The deeds of the eighth year of the reign of Phillip king of the Franks

57. In the year of the Lord 1188, in the month of March, the middle of Lent, king Phillip celebrated a general council at Paris, to which he summoned all the archbishops, bishops, abbots and barons of the whole realm. At it an innumerable multitude of knights and footsoldiers were signed with the most sacred cross. And on account of the emergency (for the king aspired to make the Jerusalem journey from the city), he decreed with the assent of clergy and people that certain tithes were to be taken from everyone, called the Saladin Tithes and which we have placed in the present book.

The text of the (Saladin) Tithes

58. In the name of the holy and individual Trinity, amen. It has been enacted by the lord Phillip king of the Franks, with the counsel of the archbishops, bishops and barons of his land, that the bishops and prelates and clergy of the conventual churches and the knights who have taken the cross will have a respite for the repayment of the debts owed both to Jews and to Christians before the king took the cross for two years from the first All Souls day after the king leaves (for Jerusalem. Thus creditors will have a third of their debt on that first All Souls day, another third of the debt the next All Souls day and the final third on the third feast of All Souls. Moreover usury will not run against anyone from the day he took the cross for any debts previously contracted.

If any knight bearing the cross should be a legitimate heir, the son or son-in-law of some knight who does not bear the cross or of some widow, and he belong to the mainpast n1 of his father or mother, his father or mother is to enjoy respite concerning his debt according to the ordinance just made.

But if their son or son-in-law be a forisfamiliated legitimate heir,n2 also if he is not yet knighted and is not bearing the cross, he [the father] shall not enjoy a respite on his [the son's] account.

Further, debtors who will have lands and rents within the fortnight before the feast of St. John the Baptist, will assign to their creditors, through the lords under whose lordship the indebted lands were, lands and rents from which the creditors will receive their debts at the aforesaid terms. And the lords may not oppose these assignments, unless they are prepared to satisfy the creditor for his money (de pecunia sua pacem fecerint).

If any cleric or knight bearing the cross owes a debt to another cleric or knight also bearing the cross, he shall have a respite for it until the next feast of All Souls, providing indeed he gives good security for that adjournment.

If any of those who took the cross eight days before the Purification of St. Mary or thereafter assigns any gold or silver, or grain, or any other moveable as a gage, the creditor is not to be compelled to give a respite for this.

If anyone buys from anyone else who does not bear the cross one year's fruits of any lands at a fixed price, that deal is to stand.

If any knight or cleric gages or leases for a term of years his land or rent to any burgess also bearing the cross, or to a cleric or knight who does not bear the cross, the debtor will receive this year's fruits or rent and the creditor, once the term of years for which he ought to hold the gage or assignment is over, will hold for one extra year to compensate him for the year he lost (at the start). The creditor is to receive half of the grain for that year for cultivation [as seed?], providing he has cultivated the lands or vineyards.

All deals (mercata) made from the week before the Purification of St. Mary or thereafter are valid.

Debtors are to give concerning all debts for which respite has been granted a good surety (fidejussionem) equal to or better than the one he had given previously. And if any dispute should arise concerning this surety, a surety arrangement as good as before or better will be made by the counsel og the lord under whom the creditor is; and if this arrangement is not satisfactorily adjusted by the lord, it should be amended by the counsel of the prince of the land.

Should any of the lords or princes in whose jurisdiction the said creditors and debtors were be unwilling to uphold or cause to be not upheld what was ordained concerning the respite of the debts and the making of (financial) assignments, and he is warned by his metropolitan or bishop, and does not remedy the situation within forty days, he may then be placed by the same (bishop) under sentence of excommunication. Nevertheless, so long as the lord is willing to plead in the presence of his metropolitan or bishop that he did not default towards the creditor, or even the debtor, and that he is prepared to uphold what was ordained, the metropolitan or bishop may not excommunicate him.

Nobody bearing the cross, whether cleric or knight or anyone else, should have to make answer to any claim for anything that he held on the day he took the cross until he returns from the journey (itinere = crusade) he has undertaken, the sole exception being a suit begun against him before he took the cross.

More of the same

59. It was enacted especially concerning these tithes that all who do not bear the cross, whoever they may be, give in this year at least a tenth of all their movable goods and rents, except for as much property as belongs to members of the Cistercian and Carthusian orders and the order of Fontevrault, and except for lepers.

Nobody is to lay a hand upon any communal property (communia = property owned by religious houses etc.?) unless he is its lord. He will then have only such right in the communal property as anyone had had previously.n3

Anyone exercising "haute justice" (qui...magnam justiciam habet) over the lands of another will have the tithe of the same lands. And note that the person from whom tithes are due is to give tithes from all his movable property and rents, with no exception allowed for his debts contracted previously. Rather, he may pay his debts with what remains after the grant of the tithes.

All laymen, knights as well as others, are to give tithes after swearing an oath under threat of anathema, clerics to be constrained by threat of excommunication.

Any knight not bearing the cross is to give the tithe from his movable property to the lord who does bear the cross and from any fee which he holds of him. If he should hold no fee from him, he is to give a tithe of his movable property to his liege lord. He is to give a tithe from each fee to the lord from whom he holds it. Should he have no liege lord, he is to give the tithe of his movable property to the one on whose he fee he actually lives (in cujus feodo manserit levans et cubans).

If anyone collecting his tithe finds on his lands, property belonging to someone other than those from whom he ought to be taking tithe, and that person can show that the things are his, he may not retain them as tithe.

Any knight bearing the cross who is a legitimate heir, the son or son-in-law of a knight who does not bear the cross or of a widow, he is to have the tithe of father or mother.

No-one is to set hand on the property of archbishops or bishops or (cathedral) chapters or of churches held directly of them (que ab eis movent in capite), except the archbishops, bishops, chapters and the churches held of them. If it is the bishops, they are to collect the tithes and give them to whoever they ought to give them.

Anyone bearing the cross who ought to pay "taille"n4 and tithes and is unwilling to do so, let them be taken from him to the person to whom he owes his "taille" and tithes for him to do with as he wills. No-one can be excommunicated for taking this.

On the breach of treaty committed by count Richard

60. Two or three months after these things were done, between Whitsun and the feast of St. John's [June 5-24, 1188], Richard count of Poitou assembled an army, entered the lands which the count of Toulouse held from the king of the Franks, and took Moissac and other castles belonging to the count of Toulouse. When Raymond, count of Toulouse heard of this, he sent messengers to the most Christian king Phillip, to report all the evil things done to him by the count of Poitou against right and the treaty which had existed before. For count Richard had broken the pact made and confirmed on oath the year before between Chaumont and Gisors between Phillip king of the Franks and Henry king of England with the same Richard. It ran like this: that their lands should remain in the state they were when the kings had taken the cross, until each of them returned home joyfully after performing the Lord's service across the sea in the Holy Land. When king Phillip "semper Augustus" heard about the breach of the treaty which the two above-mentioned kings had struck between themselves, he was much moved and so collected a multitude of armed men and swiftly entered their lands to take Châteauroux and "Busenzacum" and "Argentonum" and besieged a fourth one called "Leurosium". It was while the king was there for a short stay during the siege that something happened worthy of memory.

On the miraculous growth of a torrent

61. There was a torrent before this castle in which you would find sufficient water after heavy rains but which was now all dried up from the boiling heat of summer. But when the king and his whole army were deeply afflicted with thirst and lack of water (for it was summer), the water of the torrent suddenly and miraculously burst forth, without any rain, from the deep bowels of the earth so that its level reached the horses' harness enough to revive the whole army with their animals. The populace, seeing this and bowled over by joy at so great a miracle, praised God who did everything he wished in the sea and in every abyss. And the water lasted as long as the king was at the siege. After a few days he took the castle, "Leurosium", and granted it to his kinsman, Louis son of count Thibaut. Once he went away, the waters returned to their previous place and did not appear again.

On the total demolition of "Monte Tricardo"

62. After leaving there they came to besiege "Mont Tricard", where the king stayed a while on siege, erecting machines all round it until he took it with the greatest labor, set the whole town on fire and totally demolished the very strong keep in which there had been fifty armed knights. He then took "Paluellum" and "Montesorium" and "Castelletum", and "Rupem Guillebaldi" and "Cullencem" and "Montem Luzzonis" and king Phillip subjugated to himself whatever right the king of England had in "Bituria" and Auvergne. The king of England was much angered when he saw this, and marched his army back through the march of Normandy towards Gisors. Phillip king of France followed him as soon as he heard the news, took "Vindocinum" on the way and pursued the king right up the castle called "Trou" from which he ejected in shame the king of England along with his son Richard and burnt the whole town. But the king of England then passed through theat march and burnt the castle of "Drocarum" and on the route destroyed many rural villages right up to Gisors. Things finally quietened down with the arrival of winter when each granted the other a truce.

That count Richard of Poitou did homage to king Phillip

63. While these things were going on, Richard count of Poitou requested from his father the wife rightfully due to him, the sister of Phillip king of the Franks who had been handed over into his custody by Louis of good memeory, and with her he requested the kingdom. For so it was in the agreements, that whichever of the sons of the king of England had her as his wife should have the kingdom after the king's death. Richard said that she was rightfully his, since he was the eldest now that his brother Henry was dead. The king of England was very disturbed to hear this and determined that no way would he do this. This so upset Richard, count of Poitou, that he ostentatiously left his father, transferred himself to the most Christian king of the Franks and in the presence of his father did homage to king Phillip and affirmed the pact under oath. [November 18 1188, between Bonmoulins and Soligny.]

Some incidentals

64. In the same year 1188, the second day of February, a Thursday, there was a total eclipse of the moon which lasted three hours from the fourth hour of the night. [Actual date February 3 1189.] Again on the fourth ides of February, while I was at Argenteuil [Seine-et-Oise], on the very calm night of a full moon just before dawn, the Moon (which signifies the Church) descended to earth for a moment, and after a tiny stay as if to recover its strength rose up again back to the place from which it had started. This was seen by brothers R. de Gisors, prior of the house, and J. of Chartres, treasurer (capicerius) of Saint-Denis, and many other monks who reported it to us.

Some anonymous verses

65. Some almost prophetic verses were made in the same year about king Phillip by a certain versifier:

"That little lion will shine with the luster of his kin
He will serve God until he renews the joys of his people.
Brutus keeps for him the four swords of the Catuli;
Answer will be dumb, when Romulus hears the swords.
Babylon will rejoice, its citizens flourishing from their anointing (?),
And Silon will rejoice, rich from the offerings of the Gauls.
That lion will destroy the zones of the whole world,
And he will rejoice to see arms put away.
Here the lion, crow, sheep, will renew the fortifications of "Jebus",
And will increase the fasts by five new days.

[These ten lines of eulogistic rhyming couplets are quite beyond my current powers of translation! But the crude rendering above may give some idea of Rigord's intent.]


[Oeuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. H. Francoise Delaborde, I (Libr. Renouard: Paris, 1882).
Translation © Paul R. Hyams 1998]

1. Household, in the sense that the head of the household might be held responsible for him. 

2. ie has received a share of the inheritance in his father's lifetime, for example on marriage.

3. This may be a comment on the controverted rights exercised by secular lords as advocates of religious houses.

4. "Tallia" is tallage or aid, a customary, often arbitrary payment.

2. i.e. has received a share of the inheritance in his father's lifetime, for example on marriage.