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That all law relates either to persons, things or actions.

[003] 1We have spoken above of natural law, the jus gentium, and the civil law, but
[004] since the whole of the law with which we propose to deal relates either to persons
[005] or to things or to actions,2 according to English laws and customs, 3and since
[006] persons, because of whom all rights are established, are of the greater dignity,
[007] therefore let us first look to them and their conditions, which are various and
[008] diverse, and then to the law of persons which is directed to them.4

The first classification of persons.

[010] 5The first and shortest classification of persons is this, that all men are either free
[011] or bond, that is, every man is either free or bond, that the plural number may so
[012] be reduced to the singular. Against this can be cited the ascripticius, so it seems,
[013] for he is truly free though bound to a certain service.6 But to this a brief answer
[014] may be given, for from him who is free a villeinage or villein service detracts in
[015] no way,7 [this] distinction [only] being taken, whether such persons are villeins or8
[016] [free men who] hold in villein socage of the demesne of the lord king, of whom more
[017] will be said below.9 10Nor is what is said of statuliberi an objection,11 for though
[018] a bondsman is in possession of his freedom he is in truth bond, though against his
[019] lord claiming him as his villein he sometimes can defend himself and his goods by
[020] an exception based upon his privilege.12 Since, then, every man is either free or
[021] bond, 13we must see what freedom and bondage are, and how bondage comes
[022] about.14

What freedom is.

[024] 15‘Freedom is the natural power of every man to do what he pleases, unless
[025] forbidden by law or force.’ But if so, it then appears that bondsmen are free, for
[026] they have free power [to act] unless forbidden by force or law. But freedom is
[027] defined by that law by which it is created, by virtue of which they are called free.16
[028] For though bondsmen may be made free, since17 with respect to the jus gentium they
[029] are bond,


1. Br. and Azo, 42-3

1-2. Azo, Summa Inst. 1.3, pr.

3-4. Ibid.

5. Br. and Azo, 44-5, 49, 51

5-6. Azo, Summa Inst. 1.3, nos. 1-2

7. Infra 85, 89

8. ‘vel’

9. Infra 37

10-11. Azo, Summa Inst. 1.3, no. 2; infra iii, 102; Kantorowicz, 108-11

12. Infra 36-7

13-14. Azo, loc. cit.

15. Br. and Azo, 44-46, 49, 51

15-16. Azo, Summa Inst. 1.3, no. 3; Cortese, i, 74 ff.

17. ‘cum’ for ‘tamen’

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