Emperor Otto II:
Grant of Freedom from River Tolls, 976
The generosity of this grant of freedom from toll on the rivers of a whole kingdom
was prompted by the friendly aid of the people of Passau. It does not follow that such
freedom was absolute, older grants of tolls probably taking precedence.
Otto, by favor of Divine clemency, Emperor. Be it known to all people that our
beloved and faithful Pilgrim, venerable bishop of the church of Passau, has intimated to
us that the fealty and goodwill of the people of Passau has been an aid to our rule, and
he has asked and demanded that, in every way, they might receive some security of life and
tenure by our imperial action lest in future they be constrained by the exaction of any
tax. Also we ordered that those petitions of the said bishop should be answered so that
the inhabitants of the said city might not be compelled for the future to pay any toll in
going up or down any of the rivers of our kingdom, and that they may in no way be
compelled to give any tax for the land they possess in the same city, and that the tenants
of St. Mary's, both men and women, may not be harassed by any unjust enforcement of
servitude upon them in future....
Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Diplomata, Th. de Sickel, ed., (Hanover,
1888), Tome II, Part I, pp. 154-155; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A
Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936;
reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 402-403.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998