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Early Germanic law was the form of law followed by the early
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

Germanic peoples
. It was an important element of
early Germanic culture Early Germanic culture refers to the culture of the early Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors. They are also associ ...
. Several Latin
law code A code of law, also called a law code or legal code, is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification. ...
s of the
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

Germanic peoples
written in the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
after the
Fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast ...
(also known as ''leges barbarorum'' "laws of the
barbarians A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
") survive, dating to between the fifth and ninth centuries. They are influenced by
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
,
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
, and earlier tribal customs. Central and West European Germanic law differed from North Germanic law. Germanic law was codified in writing under the influence of Roman law; previously it was held in the memory of designated individuals who acted as judges in confrontations and meted out justice according to customary rote, based on careful memorization of
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government inst ...
. Among the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
they were called ''rachimburgs''. "Living libraries, they were law incarnate, unpredictable and terrifying." Power, whose origins were at once said to be magical, divine, and military, was, according to Michel Rouche, exercised jointly by the "throne-worthy" elected king and his free warrior companions. Oral law sufficed as long as the
warband
warband
was not settled in one place. Germanic law made no provisions for the public welfare, the ''
res publica ''Res publica'' (also spelt as ''rēs pūblica'' to indicate vowel length In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stu ...
'' of Romans. The language of all these continental codes was
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
; the only known codes drawn up in any
Germanic language The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...
were the
Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medi ...
s, beginning with the Laws of Æthelberht (7th century). In the 13th century customary Saxon law was codified in the vernacular as the ''
Sachsenspiegel The (; gml, Sassen Speyghel; modern nds, Sassenspegel; all literally "Saxon Mirror") is the most important law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of ru ...

Sachsenspiegel
''. All these laws may be described in general as codes of governmental procedure and
tariff A tariff is a tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated el ...
s of compositions. They all present somewhat similar features with
Salic law#REDIRECT Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Franks, Salian Frankish Civil law (legal system), civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis I, Clovis. The written text is in La ...
, the best-known example, but often differ from it in the date of compilation, the amounts of fines, the number and nature of the crimes, the number, rank, duties and titles of the officers, etc. In Germanic Europe in the Early Middle Ages, every man was tried according to the laws of his own ethnicity, whether Roman, Salian or Ripuarian Frank, Frisian, Burgundian, Visigoth, Bavarian etc. A number of separate codes were drawn up specifically to deal with cases between ethnic Romans. These codes differed from the normal ones that covered cases between Germanic peoples, or between Germanic people and Romans. The most notable of these are the ''Lex Romana Visigothorum'' or ''
Breviary of Alaric The ''Breviary of Alaric'' (''Breviarium Alaricianum'' or ''Lex Romana Visigothorum'') is a collection of Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of juris ...
'' (506), the ''
Lex Romana Curiensis The ''Lex Romana Curiensis'' ("Roman Law of Chur"), also known as the ''Lex Romana Raetica'', ''Lex Romana Utinensis'' or ''Epitome Sancti Galli'', is a Middle Latin, Latin legal treatise of the eighth century from the region of Churraetia.Floyd Se ...
'' and the ''
Lex Romana Burgundionum The ''Lex Burgundionum'' (Latin for Burgundian Laws, also ''Lex Gundobada'') refers to the law code of the Burgundians, probably issued by king Gundobad. It is influenced by Roman law and deals with domestic laws concerning marriage and inheritanc ...
''.


Tacitus

Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
in his ''
Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "barbarian") is a geographical name used by ...
'' gives an account of the legal practice of the
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

Germanic peoples
of the first century. Tacitus reports that criminal cases were put before the
thing Thing or The Thing may refer to: Philosophy * An object (philosophy), object, being, or entity * Thing-in-itself (or ''noumenon''), the reality that underlies perceptions, a term coined by Immanuel Kant * Thing theory, a branch of critical the ...
(tribal assembly). Lighter offenses were regulated with
damages At common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary ...
(paid in livestock), paid in part to the victim (or their family) and in part to the king. The
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

death penalty
was reserved for two kinds of capital offenses: military treason or desertion was punished by
hanging Hanging is the suspension of a person by a noose A noose is a loop at the end of a rope in which the knot tightens under load and can be loosened without untying the knot. The knot can be used to secure a rope to a post, pole, or animal but ...

hanging
, and corporal infamy (rape) by throwing the condemned into a
bog A bog or bogland is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes ...
. The difference in punishment is explained by the idea that "glaring iniquities" must be exposed in plain sight, while "effeminacy and pollution" should best be buried and concealed. Minor legal disputes were settled on a day-to-day basis by elected chiefs assisted by elected officials.


Principles

The Germanic law codes are designed for a clearly stratified society fixated on castes determined by descent or
kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states th ...

kinship
. Legal status, and therefore freedom, was based on a person's caste, discriminating between royals and two or three successive castes of nobility, where the lower were reckoned as peasants or freemen ( OE , OHG ), and those who are laymen, or bondmen ( ON ). Accordingly, descent (nativitate) was determining who would attend the various things (house-things, local things, regional things and inter-regional or royal things). Thus the bondmen were ''ipso facto'' represented by their family-heads – the local nobility – on the regional things of the nobles. The same differentiation (in castes) defined who could convey and inherit property. In regulation of tribal feuds and
weregeld Weregild (also spelled wergild, wergeld (in archaic/historical usage of English), weregeld, etc.), also known as man price ( blood money), was established on a person's life, paid as a fine or compensatory damages to the family when that person' ...
a similar discrimination is seen. At the head of the nobility (, , and freemen) was the
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
overseeing the laws, rights and privileges. Under the king came the highborn nobility (OE , OS ,
Germ
Germ
) and the middle nobility (OE , OS/OHG , ON ). The lower nobility were the ordinary freemen (OE , Frankish , Burgundian ). Under these (peasants or freemen) came the serfs – as in 'laymen'. Skilled serfs permitted to leave their homesteads were often called 'leysing' or 'free-men' (OE , , MDu , , ON ). Otherwise common
laymen In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over ...
were addressed as 'tjod' (OE , OHG , OMG ''deut'', ON , Goth ). As the Roman church gained political power in Europe this system was augmented by incorporating a separate class of
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
, where their
bishops A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denom ...

bishops
were to be considered of equal status as a nobleman. The Germanic law system is in principle based on
compensation Compensation may refer to: *Financial compensation *Compensation (chess), various advantages a player has in exchange for a disadvantage *Compensation (engineering) *Compensation (essay), ''Compensation'' (essay), by Ralph Waldo Emerson *Compensati ...
rather than revenge. Any injury must be compensated according to the damage done, regardless of motive or intent. Even for crimes like murder, the compensation is a
weregeld Weregild (also spelled wergild, wergeld (in archaic/historical usage of English), weregeld, etc.), also known as man price ( blood money), was established on a person's life, paid as a fine or compensatory damages to the family when that person' ...
, a fixed amount depending on the sex and social status of the victim. The practice of paying part of the damages to the king survives in the earliest Anglo-Saxon law code (Laws of Æthelberht of
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
), under the term ''drihtinbeah'', but seems to have been discontinued after
Christianisation Christianization (American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, or Christianisation) was the Conversion to Christianity, conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity in the Rom ...
. As thralls are considered the property of their lord, crimes committed by thralls must be compensated by their masters just like damage caused by animals. The most extreme punishment for crimes considered irredeemable seems to be
outlawry An outlaw is a person declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, all legal protection was withdrawn from the criminal, so that anyone was legally empowered to persecute or kill them. Outlawry was thus one of the hars ...
, i.e. the declaration of the guilty party as beyond the protection of the law. In most instances this may have been equivalent to a
death sentence Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...
in practice, but the actual death penalty seems to have been foreseen only for very rare cases, such as sexual crimes (rape, adultery, promiscuity), religious crimes (incest) or crimes against the king (treason, rebellion). Alamannic law also foresees the death penalty for plotting to assassinate the
duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a , or of a member of , or . As rulers, dukes are ranked below s, s, s, s, and sovereign s. As royalty or nobility, they are ranked below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...
, and for military treason (assisting enemies or causing rebellion in the army), but in these cases the penalty may also be outlawry or a fine, depending on the judgement of the duke or the chieftains. The
weregeld Weregild (also spelled wergild, wergeld (in archaic/historical usage of English), weregeld, etc.), also known as man price ( blood money), was established on a person's life, paid as a fine or compensatory damages to the family when that person' ...
was set at a basic amount of 200
shilling The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-D ...
s, which could be multiplied depending on the status (descent, caste) of the victim. In Anglo-Saxon law, the regular freeman is known as a ''two-hynde man'' ("a man worth 200"), and noblemen are either ''six-hynde man'' (threefold weregeld) or ''twelve-hynde man'' (sixfold weregeld). In Alamannic law, the basic weregeld for a freeman is likewise 200 shillings. Alamannic tradition is particular in doubling the fee if the victim was a woman, so that the weregeld for a free woman is 400 shillings. The weregeld for a priest is threefold, i.e. 600 shillings. Alamannic law further introduces the concept of premeditated
murder Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification (jurisprudence), justification or valid excuse (legal), excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. ("The killing of another person w ...

murder
(as opposed to deaths by accident or in combat), which is fined by ninefold weregeld. The Anglo-Saxon '' Norðleoda laga'' ("North-people's law") is unique in setting an explicit amount for a king's weregeld, at 30,000 , explaining that 15,000 is for the man (the same amount as for an atheling or an archbishop) and another 15,000 for the damage to the kingdom. Unlike
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
, Germanic law mentions cruentation as a means to prove guilt or innocence.


Individual law codes

The principal ancient Germanic law codes are:


Visigothic law codes

Compared with other barbarian tribes, the Goths had the longest time of contact with Roman civilization, from migration in 376 to trade interactions years beforehand. The Visigothic legal attitude held that laws were created as new offenses of justice arose, and that the king's laws originated from God and His justice-scriptural basis. Mercifulness (''clementia'') and a paternal feeling (''pietas'') were qualities of the king exhibited through the laws. The level of severity of the law was "tempered" by this mercy, specifically for the poor; it was thought that by showing paternal love in formation of law, the legislator gained the love of citizen. While the monarch's position was implicitly supreme and protected by laws, even kings were subject to royal law, for royal law was thought of as God's law. In theory, enforcement of the law was the duty of the king, and as the sovereign power he could ignore previous laws if he desired, which often led to complications. To regulate the king's power, all future kings took an oath to uphold the law. While the Visigoths' law code reflected many aspects of Roman law, over time it grew to define a new society's requirements and opinions of law's significance to a particular people. It is certain that the earliest written code of the
Visigoths The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe a ...
dates to
Euric Euric (Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic l ...
(471). Code of Euric (''Codex Euricianus''), issued between 471 and 476, has been described as "the best legislative work of the fifth century". It was created to regulate the Romans and Goths living in Euric's kingdom, where Romans greatly outnumbered Goths. The code borrowed heavily from the Roman Theodosian Code (''Codex Theodosianus'') from the early fifth century, and its main subjects were Visigoths living in Southern France. It contained about 350 clauses, organized by chapter headings; about 276 to 336 of these clauses remain today. Besides his own constitutions, Euric included in this collection the unwritten constitutions of his predecessors
Theodoric I Theodoric I ( got, Þiudarīks; la, Theodericus; 390 or 393 – 20 or 24 June 451) was the King of the Visigoths from 418 to 451. Theodoric is famous for his part in defeating Attila (the Hun) at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451, wher ...
(419-451),
Thorismund Thorismund (also Thorismod or Thorismud, as manuscripts of our chief source confusingly attestJordanes, ''De origine actibusque Getarum'' (''Getica'') 81, 174, 190, 201 and elsewhere.) ( 420–453), became king of the Visigoths The Visigoths (; ...
(451-453), and
Theodoric II Theodoric II, ''Teodorico'' in Spanish and Portuguese, ( 426 – early 466) was the eighth King of Visigoths from 453 to 466. Theoderic II, son of Theodoric I, obtained the throne by killing his elder brother Thorismund. The English historian ...
(453-466), and he arranged the whole in a logical order. Of the Code of Euric, fragments of chapters 276 to 337 have been discovered in a palimpsest manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale at
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
(Latin coll, No. 12161), proving that the code ran over a large area. Euric's code was used for all cases between
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between West ...
, and between them and
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
; in cases between Romans,
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
was used. At the insistence of Euric's son,
Alaric II Alaric II ( got, 𐌰𐌻𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃, , "ruler of all"; la, Alaricus; August 507) was the in 484–507. He succeeded his father as king of the in on 28 December 484; he was the great-grandson of the more famous , who sacked Rom ...
, an examination was made of the Roman laws in use among Romans in his dominions, and the resulting compilation was approved in 506 at an assembly at Aire, in
Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region ...
, and is known as the
Breviary of Alaric The ''Breviary of Alaric'' (''Breviarium Alaricianum'' or ''Lex Romana Visigothorum'') is a collection of Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of juris ...
, and sometimes as the ''Liber Aniani'', from the fact that the authentic copies bear the signature of the ''
referendariusReferendary is a number of administrative positions, of various rank, in chanceries and other official organizations in Europe. Pre-modern history The office of ' (plural: ', from the Latin ', "I inform") existed at the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine ...
'' Anian. organized by chapter headings; about 276 to 336 of these clauses remain today. In 506 CE, Alaric II, son of Euric, assembled the council of Agde to issue the Breviary of Alaric (''Lex Romana Visigothorum''), applying specifically to Hispano-Roman residents of the Iberian Peninsula, where Alaric had migrated the Visigoth population. Both the Code of Euric and Breviary of Alaric borrowed heavily from the Theodosian Code. Euric, for instance, forbade intermarriage between Goths and Romans, which was already expressed in the ''Codex Theodosianus''. The ''Lex Romana Visigothorum'' remained a source of law in the area that later became southern France long after it had been superseded in the Iberian peninsula by the ''Lex Visigothorum'' (see below). Euric's code remained in force among the
Visigothic The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
Kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...

Kingdom
of
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testame ...

Hispania
(the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...

Iberian Peninsula
) until the reign of
Liuvigild Liuvigild, Leuvigild, Leovigild, or ''Leovigildo'' ( Spanish and Portuguese), ( 519 – 21 April 586) was a Visigothic The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrog ...
(568-586), who made a new one, the Codex Revisus, improving upon that of his predecessor. This work is lost, and we have no direct knowledge of any fragment of it. In the third codification, however, many provisions have been taken from the second, and these are designated by the word ''antiqua''; by means of these ''antiqua'' we are enabled in a certain measure to reconstruct the work of Leovigild. After the reign of Leovigild, the legislation of the Visigoths underwent a transformation. New laws made by the kings were declared to be applicable to all subjects in the kingdom, of whatever race; in other words, they became territorial; and this principle of territoriality was gradually extended to the ancient code. Moreover, the conversion of
Reccared Reccared I (or Recared; la, Reccaredus; es, Recaredo; 559 – December 601 AD; reigned 586–601) was Visigothic King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezah ...
(586-601) from
Arianism Arianism is a Christology, Christological doctrine first attributed to Arius (), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt. Arian theology holds that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father and is distinct from th ...
to orthodox Christianity effaced the religious differences among his subjects, and all subjects, being
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...

Christians
, had to submit to the canons of the councils, made obligatory by the kings. In 643, Visigoth king
Chindasuinth Chindasuinth (also spelled Chindaswinth, Chindaswind, Chindasuinto, Chindasvindo, or Khindaswinth (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...

Chindasuinth
(642-653) proposed a new
Visigothic Code The cover of an edition of the Liber Iudiciorum from 1600. The Visigothic Code ( la, Forum Iudicum, Liber Iudiciorum; es, Libro de los Jueces, Book of the Judges), also called ''Lex Visigothorum'' (English: Law of the Visigoths), is a set of laws f ...
, the ''Lex Visigothorum'' (also called the ''Liber Iudiciorum'' or ''Forum Iudicium''), which replaced both the Code of Euric and the Breviary of Alaric. His son,
Recceswinth Recceswinth, also known as Reccesuinth, Recceswint, Reccaswinth (English), Recesvinto ( Spanish, Galician and Portuguese), Rekkeswint ( German), Réceswinthe (French), Recceswinthus, Reccesvinthus, and Recesvindus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is ...
(649-672), refined this code in its rough form and issued it officially in 654. This code applied equally to both Goths and Romans, presenting "a sign of a new society of Hispania developing in the seventh century, distinctly different from Gothic or Roman". The ''Liber Iudiciorum'' also marked a shift in the view of the power of law in reference to the king. It stressed that the ''Liber Iudiciorum'' alone is law, absent of any relation to any kingly authority, instead of the king being the law and the law merely an expression of his decisions. The lacunae in these fragments have been filled by the aid of the law of the
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
ns, where the chief Divisions are reintroduced, divided into 12 books, and subdivided into ''tituli'' and chapters (''aerae''). It comprises 324 constitutions taken from Leovigild's collection, a few of the laws of Reccared and Sisebur, 99 laws of Chindasuinth, and 87 of Reccasuinth. A recension of this code of Reccasuinth was made in 681 by King
Erwig Erwig ( la, Flavius Ervigius; after 642 – 687) was a king of the Visigoths in Hispania (680–687). Parentage According to the 9th-century ''Chronicle of Alfonso III'', Erwig was the son of Ardabast, who had journeyed from the Byzantine Empire t ...
(680-687), and is known as the ''Lex Wisigothorum renovate''; and, finally, some ''additamenta'' were made by
Ergica Egica, Ergica, or Egicca (''c''. 610 – 701x703), was the Visigoth Visigothic kingdom, King of Hispania and Septimania from 687 until his death. He was the son of Ariberga and the brother-in-law of Wamba (king), Wamba. Accession He was marrie ...
(687-702). The ''Liber Iudiciorum'' makes several striking differences from Roman law, especially concerning the issue of inheritance. According to the ''Liber Iudiciorum'', if incest is committed, the children can still inherit, whereas in Roman law the children were disinherited and could not succeed. Title II of Book IV outlines the issue of inheritance under the newly united Visigothic Code: section 1, for instance, states that sons and daughters inherit equally if their parents die instate, section 4 says that all family members should inherit if no will exists to express the intentions of the deceased, and the final section expresses a global law of Recceswinth, stating that anyone left without heirs has the power to do what they want with their possessions. This statement recalls the Roman right for a person to leave his possessions to anyone in his will, except this Visigothic law emphasizes males and females equally, whereas, in Roman law, only males (particularly the ''pater familias'') are allowed to make a will.


Lex Burgundionum

This is the
law code A code of law, also called a law code or legal code, is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification. ...
of the
Burgundians The Burgundians ( la, Burgundiōnes, Burgundī; on, Burgundar; ang, Burgendas; grc-gre, Βούργουνδοι) were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germa ...
, probably issued by king
Gundobad Gundobad ( la, Flavius Gundobadus; french: Gondebaud, Gondovald; 452 – 516 AD) was King of Burgundy, King of the Burgundians (473 – 516), succeeding his father Gundioc of Burgundy. Previous to this, he had been a Patrician (ancient Rome), ...
. It is influenced by
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
and deals with domestic laws concerning marriage and inheritance as well as regulating
weregild Weregild (also spelled wergild, wergeld (in archaic/historical usage of English), weregeld, etc.), also known as man price (blood money Blood money may refer to: * Blood money (restitution), money paid to the family of a murder victim Films ...
and other penalties. Interaction between Burgundians is treated separately from interaction between Burgundians and
Gallo-Roman Gallo-Roman culture was a consequence of the Romanization (cultural), Romanization of Gauls, Gaulish peoples under the rule of the Roman Empire. It was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman culture, Roman culture, languag ...
s. The law of the Burgundians shows strong traces of Roman influence. It recognizes the will and attaches great importance to written deeds, but on the other hand sanctions the judicial duel and the ''cojuratores'' (sworn witnesses). The oldest of the 14 surviving manuscripts of the text dates to the ninth century, but the code's institution is ascribed to king Gundobad (died 516), with a possible revision by his successor
SigismundSigismund (variants: Sigmund (given name), Sigmund, :de:Siegmund, Siegmund) is a German proper name, meaning "protection through victory", from Old High German ''sigu'' "victory" + ''munt'' "hand, protection". Tacitus latinises it ''Segimundus''. The ...

Sigismund
(died 523). The ''
Lex Romana Burgundionum The ''Lex Burgundionum'' (Latin for Burgundian Laws, also ''Lex Gundobada'') refers to the law code of the Burgundians, probably issued by king Gundobad. It is influenced by Roman law and deals with domestic laws concerning marriage and inheritanc ...
'' is a separate code, containing various laws taken from Roman sources, probably intended to apply to the
Burgundians The Burgundians ( la, Burgundiōnes, Burgundī; on, Burgundar; ang, Burgendas; grc-gre, Βούργουνδοι) were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germa ...
' Gallo-Roman subjects. The oldest copy of this text dates to the seventh century.


Lex Salica

The exact origins of the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
are uncertain: they were a group of Germanic peoples that settled in the lower regions of the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
river. They were not a unified people at the start of the third century but consisted of many tribes which were loosely connected with one another. Although they were intertwined with the Roman Empire the Franks were not a part of it. "No large body of Franks was admitted into the Empire, but individuals and small groups did cross."Katherine Fischer Drew, The laws of the Salian Franks (Pactus legis Salicae), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (1991). The Romans were seen as a lower rank in Frankish society. With larger numbers the Franks over took the region of the Rhine. Latin became the secondary language to the Germanic one of the Franks and Frankish law took precedence among the people. The Romans even embraced the "Barbarians" to the north at times, making them allies to fight off the
Huns The Huns were a nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral ...

Huns
. The Franks were broken down into east and west regions. The Eastern Franks were known as the
Ripuarians Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks (Latin: ''Ripuarii'' or ''Ribuarii'') were one of the two main groupings of early Frankish people, and specifically it was the name eventually applied to the tribes who settled in the old Roman territory of the Ubii, ...
and those west of the Rhine were known as the
Salian Franks The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
. It was King
Clovis Clovis may refer to: People * Clovis (given name), the early medieval (Frankish) form of the name Louis ** Clovis I (c. 466 – 511), the first king of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler ** Clovis II (c. 634 – c. 657), ...

Clovis
who united the Franks under one law after defeating his rivals in 509 AD. It is during this time of unification that King Clovis developed the Salic Law. The Lex Salica was a similar body of law to the Lex Burgundionum. It was compiled between 507 and 511 AD. The body of law deals with many different aspects of Frank society. The charges range from inheritance to murder and theft. The Salic law was used to bring order to Frank society, the main punishment for crimes being a fine with a worth designated to the type of crime. The law uses capital punishment only in cases of witchcraft and poisoning. This absence of violence is a unique feature of the Salic Law. The code was originally brought about by the Frankish King Clovis. The code itself is a blue print for Frankish society and how the social demographics were assembled. One of the main purposes of the Salic Law is to protect a family's inheritance in the agnatic succession. This emphasis on inheritance made the Salic Law a synonym for
agnatic succession Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although ...
, and in particular for the "fundamental law" that no woman could be king of France. The use of fines as the main reparation made it so that those with the money to pay the fine had the ability to get away with the most heinous of crimes. "Those who commit rape shall be compelled to pay 2500 denars, which makes 63 shillings." Rape was not the only detailed violent crime. The murder of children is broken down by age and gender, and so is the murder of women. Paying fines broke the society into economic and social demographics in that the wealthy were free to do as much as they could afford, whereas the fines themselves placed different values on the gender and ethnic demographics. This social capital is evident in the differences in the Salic Law's punishment for murder based on a woman's ability to bear children. Women who could bear children were protected by a 600 shilling fine while the fine for murdering a woman who could no longer bear children was only 200 shillings. All crimes committed against Romans had lesser fines than other social classes. In the case of inheritance, it is made very clear that all property belongs to the males in the family. This also means that all debt also belongs to the males of the family. The Salic Law outlines a unique way of securing the payment of money owed. It is called the ''Chrenecruda'' (or ''crenecruda'', , ''crinnecruda''). In cases where the debtor could not pay back a loan in full they were forced to clear out everything from their home. If the debt still could not be paid off the owner could collect dust from all four corners of the house and cross the threshold. The debtor then turned and face the house with their next of kin gathered behind them. The debtor threw the dust over their shoulder. The person (or persons) that the dust fell upon was then responsible for the payment of the debt. The process continued through the family until the debt was paid. ''Chrenecruda'' helped secure loans within the Frankish society. It intertwined the loosely gathered tribes and helped to establish government authority. The process made a single person part of a whole group. The Salic Law exists in two forms: the ''Pactus Legis Salicae'', which is near to the original form approved by Clovis, and the ''Lex Salica'', which is the edited form approved by
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
. Both are published in the
Monumenta Germaniae Historica The ''Monumenta Germaniae Historica'' (MGH) is a comprehensive series of carefully edited and published primary source In the study of history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece ...

Monumenta Germaniae Historica
's ''Leges'' series.


Lex Ripuaria

In the first half of the seventh century the
Ripuarian Franks Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks (Latin: ''Ripuarii'' or ''Ribuarii'') were one of the two main groupings of early Frankish people The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman s ...
received the Ripuarian law, a law code applying only to them, from the dominating
Salian Franks The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
. The Salians, following the custom of the Romans before them, were mainly re-authorizing laws already in use by the Ripuarians, so that the latter could retain their local constitution. The law of the Ripuarians contains 89 chapters and falls into three heterogeneous divisions. Chapters 1-31 consist of a scale of compositions; but, although the fines are calculated, not on the unit of 15 ''solidi'', as in the
Salic Law#REDIRECT Salic law The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), or the was the ancient Salian Franks, Salian Frankish Civil law (legal system), civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis I, Clovis. The written text is in La ...
, but on that of 18 ''solidi'', it is clear that this part is already influenced by the Salic Law. Chapters 32-64 are taken directly from the Salic Law; the provisions follow the same arrangement; the unit of the compositions is 15 ''solidi''; but capitularies are interpolated relating to the affranchisement and sale of immovable property. Chapters 65-89 consist of provisions of various kinds, some taken from lost capitularies and from the Salic Law, and others of unknown origin. The compilation apparently goes back to the reign of
Dagobert I Dagobert I ( la, Dagobertus; 603 – 19 January 639 AD) was the king of Austrasia Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The ...
(629-639)


Pactus Alamannorum and Lex Alamannorum

Of the laws of the
Alamanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes and civilisations in anci ...
, who dwelt between the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
and the Lech, and spread over
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German Low Alemannic German (german: Niederalemannisch) is a branch of Alemannic German Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialects. The name derives from the ancie ...

Alsace
and what is now Switzerland to the south of
Lake Constance Lake Constance (german: Bodensee, ) refers to three bodies of water A body of water or waterbody (often spelled water body) is any significant accumulation of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorl ...

Lake Constance
, we possess two different texts. The earlier text, of which five short fragments have come down to us, is known as the ''Pactus Alamannorum'', and judging from the persistent recurrence of the expression ''et sic convenit'', was most probably drawn up by an official commission. The reference to shows that it was composed after the conversion of the Alamanni to
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
. There is no doubt that the text dates back at least to the reign of the Frankish king
Dagobert I Dagobert I ( la, Dagobertus; 603 – 19 January 639 AD) was the king of Austrasia Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The ...
, i.e. to the first half of the seventh century. The later text, known as the ''Lex Alamannorum'', dates from a period when Alamannia was independent under national
duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a , or of a member of , or . As rulers, dukes are ranked below s, s, s, s, and sovereign s. As royalty or nobility, they are ranked below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...

duke
s, but recognized the theoretical suzerainty of the Frankish kings. There seems no reason to doubt the St. Gall manuscript, which states that the law had its origin in an agreement between the great Alamannic lords and Duke
Lantfrid Lantfrid (also ''Landfrid'' or ''Lanfred'', Latinised ''Lantfridus'' or ''Lanfredus'') (died 730) was duke of Alamannia Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman '' ...
, who ruled the
duchy A duchy, also called a dukedom, is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affair ...
from 709 to 730.


Leges Langobardorum

We possess a fair amount of information on the origin of the code of laws of the
Lombards The Lombards () or Langobards ( la, Langobardi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on ...
. The first part, consisting of 388 chapters, also known as the ''Edictus Langobardorum'', and was promulgated by King
Rothari Rothari (or Rothair), ( 606 – 652), of the house of Arodus, was king of the Lombards The Kings of the Lombards or ''reges Langobardorum'' (singular ''rex Langobardorum'') were the monarchs of the Lombard people from the early 6th century un ...
at a
diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition) In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for #Health, health or #Weight management, weight-mana ...
held at
Pavia Pavia (, , , ; la, Ticinum; Medieval Latin: ) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po River, Po. It has a population of c. 73,086. The city was ...

Pavia
on 22 November 643. This work, composed at one time and arranged on a systematic plan, is very remarkable. The compilers knew Roman law, but drew upon it only for their method of presentation and for their terminology; and the document presents Germanic law in its purity. Rothar's edict was augmented by his successors: Grimwald (668) added nine chapters; Liutprand (713-735), fifteen volumes, containing a great number of ecclesiastical enactments;
Ratchis Ratchis (also spelled ''Rachis'', ''Raditschs'', ''Radics'', ''Radiks''; died after 757) was the Duke of Friuli The dukes and margraves of Friuli were the rulers of the Duchy of Friuli, Duchy and March of Friuli in the Middle Ages. The dates ...
(746), eight chapters; and
Aistulf Aistulf (also Ahistulf, Aistulfus, Haistulfus, Astolf etc.; it, Astolfo; died December 756) was the Duke of Friuli The dukes and margraves of Friuli it, Friulano (man) it, Friulana (woman) , population_note = , timezone1 ...
(755), thirteen chapters. After the union of the Lombards to the Frankish kingdom, the capitularies made for the entire kingdom were applicable to Italy. There were also special capitularies for Italy, called ''Capitula Italica'', some of which were appended to the edict of Rothar. At an early date, compilations were formed in Italy for the use of legal practitioners and jurists. Eberhard, duke and margrave of
Rhaetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian (''Raeti'' or ''Rhaeti'') people. It bordered on the west with the country of the Helvetii, on the east with Noricum, on the north ...

Rhaetia
and
Friuli Friuli ( fur, Friûl) is an area of Northeast Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity containing 1,000,000 Friulians. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli Venezia Giulia, i.e. the administrative Provin ...
, arranged the contents of the edict with its successive ''additamenta'' into a ''Concordia de singulis causis'' (829-832). In the tenth century a collection was made of the capitularies in use in Italy, and this was known as the ''Capitulare Langobardorum''. Then appeared, under the influence of the school of law at
Pavia Pavia (, , , ; la, Ticinum; Medieval Latin: ) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po River, Po. It has a population of c. 73,086. The city was ...

Pavia
, the ''Liber legis Langobardorum'', also called '' Liber Papiensis'' (beginning of 11th century), and the ''Lombarda'' (end of 11th century), in two forms, that given in a
Monte Cassino Monte Cassino (today usually spelled Montecassino) is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and ...

Monte Cassino
manuscript and known as the ''Lombarda Casinensis'' and the ''Lombarda Vulgata''. In some, but not all, manuscripts of the ''Liber Papiensis'' each section of the edict is accompanied by specimen pleadings setting out the cause of action: in this way it comes near to being a treatment of substantive law as opposed to a simple tariff of penalties as found in the other ''Leges barbarorum''. There are editions of the ''Edictus'', the ''Concordia'', and the ''Liber Papiensis'' by F. Bluhme and A. Boretius in the ''
Monumenta Germaniae Historica The ''Monumenta Germaniae Historica'' (MGH) is a comprehensive series of carefully edited and published primary source In the study of history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece ...

Monumenta Germaniae Historica
'' series, Leges (in folio) vol. iv. Bluhme also gives the rubrics of the ''Lombardae'', which were published by F. Lindenberg in his ''Codex legum antiquarum'' in 1613. For further information on the laws of the Lombards see J. Merkel, ''Geschichte des Langobardenrechts'' (1850); A. Boretius, ''Die Kapitularien im Langobardenreich'' (1864); and C. Kier, ''Edictus Rotari'' (Copenhagen, 1898). Cf. R. Dareste in the ''Nouvelle Revue historique de droit français et étranger'' (1900, p. 143). Lombard law, as developed by the Italian jurists, was by far the most sophisticated of the early Germanic systems, and some (e.g.
Frederic William Maitland Frederic William Maitland (28 May 1850 – ) was an English historian and lawyer who is regarded as the modern father of English legal history Law is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action th ...

Frederic William Maitland
) have seen striking similarities between it and early English law.Pollock and Maitland, ''History of English Law before the Time of Edward I'' vol. 1 p. 77. It remained living law, subject to modifications, both in the
Kingdom of the Lombards The Kingdom of the Lombards ( la, Regnum Langobardorum; it, Regno dei Longobardi; lmo, Regn dei Lombards) also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy ( la, Regnum totius Italiae), was an early medieval state established ...
that became the Carolingian Kingdom of Italy and in the
Duchy of Benevento The Duchy of Benevento (after 774, Principality of Benevento) was the southernmost Lombard The term Lombard refers to members of or things related to Lombardy (man) it, Lombarda (woman) lmo, Lombard (man) lmo, Lombarda (woman) , population ...
that became the
Kingdom of Naples The Kingdom of Naples ( la, Regnum Neapolitanum; it, Regno di Napoli; nap, Regno 'e Napule), also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer ...

Kingdom of Naples
and continued to play a role in the latter as late as the 18th century. The ''
Libri Feudorum The ''Libri Feudorum'' is a twelfth-century collection by Pillius Medicinensis, originating in Lombardy, of feudal customs. The work gained wide acceptance as a statement of the various rules governing the relation of lord and vassal. Later in the ...
'', explaining the distinctive Lombard version of feudalism, were frequently printed together with the
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of ...
and were considered the academic standard for feudal law, influencing other countries including Scotland.


Lex Baiuvariorum

We possess an important law of the Bavarians, whose duchy was situated in the region east of the river Lech. Parts of this law have been taken directly from the Visigothic law of Euric and from the law of the Alamanni. The Bavarian law, therefore, is later than that of the Alamanni. It dates unquestionably from a period when the Frankish authority was very strong in Bavaria, when the dukes were subjects of the Frankish kings. The law's compilation is most commonly dated between 744 and 748, by the following argument; Immediately after the revolt of Bavaria in 743 the Bavarian Duke Odilo (died 748) was forced to submit to
Pippin the Younger Pepin the Short, also called the Younger (german: Pippin der Jüngere, french: Pépin le Bref, c. 714 – 24 September 768) was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...
and
Carloman Carloman may refer to: * Carloman (fl. late 6th century), father of Pepin of Landen * Carloman (mayor of the palace) (ruled 741–47) * Carloman I, king of the Franks (768–71) * Carloman, birth name of Pepin of Italy (781–810) * Carloman, son of ...
, the sons of
Charles Martel Charles Martel (c. 688 – 22 October 741) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient ...

Charles Martel
, and to recognize Frankish suzerainty. A little earlier, in 739, the church of Bavaria had been organized by St. Boniface, and the country divided into several bishoprics; and we find frequent references to these bishops (in the plural) in the law of the Bavarians. On the other hand, we know that the law is anterior to the reign of Duke
Tassilo III Tassilo III ( 741 – c. 796) was the duke of Bavaria from 748 to 788, the last of the house of the Agilolfings. Tassilo, then still a child, began his rule as a Franks, Frankish ward under the tutelage of his uncle, the Carolingian Mayor of the Pa ...
(749-788). The date of compilation must, therefore, be placed between 744 and 748. Against this argument, however, it is very likely that Odilo recognized Frankish authority before 743; he took refuge at Charles Martel's court that year and married one of Martel's daughters. His "revolt" may have been in support of the claims of Pippin and Carloman's half-brother Grifo, not opposition to Frankish rule per se. Also, it is not clear that the Lex Baiuvariorum refers to multiple bishops in the duchy at the same time; when a bishop is accused of a crime, for instance, he is to be tried by the duke, and not by a council of fellow bishops as canon law required. So, it is possible that the Bavarian law was compiled earlier, perhaps between 735 (the year of Odilo's succession) and 739.


Lex Frisionum

The ''Lex Frisionum'' of the duchy of
Frisia Frisia (, ; ) is a cross-border Borders are geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systemat ...

Frisia
consists of a medley of documents of the most heterogeneous character. Some of its enactments are purely
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...
, thus one paragraph allows the mother to kill her new-born child, and another prescribes the immolation to the gods of the defiler of their temple; others are purely Christian, such as those that prohibit
incest Incest ( ) is between family members or close . This typically includes sexual activity between people in (blood relations), and sometimes those related by ( or ), adoption, or . The is one of the most widespread of all cultural s, both in ...
uous marriages and working on Sunday. The law abounds in contradictions and repetitions, and the compositions are calculated in different moneys. From this it appears the documents were merely materials collected from various sources and possibly with a view to the compilation of a homogeneous law. These materials were apparently brought together at the beginning of the ninth century, at a time of intense legislative activity at the court of Charlemagne.


Lex Saxonum

The ''Lex Saxonum'' has come down to us in two manuscripts and two old editions (those of B. J. Herold and du Tillet), and the text has been edited by Karl von Richthofen in the ''Mon. Germ. hist, Leges'', v. The law contains ancient customary enactments of
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
, and, in the form in which it reached us, is later than the conquest of Saxony by
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
. It is preceded by two capitularies of Charlemagne for Saxony, the ''Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae'' (A. Boretius i. 68), which dates undoubtedly from 782, and is characterized by great severity, death being the penalty for every offence against the Christian religion; and the ''Capitulare Saxonicum'' (A. Boretius i. 71), of the 28 October 797, in which Charlemagne shows less brutality and pronounces simple compositions for misdeeds that formerly warranted death. The ''Lex Saxonum'' apparently dates from 803, since it contains provisions that are in the ''Capitulare legi Ribuariae additum'' of that year. The law established the ancient customs, at the same time eliminating anything that was contrary to the spirit of Christianity; it proclaimed the peace of the churches, whose possessions it guaranteed and whose right of asylum it recognized.


See also

*'' Ewa ad Amorem'', traditionally counted among the ''leges barbarorum'' * Medieval Scandinavian laws


Customary legal systems

*
Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medi ...
(England) * Aqsaqal (
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
) *
Adat Alesis Digital Audio Tape (ADAT) is a magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of . It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on . Devices that record and playback audio ...

Adat
(
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
s of
Nusantara ''Nusantara'' is the Indonesian language, Indonesian name of Maritime Southeast Asia (or parts of it). It is an Kawi language, Old Javanese term which literally means "outer islands". In Indonesia, it is generally taken to mean the list of isl ...
) *
Urf ( ar, العرف) is an Arabic Islamic term referring to the custom, or 'knowledge', of a given society. To be recognized in an Islamic society, must be compatible with the Sharia law.H. Patrick Glenn, ''Legal Traditions of the World''. Oxfo ...
(
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Member states of the Arab League, Arab countries which are members of ...

Arab world
/
Islamic law Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a religious law Religious law includes ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Different religious systems hold sacred law in a greater or lesser degree of importance to their beli ...
) *
Pashtunwali Pashtunwali ( ps, پښتونولي) is the traditional lifestyle and best described as a code of honor of the Pashtun people Pashtuns (, or ; ps, پښتانه, ; Pakhtuns or Pathans), historically known as Afghans Afghan (Pashto languag ...
and
Jirga A jirga (originally jərga or jərgah; Pashto language, Pashto: ) is a traditional assembly of leaders that supposed to make decisions by consensus and according to the teachings of Pashtunwali. A tribal cultural system that predates modern-day ...
(
Pashtun Pashtuns (, or ; ps, پښتانه, ; Pakhtuns or Pathans), historically known as Afghans Afghan (Pashto language, Pashto/Persian language, Persian: ) refers to someone or something from Afghanistan, in particular a citizen of that countr ...

Pashtun
s of Pakistan and Afghanistan) *
Smriti ''Smriti'' ( sa, स्मृति, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is ...
and Ācāra (India) *
Coutume Old French law, referred to in French as ''l'Ancien Droit'', was the law of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern mon ...

Coutume
(France) *
Customary law in Australia Indigenous Australian customary law refers to the legal systems and practices uniquely belonging to Indigenous Australians Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia before History of Australia (1 ...
*
Early Irish law , County Tipperary, although built by the Normans, was later occupied by the MacEgan juristic family and served as a school of Irish law under them Early Irish law, historically referred to as Féineachas (English: Freeman-ism) or Dlí na Féine ( ...
(Ireland) *
Laws of the Brets and Scots Image:DavidIofScotland.jpg, 150px, David I, who codified the ''Laws of the Bretts and Scotts''. The Leges inter Brettos et Scottos or Laws of the Brets and Scots was a legal Codification (law), codification under David I of Scotland (reigned 1124 ...
(Scotland) *
Welsh Law Welsh law is the primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music ...
(
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
) *
Xeer ''Xeer'' (pronounced ) is the traditional legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law (legal system), civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these ...
(
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...

Somalia
)


Notes


Further reading

*Karl Shoemaker. “Germanic Law”, in ''The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History'', eds. Heikki Pihlajamäki, Markus D. Dubber, & Mark Godfrey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 249–63. *


External links


Leges Romanae barbarorum

Information on the ''leges Barbarorum'' and the respective manuscript tradition on the ' website
A database on Carolingian secular law texts (Karl Ubl, Cologne University, Germany, 2012). {{Authority control Customary legal systems
Law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
Indo-European law, Germanic Migration Period Medieval law