Mensuration in Early Medieval Barcelona

Mensuration in Early Medieval Barcelona

By Philip J. Banks

Medievalia, Volume 7, 1987

Petrejus, Johann (Drucker), c. 1547. Image from Deutsche Fotothek.

Introduction: In a study of two documents from the convent of Sant Pere de les Puelles published in 1947 together with J. M. Millas Vallicrosa, Dr. Udina made an examination of the value of the dexter in eleventh century Barcelona.

Although brief, this is one of the few modern contributions to the study of linear measurement in early medieval Catalonia, for, in spite of a recent resurgence of interest in the style and production of the documents which make up the bulk of our source material for this period, there has been no detailed consideration of the subject in the last few decades.

The present contribution aims to pay homage to Dr. Udina both by reconsidering the range and value of the linear measuretnents used in early medieval Barcelona, particularly in the city and its suburbs, and to a lesser extent its territonum, and by broadening the scope of his note so as to examine the reasons for the appearance or non-appearance of measurements in the sources, the size of the house-plot and other properties to be found in the early medieval city, and finally the possible origins and development of these units.

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