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The Notarial Evidence: Testaments In The Libri Memoriali, Demaniale, And The Provvisori

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the medieval will as historical source by explicating testators and testamentary practices in mid fourteenth-century Bologna. With the focus on gender, social status, and identity, it demonstrates the breadth of the will-making public. A central aspect of notarial culture was the complicated bureaucracy of notaries, and no study is complete without an explanation of this amazing medieval invention. Therefore, this chapter outlines how the office of the Memoriali and its two dozen notaries carried out the task of registering and recording the contractual obligations of the townspeople. The aim of this chapter is to bring to light the efforts of medieval notaries, men of fides publica, during the worst catastrophe in medieval history. The intent of this book is to provide the fullest description of the experience of the Black Death, any conclusions based on testaments should be understood as representative of a large part of society.

Keywords: Black Death; fourteenth-century Bologna; Memoriali; men of fides publica; notaries; will-making



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