Alfonso, Andrade & Marques, Recording judicial information

Recording judicial information: a comparative approach

Isabel Alfonso (CSIC), José Miguel Andrade (U. Santiago), André Evangelista Marques (IEM-NOVA University of Lisbon)

One of the most innovative and fruitful outcomes of collaborative work between diplomatists and historians is the awareness of how limited traditional documentary classifications may be. This is especially true if one bears in mind the wide range of records through which judicial information was conveyed in the early Middle Ages. The absence of official court records and archives, as we see them today, prompts us to rethink both the modes and forms of recording and/or transmitting such information, as much as the function assigned to the extant records, on the grounds that the ‘content of form’ sheds some light over dispute settlement practices.

This approach has already been tested in the documentary collection of a major Leonese monastery: Sahagún (ALFONSO, 2013). The aim of the present paper is to extend such an analysis of the format of judicial writing, and of the several variables at play here, to other monastic collections mirroring different regional contexts in northern Iberia. Sahagún’s material will thus be collated with the collection of another Leonese monastery: Otero de las Dueñas (Isabel Alfonso); as will the collections of two important Galician monasteries: Samos and Celanova (José Miguel Andrade); and those of two Portuguese ones: Guimarães and Lorvão (André Evangelista Marques). Our main goal is to design, and discuss the potential of, an overarching comparative questionnaire.