This study focuses on the accounting and auditing system of the Kingdom of Sicily during the reign of Alfonso V of Aragon (1416–58), known as the Magnanimous. In particular, it discusses the operation of and the relationships between the two offices entrusted with the management of the kingdom’s accounts: the century-old magna curia rationum and the new office of the conservator maior regii patrimonii (established in 1414), modelled on the Castilian contaduría mayor de hacienda. This essay adopts the approach associated with the ‘archival turn’, to show that studying the accounting and bookkeeping practices, as well as their developments and innovations, is crucial to understand the operation of the Sicilian auditing system and its function in the broader political system of the Crown of Aragon. As a result of the perpetual state of conflict generated by the political agenda of Alfonso the Magnanimous in Italy and of his increasing war-funding demands, the Aragonese strategically exploited the new accounting and bookkeeping practice of the conservator to increase royal influence over the local financial apparatus. Relying on the exceptional amount of original accounting and financial records preserved at the State Archives of Palermo, this study is the first detailed examination of the auditing system and accounting practice of late-medieval Sicily. At the same time, the analysis shows that the operation and the transformations of the accounting system of a polity such as Sicily is fully intelligible only if examined in connection with the broader government of the political union of which that polity was a constituent member.

Too much to account for. The Crown of Aragon and the collapse of the auditing system in late-medieval Sicily

SILVESTRI A
2020-01-01

Abstract

This study focuses on the accounting and auditing system of the Kingdom of Sicily during the reign of Alfonso V of Aragon (1416–58), known as the Magnanimous. In particular, it discusses the operation of and the relationships between the two offices entrusted with the management of the kingdom’s accounts: the century-old magna curia rationum and the new office of the conservator maior regii patrimonii (established in 1414), modelled on the Castilian contaduría mayor de hacienda. This essay adopts the approach associated with the ‘archival turn’, to show that studying the accounting and bookkeeping practices, as well as their developments and innovations, is crucial to understand the operation of the Sicilian auditing system and its function in the broader political system of the Crown of Aragon. As a result of the perpetual state of conflict generated by the political agenda of Alfonso the Magnanimous in Italy and of his increasing war-funding demands, the Aragonese strategically exploited the new accounting and bookkeeping practice of the conservator to increase royal influence over the local financial apparatus. Relying on the exceptional amount of original accounting and financial records preserved at the State Archives of Palermo, this study is the first detailed examination of the auditing system and accounting practice of late-medieval Sicily. At the same time, the analysis shows that the operation and the transformations of the accounting system of a polity such as Sicily is fully intelligible only if examined in connection with the broader government of the political union of which that polity was a constituent member.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4813158
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