Council of Agde:
Concerning Slaves of the Church, 506
Manumitted slaves were given as freedmen reasonable liberty and holdings sufficient
for their sustenance. Freedom, once granted, was irrevocable, though excessive privileges
were not allowed. Moreover, those freed in the church had a guarantee of its protection
and the right of appeal to the bishop.
7. Concerning slaves of the Church, if any bishop shall reasonably have bestowed
liberty freely upon well-deserving cases, it is pleasing that the liberty conferred should
be cared for by his successors, with whatever the manumitter conferred on them in granting
liberty; yet nevertheless we order him to give them the sum of twenty solidi and to set
bounds to their lands, little vineyards, or house. Whatever was given above this the
Church will revoke after the death of the manumitter. But little things, or things less
useful to the Church, to pilgrims, or to the clergy, we permit to remain for their use,
saving the right of the Church.
29. The Church shall take care of freedmen legitimately freed by their masters
if necessity demands it; but if any one presume to plunder them or to oppress them before
the hearing of their case, he shall be prevented by the Church.
From: J. D. Mansi, ed., Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio,
(Paris: H. Welter, 1901), Vol. VIII, pp. 325, 329; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert
H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The
Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 280-281.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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