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(kəpĭch`o͝olĕr'ēz), decrees and written commands of the Carolingian kings of the Franks, so called because they were divided into capitula, or chapters. Both legislative and administrative, they were the chief written instrument of royal authority. The ordinances were issued either by the king alone or by the king and his counselors. They also served to amend or extend the Germanic lawsGermanic laws,
customary law codes of the Germans before their contact with the Romans. They are unknown to us except through casual references of ancient authors and inferences from the codes compiled after the tribes had invaded the Roman Empire.
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 as they applied to the entire Carolingian empire. Several capitularies—such as the exemplary De villis—dealt with the administration of the royal domains; others dealt with the church. Most important were the king's instructions sent to the missi dominici, his emissaries in the provinces. These contained instructions for the administration of the empire and instituted far-reaching reforms. Capitularies issued in the late Carolingian period are collected in the Monumenta Germaniae historicaMonumenta Germaniae historica
, comprehensive critical editions of the sources of medieval German history. The first society created to publish them was founded by Karl vom und zum Stein in 1819, and the first volume appeared in 1826. G. H.
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. The term capitularies is applied also to similar documents in other fields.



laws and directives of the Frankish kings in the Carolingian dynasty; the texts were divided into short articles (in Latin, capitula).

The only extant capitularies are in collections of copies; these date from as early as 827. Capitularies regulated many matters, such as military duty, the administration of conquered lands, coinage, and tariffs. Directives legalizing the feudal dependence of peasants were among the most significant capitularies. One important historical source is the capitulary De villis, which was Charlemagne’s instructions concerning the economic organization of royal domains issued circa 800.


Danilov, A.I. “Kapituliarii o pomest’iakh ….” Trudy Tomskogo gos. unta, 1953, vol. 121, issue 2.
Gansh of, F.L. Was waren die Kapitularien? Weimar, 1961.
References in periodicals archive ?
clvi);(19) yet AElfric does not appear to have known Ansegisus' compendium as a whole, nor does a similar prescription occur in his chief canonical sources, the Capitula a sacerdotibus proposita (= the first Capitulary of Gharbald of Liege) or the so-called Excerptiones [pseudo-] Egberti.
Fehr correctly identified the base text of AElfric's instruction as the twelfth canon of Gharbald's first Capitulary (which is not, as Fehr thought, part of the Excerptiones [pseudo-] Egberti).
Chief among them are these: (i) that the reign of Charles the Bald saw the transition to a 'feudal' regime, in particular because the capitulary of Quierzy allegedly guaranteed hereditary succession to courtships and benefices; (ii) that the politics of the period can be explained in terms of the concerted action of large family groups; (iii) that the foundations of the territorial principalities of France were laid under Charles.