What was the most important document

#11
I keep coming up with all sorts of documents but I think they're all a little bit late for medieval Europe.
What cutoff do we have for Medieval - shall we go for 1550 as an arbitrary number?
Here's a contender tho' which had a strong influence upon Europe:
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salic_Law"]Salic Law[/ame]
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,688
IA
#12
You didn't say it had to be an authentic document.

The Donation of Constantine - despite being a forgery - probably had more political impact on history than any other single document produced during the medieval era. For some 600 years it was believed authentic, and cemented the legitimacy of the papacy in such a way that it could not even be shaken when the document itself was revealed to be a forgery.
The more and more that I thought about what you have said Edge, the more I like your response. I have to agree here...the document may have been fake, but it had ramifications that was felt throughout the medieval period. Other than that, I would have to say Magna Carta would be a close second.
 

Comet

Forum Staff
Aug 2006
8,688
IA
#13
I keep coming up with all sorts of documents but I think they're all a little bit late for medieval Europe.
What cutoff do we have for Medieval - shall we go for 1550 as an arbitrary number?
Here's a contender tho' which had a strong influence upon Europe:
Salic Law
This isn't a bad response either :).
 
Feb 2008
275
Cincinnati
#14
I like the Declaration of Arbroath and the Donation of Constantine, and to complete my top three I would add the Oxford Provisions (1258).

In my view the Provisions are more important than the Magna Carta, because they established (albeit briefly) Parliamentary rule in England and laid the foundations for the later British Parliamentary system of government. The Magna Carta took powers away from the king and gave them to the nobles; the Oxford Provisions took power away from the king and gave it to the people (in theory).
 
#15
While the Provisions of Oxford were remarkably progressive for the times and look very significant to us with the hindsight of our experience with a Parliamentary system, I think its influence was very much limited to the short time it was in force. The Magna Carta went through a vast number of revisions and just keeps popping up time after time in British history. It seems to have been considered significant by quite a large number of people over a long period of time.
So - significant - absolutely
but I don't think it plays in the premiere league along with the Magna Carta.
 
Feb 2008
275
Cincinnati
#16
While the Provisions of Oxford were remarkably progressive for the times and look very significant to us with the hindsight of our experience with a Parliamentary system, I think its influence was very much limited to the short time it was in force. The Magna Carta went through a vast number of revisions and just keeps popping up time after time in British history. It seems to have been considered significant by quite a large number of people over a long period of time.
So - significant - absolutely
but I don't think it plays in the premiere league along with the Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta may have had more of an immediate effect, but the Oxford Provisions were the first attempt to transfer royal power to parliamentary power. Things like the Magna Carta had been done before and were done afterwards, just not on the same scale. It might also be said that royal authority opposed both of these documents at times, although Edward I did allow some of the reforms contained in the Provisions even after he defeated Simon de Montfort and its other proponents.
 
Mar 2008
16
O'Tautahi ,Te VahiPounamu
#17
To be produced in Medieval Europe? I don't count the Magna Carta, as that was forced on John Lackland by the Barons of England and largely abrogated by Edward I.


I put forward the Declaration of Arbroath as the most important non-religious document in Medieval Europe.
Aye , I tautoko that .
The Arbroath Document is my choice also .

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] "" ‘Yet if he (Bruce) should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.’ ""[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
Extract from the Declaration of Arbroath

In essence ,

[/FONT] 'King first and foremost because the nation chose him, not God, and the nation would just as easily choose another if they were betrayed by the King. '

So much for the notion of the Divine Rights of Kings eh :D