The Law of the Salian Franks
Map of the First Germanic Kingdoms
Map of Germanic Kingdoms at the time of Justinian
Oaths and Adversarial Procedure
Concerning Rape Committed by Freemen
Roman have plundered a Salian Frank
Killing of Little Children and Women
The text of the laws of the Salian Franks in SanktGallen, Stiftsbibliothek 728
INCIPIT LIBER LEGIS SALICE
Title I Concerning
(St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek 728, p. 113)
1 . If any one be summoned before the "Thing" by the
king's law and does not come, he shall be judged guilty if he
does not have a legitimate essoin to 600 denars, which make 15 solidi (solidi)
(Si quis ad mallum legibus dominicis mannitus fuerit et
non venerit, si eum sunnis non detenuerit DC denarios qui faciunt sol. XV
2. But he who summons another and does not come himself, shall, if a lawful impediment have not delayed him, be sentenced to 15 solidi, to be paid to him whom he summoned (Ille qui alium mannit si non venerit et eum sunnis non detenuerit, ei quam manivit similter DC dinarios qui faciunt solidos XV componat).
3. Moreover he who summons another and goes to his home with witnesses and thus summons him, or accuses him in front of his wife or other family members, and notifies him, in that way he is also summoned. However if he is in the service of the king he cannot be summoned. If, however, he were in his own country, he can be summoned as it is stated above (Ille autem qui alium mannit cum testibus ad domum illius ambulet, et sic eum manniat, aut uxorem illius vel cuicumque de familia illius denuniet, et ei faciat notum, quo modo ab illo est mannitus. Nam si in iussione regis occupatus fuerit, mannire non potest. Si vero infra pago in sua ratione fuerit potest mannire sicut superius dictum est).
TITLE II. CONCERNING THE THEFT OF LACTATING PIGS
Concerning Thefts of Cattle
4. If any one steal that bull which rules the herd and
never has been yoked, he shall be sentenced to 1800 denars, which make 45 solidi.
5. But if that bull is used for the cows of three villages
in common, he who stole him shall be sentenced to three times 45 solidi.
6. If any one steal a bull belonging to the king he shall
be sentenced to 3600 denars, which make 90 solidi.
Title XI Concerning Thefts or Housebreakings of Freemen
1. If any freeman steal, outside of the house, something
worth 2 denars, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars, which make 15 solidi.
2. But if he steal, outside of the house, something worth
40 denars, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides the amount
and the fines for delay, to 1400 denars, which make 35 solidi.
3. If a freeman break into a house and steal something
worth 2 denars, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 15 solidi.
4. But if he shall have stolen something worth more than 5
denars, and it have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced, besides the worth
of the object and the fines for delay, to 1400 denars, which make 35 solidi.
5. But if he have broken, or tampered with, the lock, and
thus have entered the house and stolen anything from it, he shall be sentenced,
besides the worth of the object and the fines for delay, to 1800 denars, which
make 45 solidi.
6. And if he have taken nothing, or have escaped by
flight, he shall, for the housebreaking alone, be sentenced to 1200 denars,
which make 30 solidi.
Concerning Rape Committed by Freemen
(St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek 728, p.
1. If three men carry off a free born girl, they shall be compelled to pay 30 solidi.
Si quis tres homines
de casa aut de screuna repuerint, unusquisque i. cc. den.qui faciunt xxx.
solidos culpa iudicetur.
2. If there are more than three, each one shall pay five
3. Those who shall have been present with boats shall be
sentenced to three solidi.
4. But those who commit rape shall be compelled to pay
2500 denars, which make 63 solidi.
5. But if they have carried off that girl from behind lock
and key, or from the spinning room, they shall be sentenced to the above price
6. But if the girl who is carried off be under the king's
protection then the "firth" (peace-money) shall be 2500 denars, which make 63
Title XV. Concerning Assault and Robbery
1 . If any one have assaulted and plundered a freeman, and
it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make 63 solidi.
2. If a
Roman have plundered a Salian Frank, the above law shall be ordered.
3. But if a Frank have plundered a Roman, he shall be
sentenced to 35 solidi.
4. If any man should wish to migrate, and have permission
from the king, and shall have shown this in the public "Thing": whoever,
contrary to the decrees of the king, shall presume to oppose him, shall be
sentenced to 8000 denars, which make 200 solidi.
1. If any one have wished to kill another person, and the
blow have missed, he on whom it was proved shall be sentenced to 2500 denars,
which make 63 solidi.
2. If any person have wished to strike another with a
poisoned arrow, and the arrow have glanced aside, and it shall be proved on him:
he shall be sentenced to 2500 denars, which make
3. If any person strike another on the head so that the
brain appears, and the three bones which lie above the brain shall project, he
shall be sentenced to 1200 denars, which make 30 solidi.
4. But if it shall have been between the ribs or in the
stomach, so that the wound appears and reaches to the entrails, he shall be
sentenced to 1200 denars --- which make 30 solidi --- besides five solidi for
the physician's pay.
5. If any one shall have struck a man so that blood falls
to the floor, and it be proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 600 denars,
which make 15 solidi.
6. But if a freeman strike a freeman with his fist so that
blood does not flow, he shall be sentenced for each blow-up to 3 blows to 120
denars, which make 3 solidi.
Title XXIV. Concerning the
Killing of Little Children and
1. If any one have slain a boy under 10 years-up to the
end of the tenth-and it shall have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced to
24000 denars, which make 600 solidi.
3. If any one have hit a free woman who is pregnant, and
she dies, he shall be sentenced to 28000 denars, which makes 700 solidi.
6. If any one have killed a free woman after she has begun
bearing children, he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make 600 solidi.
7. After she can have no more children, he who kills her
shall be sentenced to 8000 denars, which make 200 solidi.
Title XXX. Concerning Insults
3. If any one, man or woman, shall have called a woman
harlot, and a not have been able to prove it, he shall be sentenced to 1800
denars, which make 45 solidi.
4. If any person shall have called another "fox," he shall
be sentenced to 3 solidi.
5. If any man shall have called another "hare," he shall
be sentenced to 3 solidi.
Title XLI Concerning the Murder of Freemen
1. If any one shall have killed a free Frank, or a
barbarian living under the Salic law, and it have been proved on him, he shall
be sentenced to 8000 denars.
2. But if he shall have thrown him into a well or into the
water, or shall have covered him with branches or anything else, to conceal him,
he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make
3. But if any one has slain a man who is in the service of
the king, he shall be sentenced to 24000 denars, which make 600 solidi.
4. But if he have put him in the water or in a well, and
covered him with anything to conceal him, he shall be sentenced to 72000 denars,
which make 1800 solidi.
5. If any one have slain a Roman who eats in the king's
palace, and it have been proved on him, he shall be sentenced to 12000 denars,
which make 300 solidi.
6. But if the Roman shall not have been a landed
proprietor and table companion of the king, he who killed him shall be sentenced
to 4000 denars, which make 100 solidi.
Title LVII. Concerning the "Chrenecruda "
1. If any one have killed a man, and, having given up all
his property, has not enough to comply with the full terms of the law, he shall
present 12 sworn witnesses to the effect that, neither above the earth nor under
it, has he any more property than he has already given, And he shall afterwards
go into his house, and shall collect in his hand dust from the four corners of
it, and shall afterwards stand upon the threshold, looking inwards into the
house. And then, with his left hand, he shall throw over his shoulder some of
that dust on the nearest relative that he has. But if his father and (his
father's) brothers have already paid, he shall then throw that dust on their
(the brothers') children-that is, over three (relatives) who are nearest on the
father's and three on the mother's side. And after that, in his shirt, without
girdle and without shoes, a staff in his hand, he shall spring over the hedge.
And then those three shall pay half of what is lacking of the compounding money
or the legal fine; that is, those others who are descended in the paternal line
shall do this.
2. But if there be one of those relatives who has not
enough to pay his whole indebtedness, he, the poorer one, shall in turn throw
the "chrenecruda" on him of them who has the most, so that he shall pay the
3. But if he also have not enough to pay the whole, then
he who has charge of the murderer shall bring him before the "Thing," and
afterwards to 4 Things, in order that they (his friends) may take him under
their protection. And if no one have taken him under his protection-that is, so
as to redeem him for what he can not pay-then he shall have to atone with his
Title LIX. Concerning Private Property
1. If any man die and leave no sons, if the father and
mother survive, they shall inherit.
2. If the father and mother do not survive, and he leave
brothers or sisters, they shall inherit.
3. But if there are none, the sisters of the father shall
4. But if there are no sisters of the father, the sisters
of the mother shall claim the inheritance.
5. If there are none of these, the nearest relative on the
father's side shall succeed to that inheritance.
6. But of Salic land no portion of the inheritance shall
come to a woman: but the whole inheritance of the land shall come to the male
Title LXII. Concerning
1 . If any one's father have been killed, the sons shall
have half the compounding money (wergeld); and the other half the nearest
relatives, as well on the mother's as on the father's side, shall divide among
2. But if there are no relatives, paternal or maternal,
that portion shall go to the fisc.
"The Salic Law," in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of
the Middle Ages (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pp. 176-189
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(c)Paul Halsall Feb 1996