In this important study, Trevor Dean examines the history of crime and criminal justice in Italy from the mid-thirteenth to the end of the fifteenth century. The book contains studies of the most frequent types of prosecuted crime such as violence, theft and insult, along with the rarely prosecuted sorcery and sex crimes. Drawing on a diverse and innovative range of sources, including legislation, legal opinions, prosecutions, chronicles and works of fiction, Dean demonstrates how knowledge of the history of criminal justice can illuminate our wider understanding of the Middle Ages. Issues and instruments of criminal justice reflected the structure and operation of state power; they were an essential element in the evolution of cities and they provided raw material for fictions. Furthermore, the study of judicial records provides insight into a wide range of social situations, from domestic violence to the oppression of ethnic minorities.