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).

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.)

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