Shipboard punishments for mutiny, 1555
Shipboard punishments for mutiny, 1555.

In the early modern world, penal systems generally operated on the principle of deterrence rather than rehabilitation. Severe methods of punishment were established in order to terrorize the populace into lawful behaviour. This woodcut from Olaus Magnus' Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus: Romæ 1555 (Description of the Northern Peoples: Rome 1555) illustrates several different shipboard punishments. It is probable that penalties similar to these were also carried out by Newfoundland fishing admirals, who were responsible for administering justice, during this era.

From Samuel Eliot Morison, The Great Explorers: The European Discovery of America (New York: Oxford University Press, © 1978) 23. Courtesy of Harvard College Library.
Natural Environment - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home