DefinitionsDominum directum (Feudal): the right of the lord (i.e., the right to direct) in the disposition of an asset (typically land).
Dominum utile (Feudal): the right of use and utility of an asset, and to keep the benefits (such as the right to live on the land, and to keep the profits from agriculture).
The terms derive from Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
dominum (domain, dominion), directum (direction, in the sense of leadership), and utile (use, utility).
An asset is defined to mean itself and those things that naturally go with it. For land, that would include buildings, trees, underground resources, etc. It would not include "movable" property, such as wagons or livestock.
- The holder of the dominum directum is considered the superior (i.e., the lord); the holder of the dominum utile is considered the inferior (i.e., the vassalVassalA vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...
- Dominum utile includes the right of the holder to keep any income or profit derived from the asset.
- The transfer of the dominum directum does not affect the rights of any holders of dominum utile. The holder of a dominum utile has no right of transfer (however, there were usually conditions allowed for, such as transfer to a son in the event of death).
The definition was constructed from the sources.
Additional explanationsThe "lord" holding dominum directum may be anyone with sovereign power over the asset, such as a monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...
or other nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...
, or an established Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...