The Legal Codes of the Salian Franks, the Alamanni, and the Ripuarian Franks


The tenth-century manuscript on parchment presented here, Latin 4787 in the collections of the National Library of France, contains the texts of three important early medieval bodies of law: the Lex Salica, the Lex Alamannorum, and the Lex Ribuariorum. The Lex Salica, or Salic Law, is the legal code of the Salian Franks, written around the time of Clovis (ruled 481‒511), the Merovingian king who united all of the Franks under his rule. The code deals mainly with monetary compensation for injuries and contains provisions relating to the inheritance of land and succession to the throne. The Lex Alamannorum is the body of laws of the Alamanni that was partially incorporated into the Salic Law after the Alamanni became subject to the Franks. The Lex Ribuariorum is the legal code adopted from the Ripuarian Franks after they too came under the authority of the Franks during the time of Clovis. The Franks were a Germanic people who invaded the western Roman Empire in the fifth century. They adopted Christianity and established the most important Christian kingdom of early medieval western Europe, comprising present-day France, Belgium, and the western part of Germany.

Last updated: December 20, 2017