From The Conversation: A Brief History of the Mortgage @ConversationUS

From The Conversation: A brief history of the mortgage, from its roots in ancient Rome to the English ‘dead pledge’ and its rebirth in America. The article says in part:


The term dates back to medieval England. But the roots of these legal contracts, in which land is pledged for a debt and will become the property of the lender if the loan is not repaid, go back thousands of years.

Historians trace the origins of mortgage contracts to the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, who ruled modern-day Iran in the fifth century B.C. The Roman Empire formalized and documented the legal process of pledging collateral for a loan.

Emperor Claudius brought Roman law and customs to Britain in A.D. 43. Over the next four centuries of Roman rule and the subsequent 600 years known as the Dark Ages, the British adopted another Latin term for a pledge of security or collateral for loans: Vadium.

Following William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the English language was heavily influenced by Norman French – William’s language.

That is how the Latin term “Mortuum Vadium” morphed into “Mort Gage,” Norman French for “dead” and “pledge.” “Mortgage,” a mashup of the two words, then entered the English vocabulary.

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