Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

were oppressed by the zeal of the clergy, and protected by lh« toleration of the state. Godfrey listened to their reasonable prayer, that they might be judged by their own national laws. A third court was instituted for their use, of limited and domestic jurisdiction: the sworn members were Syrians, iv blood, language, and religion; but the office of the president (in Arabic, of the rais) was sometimes exercised by the vis50unt of the city. At an immeasurable distance below the tables, the burgesses, and the strangers, the Assise of Jerusa lem condescends to mention the villains and slaves, the peasant') of the land and the captives of war, who were almost equally considered as the objects of property. The relief or protection of these unhappy men was not esteemed worthy of the care of the legislator; but he diligently provides for the re covery, though not indeed for the punishment, of the fugitives. Like hounds, or hawks, who had strayed from the lawful owner, they might be lost and claimed: the slave and falcon were of the same value; but three slaves, or twelve oxen, were accumulated to equal the price of the war-horse; and a sum of three hundred pieces of gold was fixed, in the age of chivalry, as the equivalent of the more noble animal.1"

148 See the Assises de Jerusalem, (310, 311, 312.) These laws were enacted as late as the year 1350, in the kingdom of Cyprus. In the same century, in the reign of Edward I., I understand, from a late publication, (oi his Book of Account,) that the price of a war-horse wa» not loss exoibitar.t in England.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »