Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 3a.2-9
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[3a.3] All the deeds of mortals follow temporal change and the deeds of perishing humans perish simultaneously with them. Whence it is necessary that those things tending by their very nature to annihilation should be sustained by the instrument of a letter and be defended from the oblivion of annihilation.

[3a.4] By the testimony of the present writing we have transmitted to the knowledge of posterity that we have purchased this village (or toll or anything which can be bought) for fifty pounds from the legitimate possessor, with no one legitimately contradicting the sale, so that the prior owner should have retained for himself nothing of the right of ownership in the village, but our whole right in law and a free power for possessing and using should have been transferred intact. These things are ours by right of the purchase of this village: fields, fisheries, woods, salt pits, meadows, grazing land, vineyards, hunting grounds, fowleries and chance discoveries. Peasants and their possessions shall be subject to our rule.

[3a.5] And lest the calumny of impious men, who assault the truth and vend falsehood, would presume to provoke us, it pleases us to insert in this writing the names of witnesses, so that the truth may be supported by the testimony of many and the calumny of fools may be easily avoided.

[3a.6] If however a charter of this sort would have been signed with a bishop's seal, at its end a malediction should be inserted against him, who shall have afterwards brought a molestation concerning this business of the church or person who has bought, in this manner:

[3a.7] Thus, because this present purchase has been celebrated with a legitimate contract of law, no one may presume to molest the church or person who purchased, no one may dare to retract the judgment concerning this business. Should anyone do that on account of which an angry God strikes souls with anathema, let him be struck dead, let his portion be with the condemned, who have said to the Lord "Get away from us".1

[3a.8] If indeed a charter is signed with a seal of a king or emperor, such will be the conclusion:

[3a.9] Thus because the action of the present business was solemnly celebrated in the presence of our majesty, we order by imperial edict or by royal censure that the aforesaid possession should remain undisturbed and unshaken. But if anyone after this imperial or royal edict would disturb the church or person concerning this matter, let the traitor pay one hundred pounds or suffer a capital sentence.

1 Iob 21.14.

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