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By J.Riley- Smith

This is a examine of the feudal nobles within the Latin state of Jerusalem; their prestige in Palestinian society, their lordships and their political principles; and the advance of those rules as expressed in constitutional conflicts with kings and regents from 1174 to 1277.

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18 A rural settlement was usually called a casal, although the word villa had also been used in the early days. 19 Each casal had an inhabited nucleus around which stretched its lands, the boundaries of which were carefully defined, being often marked with stones. 20 The houses of the villeins, sometimes built for them by their lords, 21 were low buildings, huddled together and probably dominated by one belonging to the headman, 22 and near them would be a cistern, 23 threshing floors and perhaps a mill and oven.

86 And while there could be no appeal to the High Court from a judgement of a seigneurial court, 8 7 the procedure for complaining before the king if there had been a failure on the part of a lord to accord a man a hearing in his own court was strengthened, although this was never explicitly stated by the jurists, for the voice of the lowliest knight could be raised in the highest court in the land. The law provided the machinery for bringing seigneurial injustices to the notice of the king and justification for royal intervention, because as liege-lord the king had the duty and right to see that their immediate lords did not oppress his liegemen either by arbitrary acts or by the failure to give them justice.

48 His lordship had suffered greatly from the Muslims, 49 but the final straw for him seems to have been a raid by the Mongols in which they penetrated his city and knocked down its walls: he simply could not afford to have them rebuilt. 51 It must be emphasised that the Lords of Sidon and Arsur were exceptions. What remained of Galilee was protected by the Templars at Saphet and the Hospitallers on Mt Thabor, but Caesarea and Jaffa were in lay hands when they fell to Baibars in IZ6S and IZ68 and so until the end in IZ9I remained Haifa, Scandelion, Tyre and Beirut, although a heavy ransom charged by his Muslim captors on John of Beirut in IZ6o forced him to alienate some of his lands to the Teutonic Knights.

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