Alberici Cassinensis Corpus 2.3
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[2.3 Imperial Precepts]

[2.3.1] Diplomas or mundiburdia1 are only of magnates and of powerful laymen, but properly speaking they are of kings and princes.

[2.3.2] Diplomas do not have a certain set sign at their beginnings, but instead whatever it pleases the scribes to do: either a cross or a Chrismon or some letter surrounded by serpentine flourishes, in this manner: [Chrismon], or something else, which shall have been seen to the scribe.

[2.3.3] The first line of diplomas is accustomed to be fashioned in long and uniform letters.2

[2.3.4] The beginning of diplomas is of this sort: In the name of the holy and individual Trinity. Henry,3 by the grace of God emperor, augustus.

[2.3.5] After that but as if a prologue, the person of the emperor is introduced, speaking and reciting the reason, by which inducement he wishes to establish that diploma, saying that it is fitting to royal piety that he should not despise the entreaties of such and such men, by whom he himself was have, or insinuating some other just reason--whichever he desires--for the issuance of that diploma or mundiburdium.

[2.3.6] After this, one shall say that <the emperor> himself grants or confirms by his own authority to such and such person or place.

[2.3.7] At the end of the diploma one shall put down that whoever acts against the decree of this diploma shall know that he must pay one thousand pounds of the best gold or some other price, which the emperor has established, one half to the royal treasury and the other half to that place or person, for whom that diploma was composed.

[2.3.8] After this, one shall add that the emperor subscribes with his own hand and orders it to be sealed with his own seal.

[2.3.9] After the diploma is completed one should put a monogram at the end, in which the emperor's name should be linked to the phrases 'emperor augustus' and 'by the grace of God' or to some other ones which befit an emperor. One shall write on either side of the monogram, in longer and more uniform letters: 'Sign of that most noble emperor' or 'most noble augustus' or something else of that sort.

[2.3.10] After the monogram, in more broad and longer letters will be written: I, chancellor Henry4 or Adalbero5 or someone else have recognized in the stead of Gregory,6 bishop of Vercelli.

[2.3.11] On the last line of the charter one shall describe for that letter in which year since the incarnation of the Lord and in which indiction and in which <regnal> year of that emperor and in which place.

[2.3.12] In the name of the holy and individual Trinity. Henry, by the grace of God emperor, augustus.7

[2.3.13] It befits imperial clemency to acquiesce in the equitable petitions of God's servants and to assent to desires just and pleasing to God, so that these might be moved on to completion.8

[2.3.14] Whence, the venerable abbot Desiderius of the monastery of Montecassino having asked us, we confirm through the decree of this diploma to the abbey of Montecassino's holy church of God whatever we know that our predecessors had granted or confirmed, namely that it shall be legal for it to possess all things which it has legally and rightfully possessed up to now, namely manors, possession, slaves, half-free persons, bookmen, oblates, male and female serfs, fields and vineyards, with mountains, plains, waters and watercourses, and fisheries located within the borders of the principality of prince Richard of Capua,9 with all the appurtenances, which seem to be within these borders, which we will declare below, namely in the city of Capua, this or that in such and such a place. By this authority of our affirmation it shall be legal, in our own times and in the future, for the abbot of this holy place and congregation to firmly and inviolably possess these and other things, which up to now legally and rightfully pertain to the holy abbey or those things which shall legally and rightfully come to it in future times, and to do with them whatever he may judge useful and necessary for the church of God.

[2.3.15] Furthermore we grant that whoever attempts to oppose this our imperial institution or tries to infringe those rights which have been decreed and stabilized above, let him know that he shall pay one thousand pound of the best gold, one half to the royal treasury and the other half to the aforesaid abbot and to his successors.

[2.3.16] And so that this our imperial diploma might obtain steadfastness in future times, we have confirmed it below with our hand and sealed it with our ring.

[2.3.17] Sign of the lord Henry, unconquered emperor: [monogram].

[2.3.18] I H., chancellor or in the stead of Gregory, bishop of Vercelli, have recognized this done in the year 1092 A.D.,10 such and such indiction, in the such and such year of the reign of the most noble emperor Henry,11 of his empire <such and such>.

[2.3.19] Felicitously acted in such and such place.

[2.3.20] The matter of diplomas is of this sort. However the words are in the writer's power.


1 A latinized Gemanic word meaning a privilege of protection or guardianship, an immunity.

2 See JOCHENTZE "Die Litterae Elongatae. Ein Beitrag zur Formengeschichte und Herkunft der mittelalterlichen Urkundenschrift" Archiv für Diplomatik 11/12 (1965-66) 1-70.

3 Henry IV, emperor (1056-1106).

4 Henry II, bishop of Augsburg and chancellor (1046-1047) for Germany under emperor Henry III.

5 Adalbero, chancellor (1069-1076) for Germany under emperor Henry IV.

6 Gregory, bishop of Vercelli and chancellor (1063-1077) for Italy under emperor Henry IV.

7 The model privilege of emperor Henry IV for Montecassino given here (2.3.12-19) is noted as DDH.IV appendix 24; it served as a Vorurkunde for DF.I.13 (confirmation for Moggio, issued at Regensburg), via the S. Emmerans manuscript (Munich, clm. 14784), or perhaps by a copy of the Alberic Corpus possessed by a Staufer chancery notary. --- For more on Alberic's two model privileges, see the previous section, note 5.

8 See FRIEDRICH HAUSMANN "Formularbelfe der frühen Stauferkanzlei" MIÖG 58 (1950) 68-96 at 79, fomula no. 23 and HENRICH FICHTENAU Arenga (Graz-Cologne 1957) 56, formula no. 84.

9 Richard I of Aversa, prince of Capua (1061-1078).

10 The year 1092 disagrees with the dates of most persons named in the charter, therefore it must be a error in transmission or a later interpolation. See following note.

11 Pistoia cod. 68 gives a regnal year of 12 and indiction 3. If the date of Henry's election as king of Germany (1053) is taken as the beginning of his reign, the twelfth regnal year would be 1065, which was indeed indiction 3. Munich clm. 14784 gives the tenth indiction (1072), which would correspond to the twelfth regnal year from the beginning of his shared rulership with his mother Agnes (1060). But Henry IV could not rightfully claim the imperial title until his coronation 31 March 1084 at St. Peters by the anti-pope Clement III.

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