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    Archives of the Mediterranean: governance and record-keeping in the Crown of Aragon in the Long Fifteenth Century

    Silvestri, Alessandro (2016) Archives of the Mediterranean: governance and record-keeping in the Crown of Aragon in the Long Fifteenth Century. European History Quarterly 46 (3), pp. 435-457. ISSN 0265-6914.

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    From the late medieval period the Crown of Aragon was at the forefront of archival innovation. Culminating in the establishment of the Royal Archive of Barcelona in 1318, this development was not, as is traditionally stated, a mere imitation of external models but the result of an innovative historical process that had its roots in local history and reflected the structure of the Aragonese monarchy. As a result of the later enlargement and decentralization of the Crown, and especially after the advent of the House of Trastámara in 1414, the Aragonese developed an extensive system for record-keeping across the Mediterranean. By focusing on what I describe as a complex archival network, this article analyses a series of administrative developments, which are generally studied in isolation, as interrelated responses to similar needs across disparate and far-flung territories. The results differed within the Iberian dominions (Aragon, Majorca and Valencia) and in the Italian kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, with Sardinia somewhere in between. For all these differences, however, the establishment of a number of financial archives shows that this network had an especially crucial role in defending the royal patrimony in all the territories under the rule of the Crown of Aragon. The authorities also tried to use archives as tools for exercising pressure upon local political elites, as demonstrated, for instance, by the systematic inquiry into feudal possessions and pecuniary rights instigated by King Ferdinand II in early sixteenth-century Sicily. The outcome, however, was totally unexpected.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Archives, Crown of Aragon, information management, Mediterranean history, record-keeping, uses of knowledge
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 10:40
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:24


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