Compulsory purchase in the earlier Middle Ages
in Frankland
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The procedure that the British call compulsory purchase, though it is really compulsory sale, and that Americans call 'eminent domain', also a slightly misleading name, is in the civil-law tradition simply 'expropriation', or an equivalent word (espropriazione, Enteignung, etc.). This chapter argues that an immanent sense of the common good may have allowed both rulers and local communities to take land from individuals for the sake of that common good even before the Carolingians and outside the kingdoms of the Franks and Anglo-Saxons. The most striking example in the early Middle Ages of what looks like a modified form of expropriation is what has traditionally been seen as the plundering, spoliation or secularization of Church land by Charles Martel and his descendants, the Carolingian kings and emperors.


The Franks and the world of the early middle ages

Editors: Paul Fouracre and David Ganz


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