Friday, July 27, 2012

Germanic Laws

For quite some time I've been searching, usually in vain, for the laws of the various Germanic cities and territories during the Middle Ages.  I've been persistent in my desire for the actual laws (or as close as I can get) and not settle for another's interpretation of the laws or some vague reference to a "law they claim existed" without a reference to make the claim plausible.  [Terrible, I know. :P]  It has been a challenging struggle which I have attempted to ignore when frustration would creep over me at the lack of anything viable.  Yet, on Sunday, I hit pay dirt!

I found a book published in 1967 which contains many of the ordinances and municipal laws that were passed during the period 590 - 1254 for various cities all over Germany.  Some of these laws and ordinances were passed by the Holy Roman Emperor and some were codified by the local magistrates and burghars.  I'm sure the book is far from completely comprehensive, but it's better than anything I've found to date.  Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks...
  1. The book is in German (not that much of a problem) and Latin (a little more of a problem... 6 months of Latin in Junior High won't get me through this, but Google's translation feature might at least help).
  2. I have only found the book online through Google, which means I have limited access to the 639 pages that fill the covers.
  3. Going to booksellers only proves I will never own the book, as the initial costs I'm finding for it are in the $249-463 range. [For only 1 volume, no less!]
  4. The closest libraries I can find that store this book... are in Europe. *sigh*

But...!  I will use Google books to get out of it what I can while I can with what is available.

Oh, yes, and before I forget, here's the book reference in case someone else has access to one of the limited number of libraries in France and Switzerland that carry it and also because I don't want to lose the reference either. :D

Elenchus Fontium Historiae Urbanae, Vol 1, Germany, Low Countries, Scandinavia by C.van de Kieft, J. F. Niermeyer, B. Diestelkamp, 1967.

2 comments:

Wolfger said...

Have you considered using Kickstarter to fund your purchase of this book? I'm pretty certain that you could get this project funded by like-minded medievalists.

Khaentlahn said...

I am unfamiliar with Kickstarter. Care to enlighten me?