Brokers of Public Trust: Notaries in Early Modern Rome by Laurie Nussdorfer

By Laurie Nussdorfer

A fast-growing criminal approach and economic system in medieval and early sleek Rome observed a fast bring up within the want for written records. agents of Public belief examines the emergence of the trendy notarial career -- unfastened industry scribes liable for generating unique felony files and their copies.Notarial acts frequently pass disregarded, yet they're necessary to realizing the heritage of writing practices and attitudes towards legitimate documentation. in line with new archival study, agents of Public belief makes a speciality of the govt officers, notaries, and shoppers who regulated, wrote, and acquired notarial records in Rome among the 14th and 18th centuries. Historian Laurie Nussdorfer chronicles the learning notaries and the development of public data, explaining why notarial records exist, who made them, and the way they got here to be considered as authoritative facts. In doing so, Nussdorfer describes a career of an important value to the folk and executive of the time, in addition to to students who flip to notarial records as precious and irreplaceable historic assets. This magisterial new paintings brings clean perception into the basic capabilities of early sleek Roman society and the advance of the trendy kingdom.

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At that point legal thinkers had to confront the question of the notary’s culpability, not mere liability for damages but dolus or criminal intent. ’’∞≠≥ Law professors in the Middle Ages had inherited from the Romans the crime of falsum, a category of misdeed applicable to a rich range of deceptive practices. ∞∞∞ A crime of this The Jurists: Writing Public Words 25 sort threw a society that entrusted the safekeeping of its contracts and wills to notaries into disarray, but the discussion allows us to see at a deeper level the distinction drawn between the man and the o≈ce.

When our sources begin in the 1360s, the municipality, if such a formal designation can be given that protean entity, was the de facto ruler of Rome, though the pope in Avignon maintained a presence through a deputy. The kaleidoscopic fourteenth-century civic regimes bequeathed to the city’s future government the tribunal of the senator, a foreign judge who dispensed justice from a court on the The Profession: Defining Urban Identities 35 ancient Capitoline Hill, and three conservators who were elected local o≈cials also based on the Capitol.

Venal notarial o≈ces were a form of property, bona stabilia, just like any other o≈ce put up for sale by an early modern state. ∞∂∏ The concept of public writing owed much to the accumulation of definitions and debates by generations of legal scholars between the twelfth and the seventeenth The Jurists: Writing Public Words 29 centuries, but quite clearly could not be left in their hands alone. They had fashioned an influential theory of evidence and a powerful new writer, the notary, from their reading of the Corpus iuris civilis and the needs of the medieval Italian cities.

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