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Le Moyen Age

2010/1 (Tome CXVI)


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Why was one of the feudal Jurisdictions of the Prince- Bishop of Liège called the Anneau du Palais ? A study of the name given to one of the feudal jurisdictions of the Bishop of Liège in his capacity as feudal lord has made it possible to illustrate the exceptional nature of these jurisdictions. At the back of the episcopal palace, the door leading to the garden – a focal location where the feudal lord metes out justice – has a metal ring, which the person to be tried strikes to request the gatekeeper to let him know where the Bishop is and to make him witness to a request for deferment. Since the feudal lord is bound to denounce this as an assault on his sovereign rights, he orders a sergeant to issue a proclamation at the rear of his residence and to ring the public bell to summon his vassals. Through a metonymic process, the “Palace Ring” thus becomes a par excellence designation for the institution through which the Bishop of Liège, by crystallizing his personal power as feudal lord, preserves his rights as the supreme upholder of the law. Seeking to shed light on the prerogatives of this jurisdiction and on how it operated, the authors describe the singular procedure of the request for deferment, known as a paroffre. They then analyze the punishment at the core of the coercive mechanism, the forjugement (an ancient term designating the loss of all rights and privileges), established to assure the cohesion of the feudal group.

Key words

  • anneau du palais
  • forjugement
  • feudal jurisdiction
  • paroffre

Plan de l'article

  1. Rôle et missions de l’Anneau du palais
  2. Une fausse piste
  3. Une procédure d’ajournement 28 : la paroffre
  4. Une juridiction seigneuriale : l’Anneau du palais
  5. Une peine viagère : le forjugement
  6. Où se trouvait la porte à l’anneau ?
  7. Conclusions

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