CONTRACT FOR THE SALE OF A TARTAR SLAVE, aged about 30, named Magdalena, in Latin, manuscript on vellum, dated at Barcelona, 7 June 1401
A very rare witness to the medieval trade in domestic slaves.
Single leaf, c.310 x 430mm, written with 31 lines of text in gothic notarial script, endorsements of the 15th and 19th(?) centuries
(two vertical and three horizontal folds, with some minor losses along one vertical fold, minor stains, but overall easily legible and in good condition).
(1) Dolphin, Oxford, sold in 1960 to:
(2) Bernard Rosenthal, his ‘I/103’, sold in 1989 to:
(3) Bernard Quaritch.
(4) Schøyen Collection, MS 590/57.
By this document, Agnes, wife of Berenguer Luppetus [i.e. Berenguer Llobet, scriptor in the royal curia] of Barcelona, sells to Isabel, wife of Pietro de Campo, apothecary of Barcelona, ‘quandam servam sclavam et captivam meam, neophitam sive babtizatam, que fuit de gente Tartarorum, vocatam nomine Magdalenam, etatis triginta annorum vel circa’, for 46 Barcelona livres, dated 7 June 1401, signed by the said Agnes, and witnessed by Dominicus Mola, the notary Gabriel de Forest, and Bernardus Vendrelli, broker, written and sealed by Ramon de Forest (father of Gabriel), notary public, all citizens of Barcelona.
The present manuscript appears to be unpublished. W.D. Phillips, Slavery in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia, 2013, provides a recent introduction to the subject in English (citing extensive literature, much of it in Portuguese, Catalan, and Spanish). He writes, ‘Throughout Iberia, as elsewhere in the Mediterranean world, the sale of a slave was an intricate dance between the buyer and the seller, who had to pledge that the slave was a product “of good war, not of peace, and that he or she was not a fugitive, nor consumptive, not possessed by the devil, nor a drunk, not a thief, nor blind in one eye or both, nor a bed wetter, nor suffering from epilepsy or buboes, nor from any other infirmities with all his or her good or bad qualities, seen or unseen”’.
M. Bosch, '"Servam et captivam meam." Femmes esclaves aux Baléares, époque moderne,' in Captius i esclaus a l'antiguitat i al món modern, 1996.
Josep Hernando Delgado, Els esclaus islàmics a Barcelona: blancs, negres, llors i turcs. De l'esclavitud a la llibertat (s. XIV), 2003.
Vera-Cruz Miranda Menacho, ‘Algunos aspectos de la economía del monasterio de Pedralbes a través del manual (1414-1419) y del "capbreu" (1414-1418) de Gabriel de Forest’, Anuario de estudios medievales 33 (2003), pp.171-190.
William D. Phillips, Slavery in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia, 2013.