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Medieval Sourcebook:
Philip Augustus:
Suppression of Etampes Commune, 1199-1200

King Philip Augustus quashes a commune, 1199-1200.

The following text is of interest for several reasons. First, it shows that urban privileges were indeed privileges, and could be revoked as a punishment for misdeeds. Second, it is a useful catalogue of some of the rights that Philip Augustus expected to exact from his men.]

In the name of the holy and individual Trinity, Amen. I, Philip, by the grace of God king of the French. Let all men, both present and future, know that on account of the injuries, oppressions and troubles that the commune of Etampes carried out against both the churches and their goods and the knights and their goods, we have quashed the same commune and have conceded to the churches and knights that at Etampes there will henceforth be no commune. The churches and knights shall regain those liberties and rights that they held prior to the commune, with the exception that all men and their villeins [hospites] shall attend our army [exercitus] and our expeditions, just as our other vassals do; and we will impose the taille on the vassals [homines] and villeins [hospites] of both the churches and the knights [milites] who are in the castle and suburbs of Etampes who were members of the commune, as often, moreover, as it shall please us. If moreover it shall happen that any of these vassals or villeins on whom the taille has been laid shall not pay it, we will be able [legally] to seize both the body of the vassal or villein and all of his moveables, regardless of whom - church or knight - he was the vassal or villein. So that it may obtain perpetual strength, we ordered the present page confirmed by the authority of our seal and by the characters of our royal name annotated below. Done at Paris, in the year of the lord 1199, in the 21st year of our reign, with those present in the palace whose names and signs are listed below:

No dapifer

S[ign of] Guy the butler

S[ign of] Matthew the chamberlain

S[ign of] Drogo the constable

Given with the chancellorship vacant


Source: Documents sur les relations de la royaute avec les villes en France de 1180 a 1314, ed. A. Giry and E. Lavisse (Paris: Picard, 1885), no. 5, p. 36. Translated by Richard Barton, 1998

The text is copy-permitted for educational and non-commercial use; it can be used in class course packets, but cannot be printed or otherwise distributed in print form (including by university presses), or used commercially, without permission from the translator. Since these texts might be revised, users should not mount these texts permanently (for more than one semester) on other websites.

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.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
[email protected]


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© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 1 February 2023 [CV]