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The Peace of God and its legal practice in the Eleventh Century

The Peace of God and its legal practice in the Eleventh Century



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The Peace of God and its legal practice in the Eleventh Century

By Thomas Gergen

Cuadernos de Historia del Derecho, Vol.9 (2002)

Introduction: The “Peace of God” (Pax Dei) was an institution established by the Church and the lay power in an effort to limit private conflicts a movement expanding progressively into the whole of Western Europe during the eleventh century. The Truce of God (Treuga Dei) refers specifically to the periods of peace, i.e. Feast days fixed by the liturgical calendar. Begun in Charroux (Aquitaine) in the year 989, recent researchers (above all Dominique Barthélemy) have pointed out the relationship between the Peace of God and the year 1000. The title of Barthélemy’s book is clearly chosen with this aim in mind, L’an mil et la paix de Dieu. As a result of the passage of the year 2000, the year 1000 was at the centre of numerous publications. In addition, researchers are interested in discovering whether or not the Peace of God had a practical impact particularly in limiting the malae consuetudines, the evil customs. Initially these two aspects may not seem to belong together. But the examination of the second aspect (i.e. the application of the Peace rules) will reveal that some of the recent attempts of historians who would devalue the function of the Peace of God as a means to replace a certain state of order, would appear to be misconceived.


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