Emperor Frederick II:
The Imperial Precaria, 1241
The Emperor Frederick II in the thirteenth century recognized that the demand of the
cities for constitutional freedom was to his own economic advantage. In exchange for the
grants of charters which Frederick made, the towns, both imperial and episcopal, rallied
to his financial and military support in his wars against his enemies. The precari which he asked from them varied with their size and economic condition, and took the place
of the revenue he should have enjoyed from the crown lands which had, however, already
Here begin the taxes of the cities and villas:
1. Frankfort: 250 marks.
2. Also from Gelnhausen: 200m.
3. Also from Wetzlar: 170m.
4. Also from Friedberg: 120m., of which half is given to the Lord Emperor and
half for their buildings.
5. Also from Wiesbaden: 60m.; they pay that for their buildings.
6. Also from Seligenstadt: 120m.; they pay that for their buildings.
7. Also the Jews of Weitterebia: 150m.
8. Also from Oppenheim: 120m. The Jews there 15m.
9. Also from Nierstein 10m.
10. Also from the two villas at Ingelheim: 70m. for which brother Sebastian
ought to do the work of the manor house.
11. Also Wesel: Free for four years, on account of the fact that it redeems its
advocacy for 300m. The Jews there 20m.
12. Also from Boppard: 80m. The Jews there 25m.
13. Also from Sinzig: 70m. The Jews there 25m., from which they pay 4m. for the
expenses of the lord of Smidevelt.
14. Also from Düren: 40m., of which one half goes to the Emperor and one-half
for their buildings. The Jews there 10m.
15. Also the Jews of Aix: 15m.
16. Also from Kaiserswert: 20m. The Jews there 20m.
17. Also from Duisburg: 50m. The Jews there 15m.
18. Also from Nimwegen: 40m.
19. Also from four manors near Dortmund: 15m. The Jews there 15m. Also the
citizens of Dortmund 100m. (Cologne currency.)
20. Also the Jews of Worms: 130m.
21. Also the Jews of Speyer: 80m.
Also the sum of the denarii (Cologne currency) is 1488m. The cupbearers are given
234l/2m. of this and the steward 150m. and William the notary 71/2m.
F. Keutgen, ed., Urkunden zur Städtischen Verfassungsgeschichte, (Berlin: Emil
Felber, 1901), p. 489; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book
for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint
ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 375-376.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998