Monthly Archives: September 2016

What is an Illuminated Charter?

What is a charter? What is an illuminated charter? Each national tradition of scholarship has their own approaches. Thus, one possibility may be to include everything produced in the chancery into the category of charters. Another approach would be to limit the scope of inquiry based on formal features: a document on one page, with signatures or other subscriptions, sealed or having place for a seal. Yet a third possibility is to make the analysis functional: as advised by a certain lawyer, a legal document would be any document that would result in certain action, the imposition of legal obligation, etc. In particular, indulgencies, though envisaging a contract of non-material kind, fit the functional definition well. Continue reading

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Illuminated Charters and Digital Humanities – A Conference Report

What is an illuminated charter? This is the question me and Edgar unfailingly heard from friends and relatives when we told them we are going to Vienna to a conference on Illuminated Charters. I must confess that I was puzzled and mystified when I first read the call for papers ‘Illuminated Charters: From the Margins of two Disciplines to the Core of Digital Humanities’. This may have been the reason I enlisted my co-author’s and husband’s help and sent a proposal to the conference organisers, on ‘The Functions of Illuminated Charters from Latvian and Lithuanian Archives in European Context’. Continue reading

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Quality of Transactions and Quality Controls from the Middle Ages to Modernity

The third and final day of the history of economics summer school was concerned with the quality of market exchange and the mechanisms of regulating and controlling quality. We debated the sales of sick slaves in the medieval Mediterranean and crafty entrepreneurs in eighteenth-century England, female labour in late medieval Amiens, the tasting of wine on the Parisian market under the Ancient Regime, the supply of cotton and wool during the First World War, and many other exciting and curious issues. Continue reading

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Quality of Work and Products on the Historical Market

We heard of medieval coins and eighteenth-century art manufacturers, of bribes to Vietnamese officials and corals given to Gambian cheiftains, of fourteenth-century destriers and eighteenth-century winetasters. Continue reading

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Economics of Quality: People and Products on Medieval and Modern Markets

The first day of the 5th summer school on economic history opened with three papers by experts in the field, Christian Bessy, Laurent Feller and Bert de Munck, who introduced different theoretical issues in the economics of quality (économies de la qualité), followed by questions and discussion sections. Continue reading

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