05 September 2008

Medieval Form Letter

Some things never change.

To that magnificent lord [blank], I, [blank]. Since it is known familiarly to all how little I have whence to feed and clothe myself, I have therefore petitioned your piety, and your good will has decreed to me that I should hand myself over or commend myself to your guardianship, which I have thereupon done; that is to say in this way, that you should aid and succor me as well with food as with clothing, according as I shall be able to serve you and deserve it.

And so long as I shall live I ought to provide service and honor to you, suitably to my free condition; and I shall not during the time of my life have the ability to withdraw your or guardianship; but must remain during the days of my life under your power or defense. Wherefore it is proper that if either us shall wish to withdraw himself from these agreements, he shall pay [blank] shillings to the other party, and this agreement shall remain unbroken.

-- tr. E.P. Cheyney, "Frankish Commendation," Translations and Reprints of Original Sources of European History, vol 4, no. 3, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1897, p. 3-4.