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

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[15] If any of our burghers wants to renounce his citizenship, he shall appear before the sitting stettmeister and the council, announce his intention to them, and renounce his citizenship orally, as is the ancient custom, and not in writing. And the stettmeister and the council shall then release him from his civic rights and obligations. If, however, the one who wishes to renounce his citizenship has committed a felony or is charged therewith or has "grasped the staff," he must stand trial before the sitting stettmeister and the council. And no one shall renounce his citizenship except as prescribed and on his oath.

[16] The stettmeister and the council, the Schöffen and the ammeister, and everyone else at Strasbourg are to obey and uphold loyally [getruwelich] the aforementioned Council of XV, to whom the laws and affairs of the city of Strasbourg are entrusted, in all things commanded or to be in the future commanded, and shall aid and support them against all foes, as best they can and on their oaths.

[17] If anyone acts against this charter and against this judgment or any article written in this charter, and if this becomes known to the incumbent stettmeister and the council, such a person shall be declared perjured and stripped of his citizenship, and he shall never again come within the jurisdiction, nor become a burgher. His life and goods shall be forfeited to the stettmeister and the councilors, who shall confiscate all of his property and holdings, in the city or in the countryside, as much as they can, on their oaths and without fail. And if a stettmeister and the council fail to order this against the criminal, they shall be declared perjured und dishonored and shall never again be stettmeister or councilors of the city of Strasbourg.

[18] To confirm all these above written stipulations, we append the great seal of the city of Strasbourg, together with the seals of the [twenty] knights, squires, burghers, and [fifty-two] guildsmen whose names are recorded as follows: Sir Hans Böckel, Sir Hans Rudolff von Endingen, Sir Hans von Kageneck, Sir Friderich Bock, Sir Ludwig von Kageneck, Sir Hans Wilhelm zum Riet, Sir Hans Spender, Sir Claus Wormsser, Sir Hans von Seckingen, Sir Caspar Buman, Sir Caspar von Vrendorff, Hans Hüffel, Hans Sturm, Peter Rebestock, Steffan Sturm, Hans Erlin, Hans Voltsch, Jorge Berer, Caspar Klobeloch and Paulus Hüffel, who seal this letter on behalf of the knights and the burghers.* And we, Peter Schott, the ammeister; Jacob Amlung, Claus Bomgarter, Conrat Riffe, Marx Kerling, the old ammeisters; and Hans Berlin, Gotze von Hohemburg, Hans Jörger, Hans Erhart von Rotwil, Behtolt Offemburg, Adam Mesener, Conrat von Duntzenheim, Walther von Rore, Conrat Armbroster, Claus Renner, Matern Trachenfeile, Andres Hapmacher, Claus Brune, Syfrit Bietenheim, Hans Vendenheim, Lìenhart Ammeìster, Claus Weidelich, Diebolt Otteman, Heinrich Schott, Andres Selig, Claus Duntzenheim, Hans von Odratzheim, Behtolt Vogelsberg, Rülin von Druhtersheim, Hans Flösze, Wyrich Burggrafe, Marx Rebestock, Andres Trense, Hans Leytgast, Jacob Muge, Heinrich Henicken, Heinrich Gerung, Peter Renner, Peter Vendenheim, Adam Hapmacher, Ulrich Sebott, Hans Waltener, Peter von Erffort, Claus Vetter, Oberlin von Büre, Heinrich Egel, Heinrich Muller, Claus Knyebusz, Erhart Gisebreht, Martin Leheman, Hans Duheler and Claus Wirich, who are to sign and approve on behalf of the guilds. And each of us allows his seal to be affixed to this letter, which is proclaimed on Christmas Eve, 1482.

* Here “burgher” is used in its restricted sense. The title “sir” here represents the term “knight” [Ritter] – trans.

Source of original German text: Jean Lebeau and Jean-Marie Valentin, eds., L'Alsace au siècle de la Réforme 1482-1621. Nancy, 1985, pp. 18-21.

Translation: Thomas A. Brady Jr.

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