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The Etablissements de Saint Louis

The Etablissements de Saint Louis: Thirteenth-Century Law Texts from Tours, Orleans, and Paris

Translated and with an Introduction by F. R. P. AKEHURST
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Etablissements de Saint Louis
    Book Description:

    As the earliest major monument of the customary law in the region to the south and southwest of the Ile de France, the book known as theEtablissements de Saint Louisgreatly amplifies our knowledge of feudal and private law in the French kingdom. Frequently cited by legal historians, it has nonetheless remained inaccessible to readers unable to master its difficult Old French. Now, F. R. P. Akehurst presents the text's first English translation, making this vital component of the vernacular law of thirteenth century France available to a wide range of scholars.

    A hybrid text, theEtablissementswas probably compiled by a lawyer around the year 1273. The book takes its name from its first part, a set of nine ordinances of Louis IX giving the rules of procedure for the court of the Chatelet in Paris. The second part, made up of one hundred and sixty-six short chapters, is a collection of the customary laws of the Touraine-Anjou region; the thirty-eight chapters of the third section record the laws of the Orleans region. Whereas the Touraine-Anjou material presents a broad treatment of many aspects of the law, the Orleans customary reveals a preoccupation with problems of jurisdiction in a region where the king and local authorities were in sharp competition for power.

    eISBN: 978-1-5128-0003-6
    Subjects: History, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xvi)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xxi-2)

    In his monumental work on theSpirit of the Laws, Montesquieu asks: “Qu’est-ce done que cette compilation que nous avons sous le nom d’Etablissementsde Saint Louis? Qu’est-ce que ce code obscur, confus et ambigu, où l’on mêle sans cesse la jurisprudence françoise avec la loi romaine; où l’on parle comme un législateur, où l’on voit un jurisconsulte; où l’on trouve un corps entier de jurisprudence sur tous les cas, sur tous les points du droit civil?”¹ Montesquieu had consulted the edition of Ducange and rightly found that the work calledEtablissements de Saint Louiswas not all of a...

  5. Prologue
    (pp. 3-4)

    In the year of grace 1270 good king Louis of France made and imposed these laws, before he went to Tunis, in all the secular courts of the kingdom and in the jurisdiction [poosté] of France. And these laws show how all judges in secular courts should hear cases and judge them, and bring to an end all the disputes brought before them, and concerning all the practices of the whole kingdom and Anjou, and in the barons’ courts, and the entitlements [redevances] that the king and the barons have over knights and gentlemen who hold their lands from them....

  6. Book 1

    • The Rules of Procedure in the Châtelet
      (pp. 7-14)

      Here begin the Laws of the King of France which the Provost of Paris and [the provosts] of the kingdom observe in their suits and use everywhere.

      The provost of Paris will² use the following procedure in his cases:

      If someone brings before him a complaint against another person, on the issue of a bargain that he made, or if he is suing for real property, the provost will summon the person against whom the complaint is being made; and when the parties appear at the appointed time, the plaintiff will make his complaint: and the person against whom the...

    • The Customs of Touraine and Anjou
      (pp. 15-110)

      A gentleman cannot give his younger children more than a third of his inherited real property;¹ but he can give his purchased or otherwise acquired real property [ses achaz et ses conquestes] to whichever of his children he wants: and so he could to a person outside the family if he wanted. But if he had purchased some properties that were part of his fief, and gave them to someone other than his oldest son, the latter could redeem² them [from the donee] by paying the [same] price his father had paid for them.

      And if it happened that the...

  7. Book 2

    • The Customs of the Orléans District
      (pp. 113-162)

      Here begins: On justice, law, and the commandments of the law, and the order of knighthood, and on arresting offenders in the execution of the crime, and the Practice of the Châtelet in Orléans [Usage dou Chatelet d’Orliens] in the baron’s court, and on the punishment of offenders.¹

      Now hear a little thing

      A small thing which is new

      Which I want to tell about justice.

      It is right that I should undertake

      {To say something so clear}

      That by rights no objection can be raised.

      The law will be the judgment and the lord.

      The law says you should...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-166)
  9. List of Topics
    (pp. 167-170)
  10. Index
    (pp. 171-177)