- Lit. 'living gage or pledge'. A form of loan which was repaid by e.g. handing over the proceeds of the crop from an estate. It differed from a mortgage, where both interest and principal must be repaid, because the vivum gagum required only the principal to be paid - interest being illegal -while property was held as surety only until the debt was repaid. This ensured that the land pledged would eventually be returned. The vivum could also discreetly conceal interest payments. A mortgage is a dead (Fr. mort = dead) pledge. [< Lat. vivum = living + gagum = gage i.e. pledge] -
Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. Christopher Coredon with Ann Williams.