XVIII.30 On the authority of the clergy in the first dynasty

Among bar­ba­rian peo­ples, priests ordi­na­rily have some power, because they have both the autho­rity which they owe to their reli­gion and the influence which peo­ple like them place in super­sti­tion. And so we see in Tacitus that priests enjoyed great cre­dit among the Germans, and that they main­tai­ned order in the assem­bly of the peo­ple.1 They alone had the right to chas­tise, to bind, or to strike, which they did, not by order of the prince, nor to inflict a punish­ment, but as if by ins­pi­ra­tion of the deity ever pre­sent to those who wage war.2

We must not be sur­pri­sed if from the begin­ning of the first dynasty we find the bishops as arbi­ters of judg­ments,3 if we find them appea­ring in the assem­blies of the nation, if they so greatly influence the reso­lu­tions of the kings, and if they are given so much pro­perty.

Silentium per sacerdotes, quibus et coercendi jus est, imperatur (De moribus Germanorum [ch. xi]).

Nec Regibus libera aut infinita potestas. […] Cæterum neque animadvertere, neque vincire, neque verberare, nisi sacerdotibus est permissum, non quasi in pœnam, nec Ducis jussu, sed velut Deo imperante, quem adesse bellatoribus credunt. (ibid [ch. vii].)

See Constitution de Clotaire of the year 560, article 6.