On This Day
1120 – The Council of Nablus is held, establishing the earliest surviving written laws of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The Council of Nablus was a council of ecclesiastic and secular lords in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, held on January 16, 1120.
The council was convened at Nablus by Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. It established twenty-five canons dealing with both religious and secular affairs. It was not quite a church council, but not quite a meeting of the royal court; according to Hans Mayer, due to the religious nature of many of the canons, it can be considered both a parlement and an ecclesiastical synod. The resulting agreement between the patriarch and the king was a concordat, similar to the Concordat of Worms two years later.
The council established the first written laws for the kingdom. It was probably also where Hugues de Payens obtained permission from King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem to found the Knights Templar. 
The council was not mentioned in the chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres, who served in the retinue of Baldwin II and must have been present. This is probably because the nature of the canons, dealing as they do with the crimes and sins of the Latin population, contradicted Fulcher’s portrayal of the Kingdom as a Christian utopia. William of Tyre, writing about sixty years later, included a detailed account of the proceedings, but neglected to record any of the canons themselves, which he felt were well-known and could be found in any local church; however, he also probably wanted to avoid the implication that the early Kingdom was not as heroic as his generation remembered it.
Although the canons may have been well known in William’s time, only one copy, located in a church in Sidon, seemed to survive the Muslim reconquest of the Kingdom. This copy made its way to Europe where it was in the papal library at Avignon by 1330. It is now located in the Vatican Library, MS Vat. Lat. 1345.
A copy was edited in the Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio of Giovanni Domenico Mansi in the 18th century, and more recently a new edition has been published by Benjamin Z. Kedar in Speculum (Vol. 74, 1999). Kedar argues that the canons are largely derived from the Byzantine Ecloga, promulgated by Leo III and Constantine V in 741. Kedar believes that the canons were put into practise in the 12th century, although Marwan Nader disagrees, since they were not included in the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois and other Assizes of Jerusalem, which were written in the 13th century.
Born On This Day
1634 – Dorothe Engelbretsdatter, Norwegian author and poet (d. 1716)
Dorothe Engelbretsdatter (16 January 1634 – 19 February 1716) was a Norwegian author. She principally wrote hymns and poems which were strongly religious. She has been characterized as Norway’s first recognized female author as well as Norway’s first feminist before feminism became a recognized concept.
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