XXVIII.21 Another reflection on the point of honor among the Germans

, par Stewart

“It was a great infamy among the Germans,” says Tacitus, “to have lost one’s shield in battle ; and many, after this misfortune, had put themselves to death.” [1] Indeed the ancient Salic law grants a compensation of fifteen sous to a man who to whom it had been said by way of insult that he had lost his shield. [2]

Charlemagne, amending the Salic law, assigns in this case only three sous of compensation. [3] We cannot suspect this prince of intending to weaken military discipline ; it is clear that this change came from the change in weapons, and it is to this change in weapons that we owe the origin of many practices.


[1De moribus Germanorum [ch. vi].

[2In Pactus legis Salicæ.

[3We have the former law and the one amended by the prince.