Spoliation, Right of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Spoliation, Right of

 

in the Middle Ages, in France, Germany, England, and other European countries, a sovereign’s right to inherit the personal property of a deceased prominent ecclesiastic, such as a bishop or abbot. In the eighth and ninth centuries, such property could be only movable property; in later periods, it could also be lands owned by the deceased. Emperors and kings employed the right of spoliation to seize church lands, a practice that provoked many conflicts, especially in the period from the 11th to 14th centuries. The church sought to redeem the right of spoliation. The popes, citing their secular authority, appropriated the right of spoliation for themselves. During the Late Middle Ages, the right of spoliation fell into disuse.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.