition to trial by ordeal, compurgation was the medieval law practice among Christianized Anglo-Saxon tribes to determine innocence. A man accused of a crime would publicly swear to his innocence. The judge then gave the defendant thirty days to to collect a number of 'oath-helpers' who would also swear to his innocence (or at least his good character). If he was unable to find the required number, he was either found guilty or he could appeal to trial by ordeal. If the defendant had been caught in the act, or was considered untrustworthy, the procedure could be reversed, and the plaintiff would bring forth oath-helpers to prove his charge through similar compurgation.

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