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Medieval Sourcebook:
Siegfried, Archbishop of Bremen:
Remittance of the "Hanse", 1181

Whereas in Flanders the first meaning of the word was that of a toll levied by the merchants of a city, in Germany its meaning was that of a toll levied by a lord on both local and foreign merchants. In this case the Archbishop of Bremen is removing the levy of "hanse."

In the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, Siegfried, by the grace of God, Archbishop of the church of Bremen, to all the faithful, both present and future, prosperity in the present life, and happiness in the future life.

We do not doubt that all abuses and harmful exactions ought to be abolished, and we think that the contrivances of man when they are against reason ought not to be preserved. Wherefore since we have seen that all the people of our city and a large number of those who turn the prows of their wandering ships to our shores have been oppressed by exactions, we have not closed the bowels of compassion toward them but we have relieved them of the burden of a certain exaction which is called Sleischat; hanse, which also pertained to us, we have submitted to the judgment of the citizens, and we have made our city free of both these inconveniences. For since the proof of affection is in the demonstration of it by good works, we have declared our affection by this deed, and have spared those grievously oppressed in the said manner, we have denied ourselves something, and we do not think it any harm to suffer so reasonable a hurt by sparing so many.

And in order that this may be held irrevocable and kept without retraction, by the authority of Omnipotent God and of St. Peter we have placed it under the protection of our inviolable ban;

Witnesses, etc.


From: G. F. Sartorius, Urkundliche Geschichte des Ursprunges der Deutschen Hanse, (Hamburg: 1830), Vol. II, p. 8, 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. 218-219.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, September 1998