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

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[4] Such elections shall be conducted according to the laws previously approved by the Schöffen and the ammeister, and which are recorded in the civic register and the register of the XV.* These ordinances shall be read annually to the same twenty councilors, who shall swear to uphold them.

[5] The aforementioned patricians, namely, the remaining ones from the old council plus those who are elected on the aforementioned Thursday, making together ten patricians, and then the aforementioned twenty men from the guilds, namely, ten from the old council and ten elected that morning, shall comprise the council for the coming year, and they and the ammeister shall proceed in the customary way. They shall swear in person to God and the Saints to uphold all the measures, points, and articles that are written down, and to accept no gift or donation while they hold office. And whoever accepts a gift or allows one of his dependents to do so, shall be regarded as having perjured himself.** And if the stettmeister and the council shall ever learn that this has happened, they shall judge the matter, according to their oaths, as is prescribed in the register of the XV.

[6] And the ammeister, who is now elected as an ammeister, shall also swear in person to God and the Saints that he will accept no present, gift, or donation, whether few or many, small or large, nor allow any of his dependents to do the same, but he shall always conduct himself in an honest and upright fashion, upholding all the measures, points, and articles recorded in the civic register and in the register of the XV. These are read to the ammeister each year on the day of his election. And if an ammeister shall violate this rule and not conduct himself in this manner, in any way whatsoever, his life and property shall be forfeited to the city of Strasbourg. And the stettmeister and the council shall swear not to let him get away. If the stettmeister and the council do not do this, the said ammeister who has broken the laws will be a traitor and be an outlaw in the eyes of all burghers.*** Every councilor shall, on his oath, censure a crime as though it were a blood crime.

[7] From now on, too, no ammeister shall be allowed to have building done on or in his house or elsewhere, whether small or large, at civic expense. He shall do such things at his own cost and not by means of city workmen or city equipment. Further, from now on an ammeister shall not be paid more than sixteen shillings per week for the drinks for the watch [scharwachter trunck], which he shall on his oath give to the watch as is customary.

[8] If an ammeister shall die in office, the aforementioned twenty councilors from the guilds shall elect a fellow guildsman as ammeister, just as before, and the one elected shall be ammeister for the rest of the year. Similarly, if an ammeister falls ill, the same twenty shall elect another in his stead in the prescribed manner. And such an ammeister shall receive while in office the ammeister's ounce [the 16 shillings]. And when an ammeister is chosen to replace one who has died or fallen ill, the oath to him shall be sworn just as it was to the old ammeister at the beginning of the year in front of the cathedral, and the new ammeister shall be bound and must swear to uphold everything that the councilors and the old ammeister who has died or fallen ill had sworn on their oath to uphold during this year in front of the cathedral, all without any reservations.

* The XV were one of two privy councils whose members, all of them former councilors, were co-opted for life. The XV handled domestic affairs, the other, the XIII, foreign affairs. Together, they sat with the council as the supreme deliberative body, called "the Council & XXI" – trans.
** The modern English "perjured" does not begin to convey the solemnity and terribleness of meinedig, which was originally used in a religious context. It means "oath-breaker" – trans.
*** This is the other, more general meaning of "burgher" – trans.

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