The Feudal Nobility and The Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1174–1277 by J.Riley- Smith

By J.Riley- Smith

This is a examine of the feudal nobles within the Latin country of Jerusalem; their prestige in Palestinian society, their lordships and their political principles; and the advance of those principles as expressed in constitutional conflicts with kings and regents from 1174 to 1277.

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7 gave the lords of maritime fiefs the right to shipwreck, a proportion of the cargoes jettisoned in times of storm and washed on to Palestinian shores and timbers from the ships wrecked on the coast; 25 and within a few years another regalian right, the minting of coins, was usurped by the barons, for money is known to have been struck in the Lordships of Jaffa, Sidon, Beirut, Toron and Tyre after its acquisition by Philip of Montfort. 00 it was believed that, except when a man alienated lands to a religious house in such a way that services to the crown would be reduced, the king had no right to interfere in the granting of fiefs within a lordship.

Ss One can divide gastinae into at least three categories. First there was an important group of them in towns and it is clear that any houses on these were in a state of disrepair. 3 9 Secondly, and a larger class than has been supposed, there were independent properties in the countryside, two of which appear to have been pasturages. 48 We can, first of all, establish that they were not usually the pasture lands, which lay round many villages, 49 for there are documents in whichgastinae and pastures are mentioned together with reference to the same casalia.

7I the persons who held rear-fiefs in the lordships. 100 They seem to have made up a close society, sharing among themselves the seigneurial offices, many of them as sergeantries. Among them are to be found relatives of the lords,101 as well as members of other well-known families in the East. 102 The most interesting detail brought to light however is that several rear-vassals enjoyed fiefs in more than one lordship. 70. 105 Two important political figures were members of this group. Stephen of Sauvegny, active in the High Court and its representative in negotiations with Ancona in I 2.

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