aids, in feudalism, type of feudal due paid by a vassal to his suzerain (overlord). Aids varied with time and place, although in English-speaking countries aids were traditionally due on the knighting of the lord's eldest son, on the marriage of the lord's eldest daughter, and for ransom of the lord from captivity. These are the three aids specified in the Magna Carta (1215), which forbade the king to levy aids from the barons on occasions other than these, except by the "common counsel" of the realm. It is difficult to distinguish aids from other feudal dues such as scutage and tallage. The term had a much wider scope than was indicated in the Magna Carta. In general, aids fell into disuse with the decline of feudalism, although they continued nominally in most places. On the Continent, the aids often became land or justice taxes due the local lords. In France, the aids were converted later into a royal tax that continued until the French Revolution.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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