ANST - Re: long courts

Timothy A. McDaniel tmcd at
Tue Aug 5 14:53:49 PDT 1997

Garth wrote:
> True, but in theory and within the legal framework of Fuedalism all
> oaths led directly back to the King.

or Emperor, or what have you ... 

But there are two qualifications:

- not all oaths are the same.  "The only difference between the duke
of the Normans and the king of the French is that the duke swears
fealty to the king, and the king does not swear fealty to the duke."
A lot of feudal ties could be very loose along the chain.

- a fundamental principle was that "the vassal of my vassal is not my
vassal" / "the lord of my lord is not my lord".  I used this example
when my liege lady and I both lived in the Middle: if she said,
"Daniel, nock an arrow and shoot the King of the Middle", I would
reply, "Certainly.  On your head the sin" and let fly.  I've sworn no
oath to the king, so I am not a traitor.  My oath is to her.  *She*
has probably sworn fealty, so she is probably forsworn, but *she's*
the traitor.  In fact, if I *don't* fire, *I'm* the traitor, for
betraying the one oath I do have.  For a (late) period example, see
the campfire conversation by Henry V in Shakespear's play of that ilk,
before the prayer to Heaven.

William the Conqueror tried to change that in England in the oath of
Salisbury Plain, when he tried to get all the leading men of England,
whether vassals or vavasours, to swear liege fealty to him directly.
I don't think English kings managed to establish that principle
(until perhaps the Tudors managed it?).

Daniel de Lincoln
Tim McDaniel.   Reply to tmcd at
tmcd at is not a valid address.


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