GHDI logo

Constitution [Schwörbrief] of the Imperial City of Strasbourg (1482)

page 3 of 4    print version    return to list previous document      next document

[9] The ammeister, four stettmeisters, councilors, knights, burghers, guildsmen, and commune, both rich and poor, at Strasbourg shall swear to be loyal and obedient, to promote and increase the city's honor, welfare, and moral character, to warn it of dangers and ward them off, to the best of their abilities, all without any reservations. Everyone shall swear to the aforementioned ammeister, the four stettmeisters, the council, and their guild courts to obey loyally their commands and prohibitions against all who oppose them or their judgments.

[10] Yet, it shall be understood about the oath to the ammeister that no ammeister shall have authority or power to dispense anyone from or to cancel or change any part of anything established by the stettmeister and the council or the assembly of the Schöffen without their knowledge and consent. The aforesaid ammeister, the four stettmeisters, and the councilors shall also swear loyally to protect and guard [getrüwelich zu behüten und zu bewaren] the knights, burghers, guilds, and commune, rich and poor, of Strasbourg, as best they can with life and limb, and to judge poor and rich alike, without any difference.

[11] We, the knights and burghers declared that we renounce our right to elect to the council, which we formerly possessed, and that we shall never again demand or claim this right in any form whatsoever.*

[12] When a lad turns eighteen, whether he is a knight, squire, burgher, or guildsman, he shall swear to uphold this charter. And if anyone learns of someone who has not sworn, he shall on his oath report [rügen] this to the ammeister and the council, and if it is found that such a person has not sworn, the ammeister and the council shall determine what he shall do to make up for it.

[13] Each year, after the old council is dissolved and the new council is sworn in at city hall, everyone shall swear in front of the cathedral to uphold this charter. If, God forbid, the bells have to be rung, no one shall take up arms except if the murder bell is rung, and no one except the ruling ammeister shall have the authority to have this bell rung. Otherwise, when the bells are heard, everyone shall come into the square before the cathedral on foot, gather before the ammeister and other masters, and obey them. And when the ammeister and the other masters dismiss them, they shall on their oaths go quietly to their homes. When, however, there is a fire, the guildsmen shall arm themselves and gather in front of the cathedral and then move wherever they are sent and obey the ammeister and the other masters. The patricians, however, shall not take up arms unless the ammeister and the other masters tell them on their oaths to arm themselves and to assemble, and then they shall immediately do whatever they are commanded to do. If a nobleman rides to the square before the cathedral, he shall send his horse back home immediately.

[14] If anyone shall have bound himself to another with oaths, declarations of loyalty [truwe], or letters, they shall on their oaths release one another from such engagements, and no one, high or low, poor or rich, shall make any alliance. Whoever violates this in any wall shall be considered perjured and outlawed. He shall be banished for twenty years, day and night, from this city, and after the twenty years he shall not be readmitted without the consent of the sitting stettmeister and the council. And whoever knows of such an agreement, shall on his oath report it immediately to the stettmeister and the council.

* Note above that the patrician councilors were elected not by the patrician societies but by the patrician and guild councilors – trans.

first page < previous   |   next > last page