The Northern Way

Miscellaneous Law Texts

Various Laws Concerning Inheritance

Law of The Visigoths:
Succession to Inheritance, c. 475

Concerning successions:
C.l. (Antiqua).
Let sisters succeed equally with brothers to the inheritance of the parents. If a father or mother die intestate, let the sisters with the brothers succeed to the inheritance of each parent In equa division without any oblection.
C.2. (Antiqua). The children are first in the succession of an inheritance. In the inheritance of him who dies intestate the children are first: if there are no children, the inheritance goes to the grandchildren; if there are no grandchildren, the great-grandchildren are called to the inheritance; but if he who dies leave neither children, grandchildren, father, nor mother, then the grandfather or grandmother will establish the inheritance for themselves.

Source:
Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Legum, Karl Zeumer, ed., (Hanover and Leipzig, 1902), Sectio I, Tome I, p. 174; 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), p. 335.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.




The Lombard Law of Rothari:
Succession of Legitimate and Natural Sons, c. 643


If any one should leave one son, that is an only son, and one or more natural sons, the legitimate son shall have two thirds of his father's substance, and the natural sons the remaining third. And if there be two legitimate sons, they shall have four parts and the natural sons a fifth, however many there may be. And if there be three legitimate sons, the natural sons shall have a seventh part. If there be four legitimate sons, the natural sons shall have a ninth part. If there be five legitimate sons, the natural sons shall have a twelfth part. But if there be more, they shall divide the substance of the father by this number.

Source:
L. A. Muratori, ed., Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, (Milan, 1725), Tome I, Part II, p. 26; 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. 336-337.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.



The Ripuarian Law:
Inheritance of Allodial Land, c. 450


The inheritance of land under the barbarians would mean the inheritance of allodial land (freehold land), and in addition there was inheritance of movables. Among some, women could inherit land equally with men, and in most cases all the children shared in the division of paternal property, even the illegitimate children being included; but the Salic Law says that women may not succeed to land. These laws were mainly codified or amended after the invasions, and represent a fairly settled state of affairs in Western Europe.

Concerning allodial land:
1. If any one die without children, if the father and mother be living, let them succeed to the inheritance.
2. If the father and mother be not living, let brother and sister succeed.
3. But if he have neither of them, let the brother and sister of the mother and father succeed.
4. And finally up to the fifth degree of relationship let him who is nearest succeed to the inheritance. But if the sixth male be living let the female not succeed to the inheritance.
 
Concerning a man who dies without heirs:

If any one have no sons or daughters, let the husband to his wife, or the wife to her husband, or to any one whatever among relatives or strangers, bequeath in the presence of the king all the property, or (give it) as a gift by a series of writings, or by transfer, and use of witnesses according to the Ripuarian law.

Source.
From: Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Legum, R. Sohm, ed., (Hanover, 1875-1889), Tome V, p. 240; 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. 334-335.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

 

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