Land peace of Mainz

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The Mainzer Reichslandfrieden of 1235 was enacted on the occasion of the Reichstag in Mainz on August 15, 1235 by Emperor Friedrich II and was counted among its basic laws with constitutional status until the end of the Holy Roman Empire . It was the first imperial charter that was not only formulated in Latin , but also in Middle High German .


Heinrich IV. Proclaims the peace in Mainz. Mural of the Kaisersaal in Goslar (1880)

Since the 11th century, the peace movement strived for the continuation of the peace of God . The first Reichslandfriede was created by Heinrich IV. As the so-called First Mainz Reichslandfriede in 1103 for four years after he had already proclaimed the Mainz Peace of God to the church in 1085. All land peace was limited to a certain number of years. In 1152, Frederick I Barbarossa proclaimed the Great Land Peace, which was extended to the whole of the empire. As early as 1186 it was stipulated that a feud was to be formally declared by a feud letter and that it could only begin three days after the declaration. Under Barbarossa, Roman law began to play a greater role as "imperial law" in imperial politics. Under Frederick II, there was then intensive use of codified law. So u. a. 1231 only for the Kingdom of Sicily valid Constitutions of Melfi passed that a inquisitorial law enforcement enabled. At the same time, the German-language Sachsenspiegel was created as a private collection during this period .


As it now is in Mainz peace to give unlimited Constitutional Act, this is the coronation of the imperial peace policy in the Middle Ages is the same time reached the Mainz peace but also the. Regalia policy of Frederick II. Its peak, since in principle all princely rights as only the Emperor issued regalia were depicted.

The Mainzer Landfrieden comprises 29 articles and contains - in addition to criminal law provisions - regulations on judicial, coin, customs and transport, on the right of escort and fortification, the church bailiwick and the court judge's office. Above all, however, the right to feud was severely restricted, which was completely abolished 260 years later in the Eternal Peace of 1495. To feud as a knight, prince or even as a city , if one saw oneself injured in one's rights, was until now still considered legitimate.

The Landfriede of Mainz did not abolish this right either, but rather subjected the right to feud to prescribed procedural rules. He again protected people who were not “capable of carrying arms” at that time, such as women, farmers, Jews, clergymen, merchants etc. as well as churches and cemeteries. Violations of these protected areas should lead to sanctions.

In addition, before a feud began, a court had to be taken and a final judgment reached. Only if this did not lead to success could a feud be entered into. A regulated judicial process thus took the place of the law of the thumb, at least initially .

The basic idea is fixed in Art. 5 Clause 1 of the Peaceful Peace: “Law and judgment are created so that nobody can avenge his own injustice; for where the authority of the law is lacking, arbitrariness and cruelty prevail. "

With the Peace of Mainz, a judiciary was also institutionalized. The office of permanent court judge at the Royal Court Court was established, which later functioned as the Royal Chamber Court and was finally replaced by the Reich Chamber Court in 1495 .

The protection of the peace - that is, the maintenance of internal security and the outlawing of organized non-state violence to enforce supposed rights - is still a great asset of the legal system today. Violation of the peace in Germany is punished according to Section 125 of the Criminal Code (StGB).


  • Arno Buschmann : The Mainz Reichslandfriede of 1235. Beginnings of a written constitution in the Holy Roman Empire. In: Juristische Schulung , vol. 1991, pp. 453-460.
  • Hagen Keller : Between regional boundaries and a universal horizon. Germany in the empire of the Salier and Staufers 1024 to 1250. Berlin 1986, pp. 492–494.
  • Lexicon of the Middle Ages , Volume 6, Col. 144.

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