On legal pluralism and ghosts in the Sachsenspiegel and in Gaya

  • This paper reflects on legal pluralism. How did medieval societies incorporate both unwritten customs and written law at the same time? How did they constitute the process of finding justice? What is the essense of legal pluralism, and will it help us understand the situation of Taiwan’s indigenous population? We aim to solve these problems by taking a closer look at medieval Saxony: for around 400 years, both laws given by the authorities and traditional customs in Saxony worked fine in parallel. The latter were put into writing by the legal practitioner Eike von Repgow around 1230 for reasons unknown. We refer to his collection of laws and customs of the Saxons as the Sachsenspiegel ("Mirror of Saxons"). While Saxons certainly differed from Taiwan’s indigenous population for many reasons, such as the supposedly weaker egalitarianism among the Saxons than among at least some indigenous groups, the two show some remarkable similarities nonetheless. Just like the Taiwanese Gaya, the Sachsenspiegel’s spiritual origin raises the claim to validity. Furthermore, comparing the handling of a person’s sale of inherited property, the legal situations in the Sachsenspiegel and Taiwan’s unwritten customs resemble each other. The heir can transfer only property he acquired personally. Furthermore, the author discusses the different character of courts and procedure under oral law in contrast to written modern law. Finally, the paper concludes with some remarks about a learned commentary on the Sachsenspiegel written around 1325, combined with an outlook on the possible future of Taiwanese customs.

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Author:Bernd Kannowski
Parent Title (Multiple languages):Rechtsgeschichte = Legal history
Publisher:Max-Planck-Inst. für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte
Place of publication:Frankfurt, M.
Contributor(s):Thomas Duve, Stefan Vogenauer
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2016
Year of first Publication:2016
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/12/11
Page Number:8
First Page:251
Last Page:256
Dieser Beitrag steht unter einer Creative Commons cc-by-nc-nd 3.0
Institutes:Rechtswissenschaft / Rechtswissenschaft
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 34 Recht / 340 Recht
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0