The Barthélémi de Chasseneuz’s legal consultation

Think about a victim asking for a hearing in a court to make a legal consultation. Nothing realy exceptional, go back in time, you are at the beginning of the XVIth century and it is asked to this lawyer from Autun, Barthélemi de Chasseneuz whether it is appropriate to seek the excommunication of the insect species responsible for a plague in the vineyards of Beaune and Burgundy! Indeed, knowing the legitimacy of calling these "hurebers" before a court of law: would they be required to appear in person, or could be represented by their defenders? You know what? Yes!!! A careful reading of the archives confirmed that the judge could indeed appoint an ex officio defender to advocate for his assigned clients, the insects, and apologize for their non-appearance. The insects could be summonsed, then, but to which court? The ecclesiastical judge of Beaune was chosen to bring to justice these insects “who”, according to Chasseneuz, were punishable by excommunication and could have a curse placed upon them until such time as they left the scene of the crime.

Trials of this kind rapidly became a form of masquerade. The same legal specialist appeared in 1510 to plead the cause of the rats of Autun: he sought an additional adjournment for his "clients", since the previous adjournment had not followed due process. These practices became established in jurisprudence, and it goes without saying that they offered great benefits for the clergy, including total control over the minds of an illiterate, naive and very superstitious population along with an inexhaustible source of legal fees.