Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 3a.29-35
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[3a.29] Another example concerning privileges of cities:

[3a.30] In the name of the holy and individual Trinity. P.,1 august Roman emperor.

[3a.31] The management of the Roman republic and the burden of the imperial office, which tempers, contains and orders the world, so claims for itself the breast of our Serenity, that our Clemency must be able to offer the presence of our Majesty to all those who depend on our judgment. Therefore <our> Providence has substituted for itself kings, dukes, consuls, prefects and guardians of provinces, so that our Prudence may more securely watch over great things and especially the business of the empire. But because prefects of cities and guardians of provinces, much induced by avarice, pervert judgment and oppress the innocent and exalt the wicked, those unjustly oppressed raise a clamor to the ears of our Clemency, that by imperial Clemency's gracious giving they might shake off from their necks the yoke with which they are burdened.

[3a.32] So hereafter, let all succession of emperors know that we regard with the attention of imperial Clemency the city of Lyon,2 long vexed by the insolence of tyrants and we grant it liberty so long as they seek it with vows and sighs, in such a manner. Whatever they rightfully owe to the archbishop, they will pay at the established times. By imperial edict we proscribe as removed from them arbitrary taxes, toll and team, and other vexations by which they have until now been unjustly afflicted. And under the cover of our grace we order the princes of the same city that henceforth they shall presume to exact nothing from our citizens constituted under the protection of imperial power, no toll, no tribute, not anything in which they might feel a loss of liberty. They may not be forced into military service for the private cause of anyone, but each shall willingly take arms for the salvation of his republic and the defense of the fatherland and henceforth they shall serve no one except the imperial majesty.

[3a.33] And so that the memory of this liberty granted may not be withdrawn from any of our successors, we strengthen the charter with the impression of our ring, which shall forever protect the aforesaid city against the calumnies of wicked men and the damage of oblivion, and which has transcribed an insignia of our piety for the knowledge of posterity. Let the decrees of imperial sanctions remain inviolate and unharmed and let those persons be punished with most grave severity, who scorn divine ordinances, who do not keep institutions of their predecessors, who attempt to extinguish the charters of imperial clemency.

[3a.34] For this unique power was singularly ordained, approved and commended by God to a single person on earth; the urge to resist and to oppose this power is a type of sacrilege,3 especially when the Maker of the universe himself ordered "Render to Caesar the image of Caesar"4 and when the Roman quaestors exacted the didragma, lest He might offer an occasion for offense or for scandal, He ordered that a stater found in a fish's mouth be given for Himself and for Peter.5

[3a.35] Lest anyone should dare thus to rescind the edict of imperial clemency or to act contrary to our commands, we propose a penalty against those disobeying and scorning imperial edicts, irrefutably establishing that hereafter, if anyone attempts to deprive the aforesaid city of Lyon from the liberty once granted it, the traitor shall either be beheaded or he shall eternally pay the tribute of a head-tax to the same city, together with all those following in the lineage of his family, nor may any succeeding emperor absolve them from this nexus of miserable servitude.6 Indeed, because not only the words, but also the deeds of all mortals may suffer the loss of oblivion, in order that the testimony of our Clemency may not perish, we strengthen this charter with our seal ring and thus exclude the calumny of all successors to us. And so let our memorial live in eternity.


1 There had been no medieval Latin emperor with an initial 'P.' at the time of the making of Admont 549. For another example of the Admont scribe's unwillingness to copy Frederick Barbarossa's name, see also below, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 3b.81). The Brugge manuscript does read 'F.' here, and the following model privilege clearly plays with emperor Frederick Barbarossa's 18 Nov. 1157 charter for the church of Lyon (DF.I.192).

2 See HORST BITSCH Das Erzstift Lyon zwischen Frankreich und dem Reich im hohen Mittelalter Göttinger Bausteine zur Geschichtswissenschaft 42 (Göttingen 1971).

3 cf. Rom. 13.2.

4 Matt. 22.20-21; Marc 12.16-17; Luc 20.24-25.

5 Matt. 17.23-26.

6 For other instances of enslavement, see above, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 2.13 and below 3a.39.

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
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