Book Series Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy , vol. 47

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

Mariana Goina

  • Pages: xvii + 329 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:26 b/w, 2 tables b/w., 1 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58797-4
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The first monograph on pragmatic literacy in medieval Moldavia and Wallachia.

BIO

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.

Review(s)

« Entstanden ist so ein Buch, das viele neue Einsichten bietet und die europäischen Urkundenlandschaften näher zusammenrücken lässt. » (Thomas Wünsch, in Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, 129/2, 2021, p. 535)

“Mariana Goina’s scholarly courage and determination to embark on such an ambitious research project should be praised.” (Marian Coman, in The Medieval Review, 24/06/2022)

“The book is addressed to a wide scholarly audience interested in the proliferation of literacy in medieval Europe, and especially in the eastern periphery of Latinitas (…) provides great materials for a broader reflection on the general and local chronologies of the cultural development of premodern Europe.” (Agnieszka Bartoszewicz, in Speculum, 97/2, 2022, p. 498)

 

 

Summary

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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface, List of Illustrations, Abbreviations, Abbreviations, Map

Introduction

1. Historical Background

PART 1. A SURVEY OF THE SOURCES

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

PART II. USE AND DISSEMINATION OF PRAGMATIC DOCUMENTS

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

Conclusions

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

Bibliography

Index