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Title: The notary in Maltese late medieval society
Authors: Fiorini, Stanley
Keywords: Normans -- Malta -- History
Malta -- History -- Normans, Angevins, & Swabians, 1090-1283
Notaries -- Malta -- History
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: University of Malta. Department of Maltese
Citation: Fiorini, S. (2014). The notary in Maltese late medieval society. Journal of Maltese Studies. Essays on the Cantilena. 29-74.
Series/Report no.: Essays on the Cantilena;
Abstract: Already in Norman times, the notary occupied a highly privileged position in Sicilian society, as can be deduced from the fact that King Roger’s Assizes of Ariano (1140) treat the notary as a person pertaining to the class of knights and of judges, a norm that was retained in force in Emperor Frederick II’s Constitutiones of Melfi (1231). Thus, from its origins, the class of notaries is seen located within the lower echelons of Sicilian nobility, as opined by Bresc, both in view of their standard of living and consequent to the exclusivity afforded them by their level of literacy in a society which was generally illiterate. In the Maltese Islands, which were an integral part of the Sicilian Kingdom and subject to the kingdom’s legislation, this norm appears to have been still valid in the XIVth century, judging by the case of Not. Lanceas Gatt whose father, Chicco, was a knight and Castellan of the Castrum Maris, and whose son Francesco was a knight. The esteem with which the notary was held in later medieval times is encapsulated in the honorific title of Egregius accorded him, even if, by the XVth century, a differentiation between the class of notaries and that of knights (milites), becomes discernible in the fact that the latter bear the title of Magnificus, which they share with the nobility and with higher officials, such as captains, jurats and ambassadors, but not with notaries.
ISBN: 9789993275176
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - InsMS

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