This article argues that the late-medieval Catalan-Aragonese kings and their viceroys relied on record-keeping as a practical means of government, in essence for controlling the Kingdom of Sicily from a distance. More broadly, books, registers, and rolls are to be considered as crucial instruments through which late-medieval governments exercised their rule over complex political and social systems and were kept informed about their dominions’ affairs. It is thus crucial to make those practical written tools into primary objects of research. By focusing on the “registers” of the royal chancery of the Kingdom of Sicily, this study examines the procedure for producing letters and privileges in connection to the establishment of a viceregal system; the strategies the Sicilian chancery staff adopted for recording documents, and the emergence of a method based on multiple registrations; the technical innovations they introduced for managing an increasing amount of information and facilitating its retrieval. Moreover, this study shows that the increasing attention of authorities towards record-keeping also generated a political conflict with Sicilian society, to the extent that the local parliament pursued the abolition of the registers of the royal chancery. Keywords: administration, archives, Chancery, Crown of

“That register is the most ancient and useful of the Kingdom”. Recording, Organizing, and Retrieving Information in the Fifteenth-Century Sicilian Chancery

SILVESTRI A
2019-01-01

Abstract

This article argues that the late-medieval Catalan-Aragonese kings and their viceroys relied on record-keeping as a practical means of government, in essence for controlling the Kingdom of Sicily from a distance. More broadly, books, registers, and rolls are to be considered as crucial instruments through which late-medieval governments exercised their rule over complex political and social systems and were kept informed about their dominions’ affairs. It is thus crucial to make those practical written tools into primary objects of research. By focusing on the “registers” of the royal chancery of the Kingdom of Sicily, this study examines the procedure for producing letters and privileges in connection to the establishment of a viceregal system; the strategies the Sicilian chancery staff adopted for recording documents, and the emergence of a method based on multiple registrations; the technical innovations they introduced for managing an increasing amount of information and facilitating its retrieval. Moreover, this study shows that the increasing attention of authorities towards record-keeping also generated a political conflict with Sicilian society, to the extent that the local parliament pursued the abolition of the registers of the royal chancery. Keywords: administration, archives, Chancery, Crown of
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4813165
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