Medieval legal process : Physical, spoken and written performance in the Middle Ages.

by Mostert, Marco
Additional authors: Barnwell, P.S.
Published by : Brepols, 2011 (Turnhout) Physical details: viii, 299 p. ill. ill ISBN:9782503541747.
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Includes bibliographical references.

In Medieval legal transactions the use of the written word was only one of many ways of conducting business. Important roles were played by the spoken word and by the 'action' of ritual. The relationship between 'rituals' and literacy has been the focus of much recent research. Medieval societies which made extensive use of written instruments in legal transactions have been shown to employ rituals as well. This has led to investigation of the respective functions of written instruments and legal rituals. What is the nature of legal rituals? If they included oral verbalization, how did the spoken words relate to those of the written instruments that played a role in the same legal transactions? Usually, we only have the written documents to answer these questions, and they are often silent about the rituals and oral elements of the transactions they document.

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