Justice and Lordship

  • David Herlihy
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The law of the Salian Franks was redacted in its earliest version, called the Pactus legis salicae, probably under the reign of Clovis, about 500. The following selections illustrate some of the principal characteristics of Germanic justice, which left to the family the chief responsibility for avenging wrongs but sought to regulate the vendetta through setting the monetary fines which could be demanded. The fines varied according to the degree of injury and the dignity of the person. The following translation is taken from A Source Book in Mediaeval History, eds. O. J. Thatcher and E. N. McNeal (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905), pp. 17–18. The phrase “send him to the third hand” in Section XLVII seems to mean that the person should have the property given to a third party until the case was settled. The Carbonaria mentioned is the Ardennes forest.


Thirteenth Century Peace Agreement Steel Blade Loud Voice Great Anger 
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© David Herlihy 1970

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  • David Herlihy

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