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1140CE

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§Europe

§Austria

Heinrich (Henry) II, the son of Markgrave Leopold III, became Count Palatine of the Rhine until being appointed Duke of Bavaria and Margrave of Austria when his brother Leopold IV unexpectedly died the next year.

§France

In the spring of 1140, Saint Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, visited Clairvaux, becoming a personal friend of St Bernard and an admirer of the Cistercian rule. He left four of his companions to be trained as Cistercians, and returned to Ireland to introduce Cistercianism there. St Bernard viewed the Irish at this time as being in the "depth of barbarism":

... never had he found men so shameful in their morals, so wild in their rites, so impious in their faith, so barbarous in their laws, so stubborn in discipline, so unclean in their life. They were Christians in name, in fact they were pagans.

§Italy

The Assizes of Ariano, a series of laws, were promulgated in the Summer at Ariano, near Benevento in the Mezzogiorno, by Roger II of Sicily. Having recently pacified the peninsula, constantly in revolt, he had decided to make a move to more centralised government. The assizes established the large Sicilian bureaucracy and sought to maintain the feudal system under strict royal control. It contained forty clauses that touched on all possible topics of contemporary legal concern: private property, public property, the church, civil law, royal finances, the military. The work was advanced for its day, deriving its precepts not only from Norman and French, but also Muslem and Byzantine (especially Justinian), legal theories.

The first half of 1140 was spent by Roger in Palermo preparing the assizes. They were certainly well-planned. Despite having written the legislation in his capital, in July, he travelled in state to Salerno, the capital of the duchy of Apulia, and thence to the Abruzzi, where he examined the conquests of his sons: Roger and Alfonso. These men, now duke of Apulia and prince of Capua respectively, had consolidated the peace on the peninsula and made it possible for the great legislation that year.

The assizes affirm that the king is the only lawgiver in Sicily, that he is both judge and priest (he held the legatine powers from the pope), and all Sicilians were equal and under the same laws, whether Latin, Greek, Jew, or Muslem, Norman, Lombard, or Arab. It punished treason with death. It was also detailed in other crimes of violence: cowardice in battle, arming a mob, or withholding support from the king or his allies. Ecclesiastically, Christian heretics and apostates lost their rights. Bishops were excused from attendance at courts, though the king was granted override on this, as on everything, and there could be no appeals. Militarily, the knightly class was closed. Nobody could become a knight if had no knightly lineage. Finally, the assizes did not ignore the commoners and demanded that they be treated with justice and be burdened not unduly by their lords.

Roger's final act at Ariano was the issuance of a low-quality coinage standard for the entire realm: the ducat. The coin, mostly copper and some silver, not gold as later, rapidly grew in importance. It was named after the duchy of Apulia.

The assizes survive in two manuscripts, slightly differing from one another, though what are omissions and what additions is unknown. These were found in 1856 in the Vatican archives and those of Monte Cassino.

Gratian, an Italian monk, incorporated the Canon Episcopi, regarding witches, into canon law.

§Papal States

or Concordia discordantium canonum (Mistakenly referred to as the Concordantia discordantium canonum) is a collection of Canon law compiled and written in the twelfth century as a legal textbook by a jurist (perhaps) named Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which became known as the Corpus Iuris Canonici and which retained legal force in the Roman Catholic Church up until Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 1917, when the a revised Code of Canon Law (Codex iuris canonici) was promulgated by Pope Benedict XV. (The Code became binding throughout the Western Church the Pentecost Sunday of the following year, 19 May 1918.)

It was published in two recensions, the first dating to around this time and the second dating to around 1150 CE.

  • the first recension is a more coherent and analytical work;
  • the second recension places a much greater emphasis on papal primacy and power;
  • the second recension includes extracts from Roman Law, whereas the first recension does not display any great familiarity with Roman jurisprudence.

These differences have led historian Anders Winroth to conclude that Roman Law was not as far developed by 1140 as scholars had previously thought. He has also argued that the second recension was due not to the original author of the first recension (whom he calls Gratian 1), but rather another jurist versed in Roman law. However, Winroth's thesis of two Gratian's has not found widespread acceptance.

§Scotland

The town of Lanark in Scotland was made a Royal Burgh by David I of Scotland.

§Ongoing

Civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1153, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order known as the Anarchy.

§Sources

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