Redemption of Slaves, c. 630
St. Eligius, Bishop of Noyon, redeemed captive slaves in large numbers and of many
nations. The Frankish supremacy over the Saxons probably accounted for the preponderance
of Saxon slaves.
Religious men from all parts came to him, foreigners also and monks, and in
whatever way he could serve he would either give them the money or share the price of the
captives; for he had the greatest enthusiasm for this kind of work. Indeed, whenever he
understood that a slave was being offered for sale, he hastened with the utmost speed in
his mercy and immediately gave the price and freed the captive. Occasionally he redeemed
from captivity at the same time as many as twenty, thirty, or even fifty; sometimes even
the whole body of slaves up to a hundred souls, coming from various peoples, and of both
sexes, he would free as they left the ship; there were Romans, Gauls, and Britons also,
and men of Marseilles, but they were chiefly men of Saxony, who at that time in large
numbers like flocks were expelled from their own lands and scattered in diderent
Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Scriptores, Bruno Krusch, ed., (Hanover, 1902),
Tome IV, p. 677; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for
Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed.,
New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 292-293.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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