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Langland And The Franciscans On Dominium

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to describe Robert Langland's position on dominium, one that, the author argues, supports the claim that, in imitation of Christ and his disciples, the Franciscans had no dominium either personally or in common. Most medieval commentators seem to have agreed, no matter how they phrased it, that one could renounce dominium, possession or usufruct, yet in times of necessity, one still retained the right to those things essential to the preservation of life - food, drink, clothing, and shelter. Although there is a lot of Latin in Piers Plowman, Langland did not use the Latin terms for property rights. His English terms for dominium are "possessioun" and "lordschipe," the latter of which he frequently uses in alliteration with "lande".

Keywords: dominium; Franciscans; property rights; Robert Langland



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