This chapter studies the early history of an entirely new form of hostageship in which the human pledge is not handed over immediately but simply promised. The chapter argues that what has been interpreted as a tangential development in the history of law is very much a part of the story of hostageship in the Middle Ages. Most of the earliest evidence comes from Southern Francia and Catalonia, in texts associated with the Peace of God and convenientiae concerning the control of castles. Conditional hostages play important roles in the spread of hostageship to financial transactions, with crucial implications for our interpretation of the relationship between the worlds of lordship and commerce, and they are a key to understanding the earliest written political treaties.
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