The Forefathers of Terrorism investigates the beginnings of organized political crime. Ever since the beginnings of the modern state in the late Middle Ages, the state has been challenged by terrorist violence. This book explores the origins and development of two essential forms of terrorism, the assassination of rulers and attacks on the civilian population, explaining how the fight against political crime helped to shape the modern state itself. From the 13th century onward, the seemingly modern crime of terrorism featured under various guises in the legal traditions of Britain and Continental Europe, including High Treason, Conspiracy and Laesae Majestatis. In a series of cases studies the book discusses failed and successful assassinations of early modern rulers, including Elizabeth I, Cromwell, George III, Henry IV and Louis XV of France, and attacks on the civilian population, such as mass poisoning and arson. Via these studies, Johannes Dillinger demonstrates that the fear of terrorist violence is as old as the Western state itself.