Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 2.33-42
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[2.33] Now it is a question of charters containing documents of imperial largess and of the munificence of kings and princes and of the devotion of the faithful. This will be an example of the first of these:

[2.34] In the name of eternal God. H.,1 king.

[2.35] Since the mercy of omnipotent God has promoted us to this pinnacle of imperial office, it is fitting that we not only consider our own utility, but indeed also provide for every estate, every condition, every order seeking that from the majesty of the Roman empire. And because the empire has been loaned to us by the celestial Emperor, not given to us--as we understand at His inspiration--, it should be diligently elaborated that we should be inseparably united in a bond of faith and charity and in the exercise of good works to Him, Whose empire knows no beginning, just as it excludes from itself any boundary. Having consideration of this, we confer imperial largess on the soldiers of Christ in a sacrament of an oath, who do not cease prayer for our safety night and day to Him, Who alone reigns and rules.

[2.36] All those things should be enumerated which are granted. And <the dictator> should not set down witnesses and at the end he thus concludes: So that hereafter the church N. may quietly possess those estates granted by our serenity, it pleases to sign this charter with the impression of our ring. And if anyone presumes to seize anything of theirs, he shall suffer the sentence which he deserves as a traitor.

[2.37] The same should be observed in those <charters> which contain munificence of kings and princes and of other princes, with altered names and other additions befitting the proper estate of the persons. Witnesses are not placed in charters sealed with a ring-seal of emperors or kings, because no one may legally oppose the royal highness. Witnesses should be noted in all other charters.

[2.38] Now those charters which are documents of the devotion of the faithful should be discussed. In these charters he who grants something does not himself speak for himself, but rather he who represents the person2 of the church speaks, namely a bishop or archbishop. The following will be an example of this:

[2.39] In the name of the holy and individual Trinity. S.,3 by the grace of God humble minister of Soissons.

[2.40] Since we have become a spectacle for the world and for angels and for men, we should not only do good works ourselves, but we should also exhort others to do good works. Thus we give thanks to Him, Whose grace reaches the unwilling mind of man, so that he might will, and aids the willing man, so that he can act.

[2.41] By the superabundant fecundity of His goodness, He has also illuminated the mind of H., a man of pious memory, that he would hand over a part of his patrimony in legitimate possession to this or that church for the use of paupers. But because whatever is enacted within time will easily fall away from the memory of men, therefore we consider it worthy to transmit in a letter to the memory of posterity what has been done in our days, so that truth confirmed by the testimony of many might drive out or restrain the calumny of lost men.

[2.42] We have inserted the names of those witnesses to the action of the present business and we condemn with perpetual anathema anyone who would wish to defraud the vow of H., a man of pious memory.


1 The young king Henry of Staufen, who ruled the empire in 1147-8, while his royal father Conrad III was away on the Second Crusade. See above, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.3.

2 See above, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.74, below 2.43 (also 3a.6,9,19,20,23,24). Person is discussed theoretically above, 2.22-27.

3 Until 1362, the see of Soissons was occupied by only two bishops whose names begin with S., its first two bishops, SS. Sixtus and Sinicius (ca. 290). The Brugge manuscript's reading here (R. Coloniensis would indicate Rainald von Dassel, archbishop of Cologne (1159-1167) and imperial chancellor--perhaps another example of Admont's scribe avoiding references to the Staufer regime.

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
Scrineum © Universitą di Pavia 1999