King Louis the Child of Germany:
An Inquiry into the Tolls of Raffelstettin, c. 905
During the reign of Louis the Child, last of the house of Charlemagne to rule in
Germany, an inquiry was made into the tolls on the eastern frontier, and a statement was
made of what tolls were customarily levied. The staple articles of exchange were salt,
serfs, and livestock, upon all of which commodities thelony was taken with certain
exemptions. The presence of the Jewish merchants, and the existence of fairs and markets,
all indicate the virile condition of the commerce of eastern Germany.
1. But the ships which come from the western parts, after they have sailed
beyond the Patavica wood and come to Rosdorf, or wherever they wish to stay and have a
market, shall give half a drachma as thelony, that is, one scot: if they wish to go
further to Lintzam they shall pay for each ship three half muids of salt, that is, three
bushels. But for their servants and other goods they shall pay nothing, but afterwards
they shall have permission to stay and trade wheresoever they wish as far as the Bohemian
2. If any of the Bavarians wish to send their salt home, and the captain of the
ship confirm this by oath, they shall pay nothing, but shall pass freely.
3. But if any free man transport his goods saying and paying nothing, and it
afterwards be proved against him, his ship and his goods shall be taken from him. But if
it were the serf of any one who did this, he shall be detained there until his master come
and pay the damage, and afterwards he shall be allowed to go.
4. And if the Bavarians or Slavs of that country should enter that place to buy
food with serfs, horses, oxen, or garments, let them buy without thelony wherever they
wish in that place what things are necessary. But if they wish to pass through the market
place of that town let them pass without any restraint through the middle of the market;
and they may buy in other parts of the town without thelony whatever they can. If they are
pleased to purchase more in that market they shall give the said toll and buy what they
wish and as much as they are well able to buy.
5. But the salt carts which cross the River Enns by the lawful road shall pay at
Url one full bushel, and shall be compelled to pay nothing more. But the ships which come
there from Traungau shall pay nothing but shall cross without any tax. This must be
observed in the case of the Bavarians.
6. But the Slavs, who leave Russia or Bohemia for the purpose of trade, wherever
they obtain places for trading, either on the banks of the Danube, or anywhere among the
Rotalarii or Redarians, shall pay one denarius together with two measures of wax, of which
both must be worth one scot; from a peddler's bundle one measure of wax of the same value;
but if any one wish to sell serfs or horses let him pay for each female serf a third part
of a denarius, for each horse the same, for a male serf one denarius, and the same for a
mare. But Bavarians or Slavs of that country, buying or selling, shall not be compelled to
7. Concerning the salt ships; after they have passed the Bohemian wood, they
shall not have in any place license to stay, or buy, or sell, before they arrive at
Ebersburg. There from each lawful ship, that is, one which three men navigate, shall be
paid three bushels of salt, and nothing more shall be taken from them, but they shall
proceed to Merkel or wherever the salt market is fixed at the time; and there they shall
pay likewise, that is, three bushels of salt, and nothing more; and afterwards they shall
have free and secure permission to buy and sell without imposition by the count, or
restriction by any person; and they shall sell their goods for as much money as buyer and
seller are agreed upon between themselves, and they shall have free license in all things.
8. But if they wish to cross to the fair of Moravia, according to the estimate
of their purchases at the time, they shall pay one solidus for each ship, and pass freely;
and on returning lawful merchants shall pay nothing.
9. Merchants, that is, Jews and other merchants, whencesoever they come, from
that country or from others, shall pay the just thelony both for their servants and their
goods, just as was always the case in the time of previous kings.
Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Legum, Alfredus Boretius and Victor Krause, Eds.
(Hanover, 1897), Sectio II, Tome II, p. 250; 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. 401-402.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998