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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 209



the Egyptian army had to he defeated, was a source of the greatest danger in time of peace. It is true that the time of peace was never more than a few months in duration. The duties and rights of king, baron, and bourgeois were therefore strictly and carefully laid down in Godfrey's Assises. Every law was written on parchment, in great letters, the first being illuminated in gold, and all the others in vermilion ; on every sheet was the seal of the king; the whole was deposited in a great box in the sacred church, and called the " Letters of the Sepulchre." The duty of the king was to maintain the laws ; to defend the church ; to care for widows and orphans ; to watch over the safety of the people ; and to lead the army to war. The duty of the seigneur towards his people was exactly the same as that of the king ; towards the king it was to serve him in war and by counsel. The duty of a subject to his lord was to defend and to revenge him ; to protect the honour of his wife and daughters ; to be a hostage for him in case of need ; to give him his horse if he wanted one, or arms if he wanted them ; and to keep faith with him. There were three courts of justice ; the first presided over by the king, for the regulation of all differences between the great vassals ; the second, formed of the principal inhabitants—a kind of jury—to maintain the laws among the bourgeoisie ; and the third, reserved for the Oriental Christians, presided over by judges born in Syria. The king, the summit of this feudal pyramid, who was wont to offer his crown at the Holy Sepulchre, " as a woman used to offer her male child at the Temple," had immediately under him his seneschal, who acted as chief justice, chancellor of the exchequer, and prime minister. The constable commanded the army in the name of or in the absence of the king ; he presided over the ordeal by battle, and regulated its administration. Under his orders


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