Le Serment de Strasbourg (842)

The so called Serment de Strasbourg is an oath sworn by Charles the Bald (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles II) and Louis the German in solemnizing their alliance against their brother, Emperor Lothair I. The chief political result of this alliance was the Treaty of Verdun (843). Each brother made his oath in the language of the otherís followers, so that it might be understood. The version used by Louis is often considered the oldest known specimen of French.

The text was preserved in the manuscript of the Frankish historian Nithard (fl. 9th century).

Louis the German (in Old French):

Pro Deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro comun salvament, d'ist di in avant, in quant Deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo, et in adjudha et in cadhuna cosa si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dift, in o quid il mi altresi fazet; et ab Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai qui meon vol cist meon fradre Karlo in damno sit.

Late Latin translation:

Pro Dei amore et pro Christiano poplo et nostro communi salvamento, de ista die in abante, in quantum Deus sapere et potire mî donat, sic salvaro ego eccistum meum fratrem Karlum, et in adjutum ero in quâque una cosa sic quomodo homo per derectum suum fratrem salvare debet, in hoc quid ille mî alterumsic faceret; et ab Lothario nullum placitum numquam prendero quod meo volle eccisti meo fratri Karlo in damno sit.

Charles the Bald (in Old German):

In Godes minna ind in thes Christianes folches ind unser bedhero gealtnissi, fon thesemo dago frammordes, so fram so mir Got gewizci indi madh furgibit, so hald ih tesan minan bruodher, soso man mit rehtu sinan bruodher scal, in thiu thaz er mig so sama duo, indi mit Lutheren in noheiniu thing ne gegango, zhe mioan willan imo ve scadhen werhen.

Modern French translation:

Pour l'amour de Dieu et pour le chrétien peuple et notre commun salut, de ce jour en avant, en tant que Dieu savoir et pouvoir me donne, ainsi secourrai-je ce mien frère Charles, et en aide en chacune chose si comme homme par droit son frère sauver doit, en ce (à condition) qu'il me fasse autant; et de Lothair nul accord jamais ne prendrai, qui par ma volonté, à ce mien frère Charles à dam soit.

English translation:

For the love of God and Christendom, and for our common safety, from this day forth, as much as God shall give me knowledge and power, I will protect my brother Charles, here present, and will aid him in everything, as a man in justice has to protect his brother, in which he would do the same for me; and I will make with Lothaire no compact, which of my own free will can injure my brother Charles, here present.

The soldiers of Charles the Bald answered (in Old French):

Si Lodhuwigs sagrament que son fradre Karlo jurat, conservat, et Karlus meos sendra, de sua part, non lostanit, si io returnar non l'int pois, ne io, ne seuls cui eo returnar int pois, in nulla adjudha contra Lodhuvvigs nun li iv er.

Modern French translation:

Si Louis garde le serment que à son frère Charles il a juré, et Charles, mon seigneur, de sa part, ne le tient, si je ne l'en puis détourner, ni moi, ni nul que j'en puis détourner, en nulle aide contre Louis ne lui en cela serai.

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