The struggle of cities for self-government. Cities-communes

The struggle of cities for self-government. Cities-communes

The whole land belonged to the feudal lords, and therefore the cities stood on their land and were considered their property. The city was like a vassal of the feudal lord. The townspeople completely depended on his whims and appetites, the feudal lord tried to squeeze out of them as much as possible profit. This prompted the townspeople to begin a struggle for self-government or, as they said, for the Commune. During the X-XIII centuries. The communal movement has become a pan-European phenomenon. What did it represent?

In some cases, the townspeople bought the seignior from individual liberties and Privileges. These concessions on the part of the feudal lord they carefully recorded in the city Charter.

XII century. From the certificate given to inhabitants of Freiburg by

the feudal lord Konrad

I promise peace and security within the limits of my power and possessions to all who come by any means to my market. If one of them is robbed in this territory and calls a robber, I will either get back the loot, or I will refund the lost property myself.

If one of my townspeople dies, his wife and children will own the whole inheritance and without any objection will get everything that the husband would not leave her…

I concede to all merchants the trade duty.

I will never appoint another steward to my townspeople, never another priest, and who will be elected for this will be given after my confirmation…

If there is any quarrel among my townspeople, it will be eliminated not by my own or the steward’s willfulness, but will be resolved according to local customs and the legal right of all merchants…

But it was not always possible to talk peacefully with the lord. Quite often the townspeople had to take up arms in order to obtain coveted independence.

For over 200 years, the struggle for independence of the inhabitants of the northern French city of Lana, which in the early XII century. became the property of a local bishop. In their struggle, the kings Louis VII, Philip II Augustus and many large and small feudal lords were dragged. In the

end, the city fell under the rule of royal officials.

How were the city communes organized? They elected their Magistrate, had their own court, their military forces, their finances, set the tax rate themselves and collected it. Residents of commune cities were freed from heavy feudal duties, but at the same time for the peasants of the suburb they became a collective lord, forcing them to work for themselves. Thanks to the communal movement in medieval Europe, the rule according to which everyone who lived in the city “year and one day” became free.

XIII century. From the urban law granted to the German city of Goslar by Emperor Frederick II

If someone lived in the city of Goslar and, while he lived there, no one proved his slavish origin, then after death, let no one dare call him a slave or be enslaved.

If any alien came to live in this city and lived there for a year and a day, and never once did they pretend to be a slavish state, did not convince him of this, and he did not admit it, then let him use it common with other citizens freedom; and after death, let no one dare to declare him his slave.

The communal movement did not win everywhere. The will cost the townspeople dearly. In many small towns there was not enough strength or money to get it, so they remained under the thumb of their lord. Some cities were satisfied with limited self-government, for example, the right to elect a magistrate. These cities included Paris, London, some other cities in France, England, Germany, Scandinavia, Hungary. In Germany in the XIII century. appeared the so-called Magdeburg law – the right of the townspeople of the city of Magdeburg to elect their administration and court. It eventually spread to Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus.

The Commune is a city community that has achieved independence from the feudal lord and the right to self-government.

The communal movement is the struggle of cities for independence from seniors.

Privileges -1) benefits, benefits, rights; 2) the certificates, which certified the rights granted to cities or individual groups of the population.

Charter – a document that certified rights or privileges.

The Magistrate is a city government body.


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The struggle of cities for self-government. Cities-communes