Now an esoteric of legal and criminal history, A Hangman’s Diary gives a year-by-year breakdown on all of Master Franz Schmidt’s executions, which included hangings, beheadings, and other methods, as well as details of each capital crime and the reason for the punishment.
From 1573 to 1617, Master Franz Schmidt was the executioner for the towns of Bamberg and Nuremberg. During that span, he personally executed more than 350 people while keeping a journal throughout his career.
A Hangman’s Diary is not only a collection of detailed writings by Schmidt about his work, but also an account of criminal procedure in Germany during the Middle Ages. With analysis and explanation, editor Albrecht Keller and translators C. Calvert and A. W. Gruner have put together a masterful tome that sets the scene of execution day and puts you in Master Franz Schmidt’s shoes as he does his duty for his country.
An unusual and fascinating classic of crime and punishment, A Hangman’s Diary is more than a history lesson; it shows the true anarchy that inhabited our world only a few hundred years ago.
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Master Franz Schmidt (15551634) was an executioner in Nuremberg. Starting the profession at age eighteen (under the supervision of his father), he performed more than 350 executions during his forty-five years of service.