Carolingian Capitularies on Serfs & Coloni, 803-821
Charlemagne's legislation shows on the one hand protection of the serf both in
status and place of residence, and on the other a spirit of independence which manifested
itself in many parts of France, Germany, and Italy in the eighth and ninth centuries.
Capitulary given at Diedenhofen (Thionville), c. 803-813.
4. That fiscalini or coloni or serfs dwelling on the domain of
another, on being required by their former lord, shall not be given to him except for the
former place; where it was first seen that they had lived, thither they shall be returned,
and diligent inquiry shall be made concerning their status and the status of their
Capitulary at Diedenhofen (Thionville), 821.
1. If a crowd of serfs assembles and disobediently does violence to any one, i.e.,
homicide, arson, or destruction of anything, let the lords whose negligence permits this
be compelled to pay our ban for it, i.e., sixty solidi, since they are not willing to
restrain them from daring to do such things.
7. As for the conspiracies of serfs concocted in Flanders, Brabant, and other
maritime places, we wish it to be made known to the lords of those serfs by our missi,
that they should restrain them from presuming to make more plans of such a nature. And if
the lords themselves of these serfs know that the serfs of any one have presumed to
conspire in this way, after our order has been made known to them, the lords themselves
ought to pay our ban, i.e., sixty solidi.
From: A. Boretius, ed., Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Legum, (Hanover,
1883), Sectio II, Tome I, p. 143; J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus,
(Paris, 1862), Vol. XCVII, pp. 443-445; 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. 273-274
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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