City notaries and the administration of a territory: Lucca, 1430–1501
By M.E. Bratchel
Papers of the British School at Rome, Vol. 86 (2018)
Abstract: In Lucca in 1430 the republic was restored after 30 years of princely rule. The restored republic ruled over a territory that included much of the Versilia and parts of the Garfagnana. The important role played by notaries in the administration of the territories of both cities and princes has long been recognized. Moving rapidly from office to office, notaries were key figures in the courts, as administrators, and for the fisc.
The present article examines the functions, personnel, reputation and effectiveness of notaries in the service of fifteenth-century Lucca following the restoration of liberty. Much attention has been paid to state-formation and territorial administration in the recent literature; relatively little to the precise role played by notaries. This article aims to provide a case study against which experiences elsewhere can be measured.
Lucca was distinctive in the fifteenth-century context by virtue of its continued independence as a traditional city-state. Comparisons have been drawn between Lucca and its neighbouring states, but with due recognition of the obvious differences that divide Lucca both from the newer territorial conglomerations and from subjected cities that continued to enjoy extensive, supervised rights over their local administration.
Top Image: The city of Lucca in Giovanni Sercambi’s Cronica, Archivio di Stato, Lucca, Biblioteca Manoscritti, no. 107, f.69r