The significance of ransoming has long been recognised by students of medieval chivalry and diplomacy. Seen as key to the development of an international aristocratic ethic that mitigated some of the worst excesses of medieval combat the ransom system led to a pan-European conception of a chivalric brotherhood.
The word ‘hostage’ might immediately bring to mind hostile situations: the entrapment of a wealthy businessman’s daughter in exchange for money, a terrorist incident (1) or a manifestation of domestic abuse.(2) However, the meaning of hostageship has undergone many transformations over time, some of which are brought under the microscope Profe
Martial law does not have a good reputation. William Blackstone set the tone of modern attitudes in the 18th century. Martial law is ‘built upon no settled principles ... entirely arbitrary in its decisions ... no law, but something indulged, rather than allowed as a law’ (quoted at p. 251).