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Assizes of Romania

The Assizes of Romania (Assises de Romanie) constitutes the only surviving collection of the laws of the Principality of Achaea, a territory established by Frankish crusaders following the fall of Constantinople in 1204. Codified in the early fourteenth century, the text contains a prologue, followed by 219 clauses detailing the laws of the Principality. The prologue recounts how, after the establishment of the Latin Empire in Constantinople, Emperor Baldwin wrote to the Levant to request the written laws of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and that these laws were brought to Constantinople by a number of eminent jurists, including Ralph of Tiberias. The veracity of this account remains a matter of debate, but the value of the Assises de Romanie is that it closely examines the relationship between lords and vassals, and cites many of the Byzantine traditions that governed the rights of Greek landowners (archontes) and serfs (paroikoi). Although all twelve surviving manuscripts are written in Italian and were copied in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth centuries, French was almost certainly the language of the original redaction, dating to the early fourteenth century.

Representative MSS

Recoura, Georges. Les Assises de Romanie. Paris: Bibliothèque de l'École des hautes études, 1930.

Topping, Peter. Feudal institutions As Revealed in the Assizes of Romania; The Law Code of Frankish Greece: Translation of the Text of the Assizes with a Commentary on Feudal Institutions in Greece and Medieval Europe. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949.

Secondary Literature
Jacoby, David. La Féodalité en Grèce médiéval: Les Assises de Romanie: sources, application et diffusion. Paris: Éditions de l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales, 1971.

Nader, Marwan. Burgesses and Burgess law in the Latin Kingdoms of Jerusalem and Cyprus, 1099-1325. Burlington: Ashgate, 2006, 66-68.