Fulbert on Fealty

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Fulbert of Chartres, Bishop, to Duke William of Aquitaine:

On Fealty

He who swears fealty to his lord should always keep these six terms in mind: safe and sound, secure, honest, useful, easy, possible. Safe and sound, that is, not to cause his lord and harm to his body. Secure, that is, not to endanger him by betraying his secrets or the fortresses which make it possible for him to be secure. Honest, that is, not to do anything that would detract from his lord's rights of justice or the other prerogatives which have to do with his honour. Useful, not to cause him any loss as regards his possessions. easy and possible, not to make it difficult for his lord to do something that would be of value to him and that he could otherwise do with ease, or to render it impossible for him to do what was otherwise possible. That the vassal should avoid injuring his lord in any of these ways is only right, but this does not entitle him to a fief, for it is not enough for him to abstain from evil, it is also necessary to do good. So it remains for him to give his lord faithful counsel and aid as regards these six points if he wishes to be considered worthy of his benefice and secure as to the fidelity he has sworn. The lord, in his turn, should be faithful to his vassal in these matters.