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M. Goina
The Use of Pragmatic Documents in Medieval Wallachia and Moldavia (Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries)

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XVII+329 p., 26 b/w ill., 2 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58797-4
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 90,00 excl. tax
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The first monograph on pragmatic literacy in medieval Moldavia and Wallachia.

In the region that was to become Moldavia and Wallachia, there are almost no traces of the use of writing for the millennium after the Roman Empire withdrew from Dacia. Written culture surfaces only by the second half of the fourteenth century, after the foundation of state institutions. This book surveys the earliest extant documents, their issuers, and the motives that triggered the development of documentary culture in Moldavia and Wallachia. By the fifteenth century, Moldavians were already accustomed to the use of charters. In Wallachia, noblemen also appealed to written records, but at that stage mainly in extraordinary circumstances. Women could not inherit land, and noblemen requested princely charters confirming a legal fiction that turned their daughters into sons. After the mid-sixteenth century, Wallachia experiences a steep growth in the number of charters issued. In this period of economic and social upheaval, charters proved an extraordinary means for the protection of landed property. Yet neither principality held secular archives — the storage of documents for later use in private hands suggests an early stage in the development of documentary culture.

By covering the ‘birth’ and spread of pragmatic literacy in medieval Moldavia and Wallachia, this book thus fills an important lacuna in what is known about the development of literacy in the later Middle Ages.

Mariana Goina earned her PhD in Medieval History at the Central European University. She is an independent scholar whose work addresses social history, medieval literature and pragmatic literacy in the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia.

Table of Contents

Preface, List of Illustrations, Abbreviations, Abbreviations, Map


1. Historical Background


2. The Evidence: Archives and (Indirect) Sources

3. Documents Issued by the Office of the Prince

4. Diversification of Document Producers

5. Moldavian and Wallachian Chancery Scribes


6. Records and their Uses

7. Falsification of Charters

8. The Use of Written Evidence in Wallachian and Moldavian Dispute Settlements

9. The Use and Function of Land Charters beyond the Courts

10. The Perception of Land Charters

11. Uses and Functions of Letters and the Status of their Users

12. Uses of Written Documents in the Process of Government

13. The Documentary Culture of the Merchant Milieu


Appendix: Reigns of the Wallachian and Moldavian Princes (Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries)



Interest Classification:
Book History, Manuscript Studies & Palaeography
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Comparative & cultural studies through literature
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
East-Central & Eastern Europe
Medieval History (400-1500) : subperiods
Late Middle Ages (c.1300-1500)

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