Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1

When a fief passed from an individual to a corporate body, it was said to change from
a state of main vive to a state of main morte, and this change of status was called
amortissement. The term amortissement also described both the permission required for
such a transaction and the payment that the lord required as compensation for the
It was not until the 13th century that lawyers began to articulate these principles,
perhaps because alienation of fiefs to nonnobles was rare until that time. The French
kings, now claiming recognition as supreme suzerains in the feudal hierarchy, began to
issue ordinances regarding alienations of feudal property, the first of these being in 1275.
Between 1291 and 1313, Philip IV began to use the concept of abrègement du fief as a
device for raising money. He had commissioners investigate property transactions
throughout the realm and levy fines for franc-fief and amortissement that amounted to
several years’ revenues of the property in question. In 1321, Philip V regulated all
transactions that had occurred in the past sixty years, ordering the church to pay
amortissement of six years’ revenues of fiefs received as gifts and eight years’ revenues
of fiefs acquired by purchase. The crown made heavy use of abrègement du fief as a
fiscal device during the 1320s and continued the practice intermittently thereafter, but as
regular taxation developed during the Hundred Years’ War the exploitation of this source
of revenue lost its significance.
John Bell Henneman, Jr.
Carreau, Marie-Elisabeth. “Les commissaires royaux aux amortissements et aux nouveaux acquets
sous les Capétiens (1275–1328).” Positions des thèses. Paris: École Nationale des Chartes,
Henneman, John Bell. “Enquêteurs-Réformateurs and Fiscal Officers in Fourteenth-Century
France.” Traditio 24(1968): 309–49.
ABUZÉ EN COURT. This anonymous poem interspersed with prose, preserved in six
manuscripts and five incunabula, has been incorrectly attributed to King René d’Anjou or
Charles de Rochefort. Written in the third quarter of the 15th century, it is a
condemnation of court life in the tradition of Alain Chartier’s Curial and Quadrilogue
invectif. Abuzé encounters allegorical figures (Abuz, Folcuider, Temps, Folle Bobance,
etc.) and recounts his experiences at court. The work, in the Grand Rhétoriqueur
tradition, makes extensive use of rhetorical figures.
William W.Kibler
Dubuis, Roger, ed. L’Abuzé en court. Geneva: Droz, 1973.
ACART DE HESDIN, JEAN (fl. early 14th c.). The Prise amoureuse, an allegorical
hunt-of-love poem of 1,915 lines, including nine intercalated ballades and nine rondeaux,
composed in 1332, is the only known work of this author, whom a manuscript refers to as
“hospitalier,” presumably a friar living at the foundation of the countess of Artois in
James I.Wimsatt
Acart de Hesdin, Jean. La prise amoureuse, ed. Ernest Hoepffner. Dresden: Niemeyer, 1910.
Hoepffner, Ernest. “Zur ‘Prise amoureuse’ von Jehan Acart de Hesdin.” Zeitschrift für romanische
Philologie 38(1917): 513–27.

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