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Friars on the Edge: Socio-Economic Networking and the Dominicans of Conquered Mallorca

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Abstract Though often disappointing as sources for religious history, urban convent archives have the potential to shed valuable light on otherwise invisible social networks of the medieval bourgeoisie. Analysis of merchant and other names appearing in a wide variety of mundane contracts reveals the realia of economic relationships that, in the frontier context of Mallorca, occasionally crossed confessional lines. The case studies included in this article hint at the diverse array of characters whose entrepreneurial careers led to associations with and around the thirteenth-century Dominican convent of Sant Domingo de Mallorca. From social-climbing archers and tailors to converso shipping magnates and landowners, speculators of all sorts crossed paths within the cloistered halls of a mendicant sanctuary whose function was never exclusively spiritual. Dominican archives appear primarily to have served as repositories for such clients’ transaction records, especially in unstable colonial situations—an aspect of the order’s pastoral mission which has hitherto received little attention.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, St. Thomas University 51 Dineen Drive, Fredericton, NB, Canada E3B 5G3


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