Skip to content

Livre Contrefais des Assizes

Summary
The Livre contrefais des Assises (also referred to as the Livres du pledeant et du plaidoyer) is a collection of laws of the usages of the Burgess Court (Cour des Bourgeois) in Nicosia, compiled in the early fourteenth century by an anonymous author. Writing in the first person, the unknown author reveals that he was over the age of seventy when he began his text, and that he had worked in the Cour des Bourgeois as an officer of the court for forty years. The author draws upon previously recorded law collections from the East, such as the Livre de la Cour des Bourgeois, which he quotes at length, but also inserts material drawn from his own experiences at the court. The Livre contrefais is divided into two books: the first addresses the duties of the officers of the Cour des Bourgeois in Nicosia, including how jurors of the court had interpreted laws in the past, and the procedures and powers of the court following judgments in commercial cases; the second concentrates on the court’s power in criminal cases, specifically concerning its ability to punish and its capacity to demand that accused parties appear in court.

MSS
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 12206

Edition
Beugnot, Auguste-Arthur. Recueil Des Historiens Des Croisades.  Paris: Imprimerie Royale 1814-1848.

Secondary Literature
Nader, Marwan. Burgesses and Burgess Law in the Latin Kingdoms of Jerusalem and Cyprus, 1099-1325. Burlington: Ashgate, 2006, 58-64.