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قراءة كتاب Our Legal Heritage: King AEthelbert - King George III, 600 A.D. - 1776 June 2011 (Sixth) Edition

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Our Legal Heritage: King AEthelbert - King George III, 600 A.D. - 1776
June 2011 (Sixth) Edition

Our Legal Heritage: King AEthelbert - King George III, 600 A.D. - 1776 June 2011 (Sixth) Edition

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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rule of life and ordaining bishops to oversee the priests. Each kingdom was split up into dioceses each with one bishop. Thereafter, bishops were selected by the king and his witan, usually after consulting the clergy and even the people of the diocese. The bishops came to be the most permanent element of society. They had their sees in villages or rural monasteries. The bishops came to have the same wergeld as an eorldorman: 1200s., which was the price of about 500 oxen. A priest had the wergeld as a landholding farmer [thegn], or 300s. The bishops spoke Latin, but the priests of the local parishes spoke English. Theodore was the first archbishop whom all the English church obeyed. He taught sacred and secular literature, the books of holy writ, ecclesiastical poetry, astronomy, arithmetic, and sacred music. Theodore discouraged slavery by denying Christian burial to the kidnapper and forbidding the sale of children over the age of seven. A slave became entitled to two loaves a day and to his holydays. A slave was allowed to buy his or his children's freedom. In 673, Theodore started annual national ecclesiastical assemblies, for instance for the witnessing of important actions. The bishops, some abbots, the king, and the eorldormen were usually present. From them the people learned the benefit of common national action. There were two archbishops: one of Canterbury in the south and one of York in the north. They governed the bishops and could meet with them to issue canons that would be equally valid all over the land. A bishop's house contained some clerks, priests, monks, and nun and was a retreat for the weary missionary and a school for the young. The bishop had a deacon who acted as a secretary and companion in travel, and sometimes as an interpreter. Ink was made from the outer husks of walnuts steeped in vinegar.

The learned ecclesiastical life flourished in monastic communities, in which both monks and nuns lived. Hilda, a noble's daughter, became the first nun in Northumbria and abbess of one of its monasteries. There she taught justice, piety, chastity, peace, and charity. Several monks taught there later became bishops. Kings and princes often asked her advice. Many abbesses came to run monastic communities; they were from royal families. Women, especially from royal families, fled to monasteries to obtain shelter from unwanted marriage or to avoid their husbands. Kings and eorldormen retired to them.

Danish Vikings made several invasions in the 800s for which a danegeld tax on land was assessed on everyone every ten to twenty years. The amount was determined by the witan and was typically 2s. per hide of land. (A hide was probably the amount of land which could support a family or household for a year or as much land as could be tilled annually by a single plough.) It was stored in a strong box under the King's bed. King Alfred the Great, who had lived for awhile in Rome, unified the country to defeat the invaders. He established fortifications called "burhs", usually on hill tops or other strategic locations on the borders to control the main road and river routes into his realm. The burhs were seminal towns. They were typically walled enclosures with towers and an outer ditch and mound, instead of the hedge or fence enclosure of a tun. Inside were several wooden thatched huts and a couple of churches, which were lit by earthen oil lamps. The populace met at burhgemotes. The land area protected by each burh became known as a "shire", which means a share of a larger whole. The shire or local landowners were responsible for repairing the burh fortifications. There were about thirty shires.

Alfred gathered together fighting men who were at his disposal, which included eorldormen with their hearthbands (retinues of men each of whom had chosen to swear to fight to the death for their eorldorman, and some of whom were of high rank), the King's thegns, shire thegns (local landholding farmers, who were required to bring fighting equipment such as swords, helmets, chain mail, and horses), and ordinary freemen, i.e. ceorls (who carried food, dug fortifications, and sometimes fought). Since the King was compelled to call out the whole population to arms, the distinction between the king's thegns from other landholders disappeared. Some great lords organized men under them, whom they provisioned. These vassals took a personal oath to their lord "on condition that he keep me as I am willing to deserve, and fulfill all that was agreed on when I became his man, and chose his will as mine." Alfred had a small navy of longships with 60 oars to fight the Viking longships.

Alfred divided his army into two parts so that one half of the men were fighting while the other half was at home sowing and harvesting for those fighting. Thus, any small-scale independent farming was supplanted by the open-field system, cultivation of common land, more large private estates headed by a lord, and a more stratified society in which the king and important families more powerful and the peasants more curtailed. The witan became mere witnesses. Many free coerls of the older days became bonded. The village community tended to become a large private estate headed by a lord. But the lord does not have the power to encroach upon the rights of common that exist within the community.

In 886, a treaty between Alfred and the Vikings divided the country along the war front and made the wergeld of every free farmer, whether English or Viking, 200s. Men of higher rank were given a wergeld of 4 1/2 marks of pure gold. A mark was probably a Viking denomination and a mark of gold was equal to nine marks of silver in later times and probably in this time. The word "earl" replaced the word "eorldormen" and the word "thegn" replaced the word "aetheling" after the Danish settlement. The ironed pleats of Viking clothing indicated a high status of the wearer. The Vikings brought combs and the practice of regular hair-combing to England.

King Alfred gave land with jurisdictional powers within its boundaries such as the following: "This is the bequest which King Alfred make unequivocally to Shaftesbury, to the praise of God and St. Mary and all the saints of God, for the benefit of my soul, namely a hundred hides as they stand with their produce and their men, and my daughter AEthelgifu to the convent along with the inheritance, since she took the veil on account of bad health; and the jurisdiction to the convent, which I myself possessed, namely obstruction and attacks on a man's house and breach of protection. And the estates which I have granted to the foundation are 40 hides at Donhead and Compton, 20 hides at Handley and Gussage 10 hides at Tarrant, 15 hides at Iwerve and 15 hides at Fontmell.

The witnesses of this are Edward my son and Archbishop AEthelred and Bishop Ealhferth and Bishop AEthelhead and Earl Wulfhere and Earl Eadwulf and Earl Cuthred and Abbot Tunberht and Milred my thegn and AEthelwulf and Osric and Brihtulf and Cyma. If anyone alters this, he shall have the curse of God and St. Mary and all the saints of God forever to all eternity. Amen."

Sons usually succeeded their fathers on the same land as shown by this lifetime lease: "Bishop Denewulf and the community at Winchester lease to Alfred for his lifetime 40 hides of land at Alresford, in accordance with the lease which Bishop Tunbriht had granted to his parents and which had run out, on condition that he renders every year at the autumnal equinox three pounds as rent, and church dues, and the work connected with church dues; and when the need arises, his men shall be ready both for harvesting and hunting; and after his death the property shall pass undisputed to St. Peter's.

These are the signatures of the councilors and of

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