Manuscritos digitalizados

Catalonian Manuscripts (1031-1555) - University of California, Berkeley, USA

A collection of forty-seven original Catalonia records, containg some fifty-three documents dating from the eleventh to sixteenth centuries, has been purchased [26 February 1974 from the estate of Joseph Rubinstein, Antiquarian Bookseller, through Bernard M. Rosenthal, Inc.] with funds provided by The Friends of The Bancroft Library and the Chancellor's Opportunity Fund. In content the acquisition may be described as miscellany of legal instruments recording commissions, donations, sales, exchanges, payments, receipts and the like, which have evendetly survived in old private archives still numerous in Catolonia.

Most of the items are well preserved parchments; four of the later ones are of paper, including some fragments of registers, and only seven of the pieces are incomplete or seriously mutilated. Their language is chiefly Latin, although a Latin often lapsing into the vernacular, as is characteristic of rustin instruments from medieval Catalonia; only one piece, dated 1497, is altogether in Catalan. The carliest item of the set is a lease of lands in the Bergueda, within view of the high Pyrenees, inscribed in the year 1031. No less than nine parchments of the years 1303 to 1357 pertain directly to Ramon d'Holm de Puigcastellar and his relations, and it is lkeley that some of the other pieces from neighboring parishes of the Berqueda belonged to the same collection.

Several of the later documents concert Cades de Montbui, in the eastern Valles, one or two deal with the city of Vich. Apart from Pope Alexander III, whose well-known foudation privelege for the Order of Santiago (1170) is represented in a late copy, the only personage of note who figures actively in the documents is Guerau de Cabrera, son of Count Ponc I of Urgell, who acknowledged receipt of eifhty marcs of gold in the sale of his castle of Pinea on April 3d, 1270. But there is an arresting reference to one Arnau the minstrel (mensestal) in a piece of 1208 from the upper Emporda”-was paid sixty pounds in 1498 is well enough described to furnish useful details for the art historians.

The paucity of great figures is more that compensted by the wealth of information about ordinary people, whose names and transactions are precisely recorded, and whose properties and often identified and defined. The collection is perfectly representative of a great class of archival documentation that is fundamental to the study of social, economic, and instuctional purposes. Moreover, and unpublished collection of this size cannot be safely neglected by the specialist, and since the collection of cannon law being formed by the Law School's Robbins Fund has recently acquiries of Vich for the eleventh and twelfth centuries it can be said that medieval Catalonia is now unusully well documented at Berkeley.

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