By Thomas N. Bisson
This selection of essays makes an immense contribution to our wisdom of feudalism and finance in France and Spain. Divided into 4 sections, it covers the use rulers made from courts, parlements, and assemblies for ceremonial, political and financial reasons; the institutional formation of Catalonia; comparative reports of France, Catalonia and Aragon within the 12th century; and fiscal and financial regulations of up to date rulers.
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Rec. Trav. Soc. Agen, vn, preuves, no. 3, 614-615; Livre d'Agenais, no. 17, p. 37. 18 Medieval France and her Pyrenean Neighbours court four times a year, without summons, in order to hear appeals. This showed their discontent with certain novel procedures which were making it possible for the count's officials to do without the old feudal tribunal. 98 The government was undoubtedly trying to curtail its activity, and it seems clear that from the time of Alfonse the general court was in decline as a judicial institution.
The General Court of Agenais 23 The king himself was in Agen between 15 and £7 November 1286,120 and he may well have addressed the gathering at some point. By the later years of the century, then, the governors had utilized general assemblies for a variety of purposes. We may say that they had created new functions for the general court. For though the assembly of 1279 is only once termed "court" in several pertinent documents, and though there is no such reference for the meeting of 1286, both these assemblies resembled the general courts of 1249 and 1271; and the new uses and expanding composition might alone account for neglect of the older terminology.
A cort held at Monzon in 1222 is unrecorded save for a passing mention in the Libre delsfeyts, c. 20, ed. Soldevila, p. n. A General Court of Aragon (Daroca, 1228) 33 often enough in Aragon to acquire some semblance of institutional identity, and it had dealt not only with dynastic matters but also with security, custom, politics, taxation and coinage. 1 In short, the 'general court' had attained a recognized place in the Aragonese constitution by 1228, which is why it was thought necessary to identify the assembly as such in the first line of the charter which issued from it.