Friday, September 13, 2013

From My Quotes Cupboard – the 14th Century and one noble

In this favored land of the Western world [France], the Coucy inheritance in 1335 was as rich as it was ancient ... Everything that had formed the fief ... was symbolized in the great lion platform in stone in front of the castle gate where vassals came to present rents and homage ...
Three times a year ... the Abbot of Nogen or his agent came to pay homage for the land originally granted to the monks by Aubry de Coucy ...
Mounted on a bay horse (or, according to some accounts, a palomino) with clipped tail and ears and plow-horse’s harness, the abbot’s representative carried a whip, a seed bag of wheat, and a basket filled wih 120 rissoles. These were crescent-shaped pastries made of rye flour, stuffed with minced veal cooked in oil. A dog followed, also with clipped ears and tail, and with a rissole tied around its neck.
The agent circled the stone cross at the entrance to the court three times, cracking his whip on each tour, dismounted and knelt at the lion platform, and, if each detail of equipment and performance was exactly right so far, was allowed to proceed. He then mounted the platform, kissed the lion, and deposited the rissoles plus twelve loaves of bread and three portions of wine as his homage.
The Sire de Coucy took a third of the offerings, distributed the rest among the assembled bailiffs and town magistrates, and stamped the document of homage with a seal representing a mitered abbot with the feet of a goat.

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1978



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