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Legal Texts in the Levant

A great number of French-language texts survive to us today which have as their subject the laws, practices, and customs from the legal courts of the Latin East. These texts, some of which only survive to us through Armenian translation, describe both the feudal customs and legal workings of the courts, and in doing so, offer a glimpse into the social boundaries and formal mechanisms inherent in these societies. Accordingly, they have attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, but little has been made of their status as original French-language documents.

At times, parts of this corpus have been collectively, if rather misleadingly, referred to as “the Assises of Jerusalem,” a term which suggests that the customs described within originated at the royal court of Jerusalem in the early part of the twelfth century. More details on the texts in this tradition, some of which are included below, can be found here.


See especially,

Grandclaude, M. "Classement sommaire des manuscrits des principaux livres des Assises de Jérusalem," Revue historique de droit français e étranger 4:5 (1926), 418-507;

and the secondary works listed on the source page for each text.