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Notarial Archives in the Papal States. Central control and local histories of record-keeping in Early Modern Italy

Les archives notariales des Etats du Pape : contrôle centrale et évolutions locales de l’enregistrement en italie au début du l’époque moderne
Markus Friedrich
p. 443-464

Résumés

Cette article est une contribution à l’histoire des archives notariales des débuts de l’époque Moderne en Europe par un examen de l’enregistrement notarial dans les États du Pape, en dehors de Rome et Bologna. En 1588, le Pape Sixtus V créa un système administratif spécial pour contrôler et organiser les archives notoriales. Un nouveau bureau, la Prefettura degli Archivi fut créé dans ce but. L’étude ici publiée présente d’abord un tableau d’ensemble de l’histoire, du développement et du fonctionnement interne de cette administration largement méconnue. Elle interprète aussi la politique notariale de la papauté comme une partie d’un plus large processus, celui de la construction d’un État au début de la modernité. Le fin de l’article utilise les documents produits par ce bureau pour illustrer une approche alternative et moins «institutionnelle» de l’histoire des archives. Les abondants documents émis par la Prefettura autorise l’écriture d’une histoire factuelle or praxéologique qui met en lumière par de nouveau éclairages la place et le rôle des archives dans la vie quotidiennes des individus et les petites communautés.

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Notes de l’auteur

Note portant sur l’auteur1

Texte intégral

  • 1 ASR PdA 9, no pagination : «Dalla S. Memoria di Sisto V. ebbero origine i Pubblici Archivj, vale a (...)
  • 2 On Rome see : L. Nussdorfer, Brokers of public trust. Notaries in early modern Rome, Baltimore, 200 (...)
  • 3 J. Grisar, Notare und Notariatsarchive im Kirchenstaat des 16. Jahrhunderts, in Mélanges Eugène Tis (...)

1«Our public archives for notarial records came into being under Pope Sixtus V and not in the 14th century as Your Honor thought in your kind letter of December 30. We can be sure about the later date, since only then did the Popes issue laws concerning the deposition of legal acts in the said archives. Before Sixtus V, the archives were either private or only local. I cannot tell you anything else about this matter because I do not know more about how these archives first emerged.» These words were written by Rainerio Finocchietti to Giuseppe Antonio Fioravante, of the Oratory in S. Essidio, on January 8, 1780.1 That Finocchietti was not aware of how the archives in the Papal States emerged is somewhat surprising, given the fact that he was Prefect of the Archives and thus headed the Prefettura degli Archivi. In this capacity, Finocchietti was in charge of all notarial archives in the Papal States, except for Rome and Bologna.2 By 1780, there existed around 500 of these archives in tiny villages, small towns, and well known cities. As Finocchietti correctly observed, many of these archives stemmed from the time of Pope Sixtus V, who, with the constitution Sollicitudo pastoralis officii of 1588, had ordered the founding of notarial archives in all cities under his authority (except for Rome and Bologna). While the reform of 1588 itself is well known to historians3, there is a paucity of information pertaining to how the Sixtinian system of notarial record-keeping evolved after this time. This is especially true for the largely unstudied Prefettura degli Archivi. In what follows, I will provide a detailed reconstruction of how the Prefettura was involved in archival politics between its foundation in 1588 and the substantial reforms under Napoleon after 1806.

2The first three sections of this paper will use the Prefettura as a case study to investigate the possibilities and limits, both practical and theoretical, of centralized control over recordkeeping in early modern Europe. Archives, it will be argued, increasingly became a major concern for early modern politics – indeed, at least some tentative steps towards conceptualizing a distinctive area of ‘archival politics’ were made by politicians and administrators. The Prefettura provides a unparallel opportunity to analyse the possibilities and challenges of this new area of policy-making. First, a brief sketch of the early modern history of the Prefettura will be given. Section 2 will introduce one of the most creative personalities ever to hold the office, Camillo Cybo (1681-1743). He deserves particular attention because he wrote extensively about archives and initiated a series of well-documented and spectacular projects aiming to improve central archival control. The third part of this paper will discuss the means and techniques used by the Roman authorities to police and control the local notarial archives.

  • 4 On ‘praxeological’ historiography see the convenient recent summary by S. Reichardt, Praxeologische (...)

3The final two sections of this paper will shift the focus of analysis from the institutions of archival politics to the local perspective on archives. The records produced by the Prefettura’s bureaucratic apparatus allow detailed insight into the daily life of early modern archives. To an unusual degree, they allow us to situate archives and archival practices in the local social, political, and intellectual contexts. Studying the Prefettura from this point of view contributes to a ‘pragmatic’ or praxeological history of early modern archives (section 4). Such an approach focuses especially on the many ways in which archives influenced the daily lives and shaped the activities of people. A praxeological perspective studies archives as objects of and arenas for «socially and culturally embedded behavior.»4 In applying such a perspective, however, we must investigate all forms of archive-related behavior, including those forms that are traditionally considered to be improper, abusive, and deplorable. Unintentional and intentional or even criminal malpractice must be studied because they reveal in great clarity how early modern Italians appropriated archives into their daily lives. The records of the Prefettura provide ample opportunity to do so.

4While individuals and communities were utterly creative in crafting ways to incorporate archives into their lives and exploit them to their advantages, they nevertheless had to contend with the rules and agendas set by the Papacy’s centralized archival politics. The central government’s claims to archival control allowed for considerable local variation, but could not be entirely disregarded. This interplay between larger political and institutional structures and the local appropriations of notarial archives will be studied in the last section. We will turn our attention in particular to questions of communal identity-building via organized record-keeping and investigate how villages and towns appropriated the increasingly visible archives as a means to reposition themselves in relation to the central authorities.

Papal control of notarial records after 1588 : the prefettura degli archivi

  • 5 EAE, p. 19-25.
  • 6 The literature on notaries is vast, the following works all include further references : U. Bruschi (...)
  • 7 The different types of notarial documents and their histories are treated by all authors quoted in (...)
  • 8 For this concept see A. Esch, Überlieferungs-Chance und Überlieferungs-Zufall als methodisches Prob (...)
  • 9 See Tamba, Corporazione, p. 190 (on Triest), 199-257 (on Bologna).
  • 10 G. Costamagna, La conservazione della documentazione notarile nella Repubblica di Genova, in Archiv (...)
  • 11 A. Meyer, Hereditary laws and city topography : on the development of the Italian notarial archives (...)
  • 12 G. Biscione, Il Publico generale archivio di Firenze. Istituzione e organizzazione, in C. Lamioni ( (...)
  • 13 See for a example, a complex proposal for a unified and centralized notarial archive in Spain by Xa (...)
  • 14 A few remarks on notarial record-keeping in the papal territories before 1588 can be found in Grisa (...)

5In 1588, Pope Sixtus V reorganized notarial record-keeping in the Papal States. His constitution Sollicitudo pastoralis officii became the founding charter for this aspect of papal politics for the next several centuries.5 Notaries were a long-standing element of Italy’s legal culture by the time of Sixtus’ reform.6 They played a key role as legal transactions in Italy frequently depended on their contributions. What is crucially important for this paper is the fact that notaries became involved with not only producing, but also preserving legal writings. Since the middle ages, notaries retained copies (copiae) and abridged versions (imbreviaturae) of the documents (instrumenta) they issued.7 There was an economic reason behind this : if originals were lost, notaries could still reissue the document from their own records. As this service was only provided upon payment of a fee, the notarial records were a valuable possession worthy of protection. In addition, maintaining duplicates (or triplicates) of legal documents would provide a means for detecting forgeries and other types of fraud. Since the different types of notarial papers held both a legal and an economic value, public authorities, too, became concerned about the fate of these papers. In the high middle ages city magistrates tentatively began initiatives to control and secure notarial record-keeping. These authorities devised several options to improve the «survival chances»8 of these papers. They could, for instance, mandate public registration of all notarial acts as was the case in Bologna after 1265 or in Triest after 13229; authorities could also charge the notaries as a collective body with overseeing record-keeping as was the case in Genoa from 130410; or authorities could themselves provide for and organize archives for notarial documents. It is the last option, the creation of public notarial archives, that will be the focus of this paper. Unlike the other two options, which were in use from the twelfth century, the creation of public notorial archives only became popular in the 16th century.11 In 1569, the Medici of Florence created one central notarial archive for their domain.12 Central notarial achives became also popular in other states, for instance in Spain.13 Sixtus V knew of these developments when he refashioned notarial record-keeping in 1588.14

  • 15 On the two dimensions of papal governance see P. Prodi, The papal prince. One body and two souls : (...)
  • 16 Justice was the key theme of propaganda under Sixtus V, see I. Fosi, Justice and its image : politi (...)
  • 17 This concern is expressed forcefully in a document made in preparation of Sollicitudo, see BAV Vat. (...)
  • 18 BAV Vat. Lat. 7023, fol. 306v, 307rv.

6For Sixtus V, however, archival politics was part of an even broader agenda. During his short, yet profoundly influential reign (15851590), this Pope was particularly concerned with increasing the effectiveness of papal government over the universal church as well as over his Italian possessions.15 Archival politics was understood as a key contribution to this larger project : good and effective governance required well-ordered archives. The ability to guarantee justice and to protect contracts was, according to early modern political thought, a key marker of a good ruler – and Sixtus V, like no other Pope before, identified his pontificate’s main goal as the promotion of good and just governance.16 Establishing and monitoring institutions for proper record-keeping was thought to be a powerful means to achieve this goal.17 Archives hindered fraud and protected «commerce» among the people. Notarial archives were considered as particularly effective instruments to protect the weak, especially «orphans,» «widows,» and the Church.18 This language of paternalistic protectionism and social responsibility was highly topical, yet it also placed the archival reorganization of 1588 in an honorable tradition of political discourse. The curation and regulation of archives became both means and obligation of good governance. Papal legislation on the notarial archives throughout the period under consideration in this paper continued to express similar ideas.

  • 19 Two of the very few local studies of papal notarial archives come from Giorgio Tamba, see his : Un (...)
  • 20 The Prefect is mentioned in Sollicitudo, EAE, p. 22f. The office of Regent was created with Sollici (...)
  • 21 «supremus iudex» (1591) : ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 126r.
  • 22 Orsini was in fact a Referendar of the Signatura, see ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, passim.
  • 23 There were other ‘Prefects’ in the Camera Apostolica, including those dell’annona, della grascia, d (...)
  • 24 Sollicitudo ministerii, see EAE, p. 28f.

7In practical terms, Sollicitudo called for the founding of notarial archives in those cities in the Papal States where they did not yet exist. Many local archives were indeed founded after 1588, although often with significant difficulties and delay.19 In contrast to the Florentine example, Sixtus V intentionally created a decentralized network of very many local storage facilities. Yet, the decentralization of record-keeping did not mean that the Pope abandoned a unified concept of archival politics. Quite the contrary, archival surveillance under Sixtus V became actually more centralized than ever before. To achieve this, the pope created two specialized offices within the Roman Curia : a Prefect of the Archives and a Regent of the Archives.20 Administrative and legal competence was roughly divided between the two. The Praefectus could found and abrogate archives, while the Regens seems to have held the position more of a mediator and «supreme judge» in all pertinent issues.21 This arrangement, however, proved contentious. The Apostolic Chamber (Camera Apostolica), one of the most powerful papal institutions traditionally in charge of the Papal States, felt marginalized.22 The Camera protested forcefully, and in 1591, the new pope, Gregory XIV, abrogated the office of Regens and remodeled the entire system. Archival supervision, from now on, was to be executed by one cleric from the Camera Apostolica. This person came to be known as Prefetto degl’Archivi and was to be selected annually by lot.23 He combined administrative and juridical functions and henceforth controlled the notaries and their archvies in the Papal States with the very important exceptions of Bologna and Rome which never fell under his authority. On a practical level, the central archival government was to exercise control over the many local archives by regularly sending out specialized archival visitors who would travel from archive to archive, reporting back to Rome on the status quo and implementing improvements locally.24

  • 25 Bandi were promulgated in 1588, 1589, 1628, 1630, 1639, 1668, 1701, 1721, and 1748, see ASR Cameral (...)
  • 26 The bandi were of course concerned not only with notarial record-keeping, but legislated on many ot (...)

8These initial arrangements were specified and implemented after 1588 by a number of laws (bandi).25 The bandi repeatedly commented on two major aspects of the notarial archives.26 First, the laws were concerned with institutional and material aspects of record-keeping. The communities were mandated to provide proper storage facilities and the bandi described, albeit only in the most general terms, how these should look. Up-to-date and complete inventories had to be available in the archives and the latest bando should be on display. The bandi also detailed the duties of the archivist who was responsible for the maintenance of the archive and who had an important role in accumulating relevant papers. Specific provisions were, therefore, made for the selection of archivists. The office was venal. Local communities were responsible for selecting the archivist, but each archivist had to be approved by the Prefetto before starting work. The income from selling the office of archivist should contribute towards each community’s annual tribute to the papal treasury.

  • 27 See for example, the letter by Giovanni Passati, Forlì, to the Pope, April 14, 1761, ASR PdA 12, no (...)
  • 28 On this particular aspect, which caused great resentment among notaries, see: Tamba, Castel del Rio(...)
  • 29 «e durante l’anno non possano ritenerli in cartuccie, o fogli spezzati, o conservare semplici note, (...)
  • 30 Upon further petitioning, the Prefetto could (and did) reduce or wave these fines and fees.

9Secondly, the bandi described in great detail the notaries’ obligations in relation to the archives. Following a practice generally accepted in early modern Italy, the papal notaries were obliged to turn over their writings to the archives on a regular basis. In fact, only if they agreed to deposit their records would their writings be legally valid. In order to improve the preservation of notarial records, the Papacy made their validity dependent on a process called ‘archivization’ (archivatione).27 This process, according to papal legislation, had several phases and included all the different types of legal documents that an early modern notary would typically produce while stipulating a contract. When issuing a legal act, notaries were forced to produce two copies (copiae) of the instrumentum, one for them to retain in their office, the other to be officially deposited in the archive within a period of two to four weeks. ‘Archivization’ implied the ‘showing’ (exhibitio) of the instrument to the archivist who would then note, in a special book (liber exihibitionum), that this particular document had been ‘shown.’ Only then could it be stored.28 Once a year, notaries also had to bring their imbreviature to the archive. These had to be written and organized in very specific ways : they had, in a formalized way, to be copied into ledgers (protocolli) that had to be provided with a cover and had to be bound (stendere, legare).29 All of these steps had to be performed according to an inflexible procedure which tolerated almost no variation. Although the practical reasons for each of these steps are obvious – fixed dates were expected to prevent procrastination and delay; cross-referencing created a barrier against fraud – the act of ‘archivization’ also had a symbolic dimension, bestowing legal validity on documents through elaborate and formalized rituals. If anything deviated from the procedure, the documents could not be archived and were thus in danger of nullity. In this case, negligent notaries were required to buy a «letter of sanation» (sanatoria) from the Prefetto degl’Archivi which would revalidate the problematic piece and finally allow its entry into the archive.30 Paradoxically, the threat of short-time refusal to archive acts of negligent notaries was seen as an efficient tactic to improve record-keeping in the long term.

  • 31 ASR CPD 6, fol. 705r-710v. The text can be dated since 1. the author says (710r) that almost 10 yea (...)
  • 32 ASV Misc. Arm. XI 92, fol. 29v f. On Bonini see F. Marré Brunenghi, Un autore dimenticato : Filippo (...)
  • 33 For example, he was quoted in ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr 2, fol. 8r-9r. In 1681, he commented (...)
  • 34 Giambattista de Luca: Theatrum veritatis, et iustitiae sive decisivi discursus ad veritatem editi i (...)

10In the late 17th century, the papal system of archival control came increasingly under critical scrutiny. The visitations in particular proved to be not only ineffective, but even detrimental to notarial record-keeping. The visitors rarely complied with the Prefettura’s intentions and even used their powers to extort money from the notaries. An anonymous Discorso from around 1681, for instance, elaborated on the many problems.31 This was not an isolated criticism, other people were arguing along the same lines, yet placed the specific problems of the archival visitations in an even broader framework. For example, Filippo Maria Bonini, who produced a reform treatise around the same time, mentioned the archivial visitations of the Prefettura as the most obvious indicator for the generally miserable state of Church government.32 By far the most prominent critic of papal visitations as a technique for central control over peripheral agents was the eminent canonist Giambattista de Luca (16141683).33 De Luca mentioned several categories of papal visitors all of whom had created «abuse and scandal» and «inconveniences.» He called on their superiors to be more «vigilant».34 These and other similar statements are scattered fragments of a rather technical debate over the limits and difficulties implied in centralized control over local affairs. That archival visitations were among the examples most frequently discussed clearly demonstrates that record-keeping had become thoroughly integrated into the general discourse on efficient governance. The task of imposing state-control over (notarial) archives had become a natural part of and example for governmental activities. It was talked about in the same vein as other fields of politics were.

  • 35 ASR CPD 6, fol. 706r. The visitations in Frascati during the 1690s, for instance, were indeed under (...)
  • 36 ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr 2, fol. 8r. ASR CPD 6, fol. 706vf.
  • 37 See Prefetto to the visitor of Sabina, then in Calvi, July 1, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagination: «irre (...)

11The Prefettura responded to the crisis by modifying the institutional parameters. Probably from 1672 onwards, the local governors were charged with controlling the archives.35 There was still a claim to central archival control, yet this was now to be executed by local agents. But this was even less effective. The Governatori were either too busy, did not know exactly what to look for, or they were too closely involved with the local notaries on a daily basis to be effective agents of centralized control.36 Local supervision of local agents was even more problematic than the central nomination of visitors. The old system was ultimately reinstalled and the Prefettura once again relied on specially selected travelling deputies. Although explicit criticism abated, abuse and «irregularities» continued to plague archival visitations.37

  • 38 There was at least one more comprehensive visitation of Rome’s notarial archives. It occurred in 17 (...)
  • 39 On this visitation see: Nussdorfer, Brokers, p. 203-225, mostly on the basis of ASR Camerale II Not (...)
  • 40 «senza la debita custodia,» January, 23, 1704, in ASR CPD 38, nr. 9, no pagination.
  • 41 See ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 230r-232v.

12It took only a few years for the next crisis to arrive. This time, notarial record-keeping in the City of Rome itself came under scrutiny. In 1702, Clement XI launched the first of at least two official investigations of all Roman notaries and their archives.38 The project was headed by Cardinal Galeazzo Marescotti, who worked on it at east until 1706.39 His survey revealed a devastating situation. Records were carelessly kept. Hundreds of documents were housed in the Capitoline Archive, for instance, «without appropriate custody.»40 To remedy the situation, a wide-ranging set of new orders was issued in 1704. Although Marescotti did not legislate on the notaries outside of Rome, the project clearly reverberated beyond Rome. A climate of archival reform existed under Clement XI. For the Papal States, this had already translated into issuing a new bando in 1701, which was reinforced by a powerful decree in February 1704 under the influence of Marescotti’s recent Roman findings.41

  • 42 I used the manuscript in ASR Bandi 60. Another copy is in ASR PdA 1, fascicle «1723».
  • 43 This move had been prepared by earlier decrees, see ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 1, fol. 231r- (...)
  • 44 The Pope also decreed harsh penalties for fraud and similar offenses in a Bando Generale on Februar (...)
  • 45 This material forms the special fondo ASR PdA CC. There is only one trial from before 1717 (busta 1 (...)

13Yet, insiders were still unsatisfied with the efficiency of notarial record-keeping in the Papal States. By far the most outspoken critic was Camillo Cybo, who headed the office for several years around 1710 and whose ideas will be discussed more fully in the following section. Under Cybo, the debate about optimizing central archival control changed direction somewhat. According to him, it was the lack of bureaucratic and institutional support that diminished the Prefettura’s efficiency. During Cybo’s tenure, however, the call for reform went largely unheeded. It took until 1723 for a reorganization to occur.42 From then on, the Prefect was not chosen annually by lot, but was to be nominated by the Pope for a discretionary period of time. This created much needed institutional stability. Furthermore, the Prefetto’s jurisdiction was extended to include criminal cases.43 Fraud, falsifications, and other crimes related to notarial archives and documents were now his responsibility. The Prefettura thus held a significant role in the ongoing papal campaign against the criminal abuse of legal documents.44 The Prefettura was on its way to becoming a «tribunal,» as it was indeed soon called.45 While it had always been more than an administrative body, the jurisdictional character of the office became much more pronounced after 1723.

  • 46 Bando generale e nuovi ordini sopra gl’Archivj dello Stato Ecclesiastico, Rome, 1748, p. 1f. I used (...)
  • 47 BNR Mss Ges 171. A copy is in ASR Congregazione economica 66, fol. 264r-280r. The text is almost un (...)
  • 48 This is particularly true for the semiannual reports to be written by the archivists, which Canale (...)
  • 49 See ASR Congregazione economica 66, fol. 256r-262r a brief list of 16 «abusi» and «provedimenti» by (...)
  • 50 See the Cardinals’ votes in ASR Congregazione economica 66, fol. 263r. The Cardinals for instance d (...)

14A final overhaul of the Prefettura’s framework occurred in 1748. Benedict XIV asked Saverio Canale, then Prefetto degli Archivi, to advise him on the current situation. Canale produced a special report that the Pope forwarded to a congregation of Cardinals, which discussed it in May 1748.46 Recent improvements notwithstanding, Canale painted a dark picture.47 Abuses were endemic and the archives still failed to provide legal stability. Canale, however, was far from suggesting sweeping alterations. He did have a few innovative ideas, such as proposing that henceforth university training should be required for aspiring notaries. He also suggested making Italian the standard language for legal acts. For some problems he devised new bureaucratic routines of control.48 Yet, his overall approach was rather conservative.49 The Cardinals further attenuated the pace of reform.50 On December 14, 1748, a new Bando generale sopra gl’Archivi was issued that followed the outline of the previous documents. It was the last one to be produced in the 18th century and guided papal archival politics for the coming generations until 1806 when Napoleon abandoned the traditional system of notarial record-keeping by dismantling the network of decentralized archives.

Camillo Cybo and his ideas for a reform of the prefettura degli archivi (1710)

  • 51 See the list of Prefetti compiled by E. Lodolini, Gli archive notarili delle Marche, Rome, 1969 (Fo (...)

15The difficulties of the Prefettura degli Archivi in exercising effective control over the notaries and their archives was related to its insufficient degree of institutionalization. In fact, it is unclear whether the Prefettura was, at least well into the 18th century, anything other than the Prefetto and perhaps a few aidees. In order to be more efficient, the office needed a more solid bureaucratic structure and a larger apparatus. It was Camillo Cybo, Prefetto degli Archivi in 1708, 1709, 1713, 1714, and 1716, who argued strongest for such an institutional upgrading. Cybo’s involvement with the papal notaries and their archives was forceful, with only a few Prefetti before 1723 serving longer than he did.51 His interest in the Prefettura degli Archivi was extraordinary and produced remarkable sources that are worth a closer look.

  • 52 See the biographical sketch by L. Sandri, Il cardinale Camillo Cybo e il suo Archivio (1681-1743), (...)
  • 53 See BNR Mss Ges 93.
  • 54 See the collection of laudatory documents compiled by Cybo himself in ASR Famiglia Cybo 61, nr. 1. (...)
  • 55 This is the correct date (not 1705, as Sandri suggested), see BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 65rv.
  • 56 See his work on this office in ASV Misc. Arm. XI 211.
  • 57 This office is described by Cybo in a brief treatise, see BAV Vat. Lat. 13492.
  • 58 A very good description of Cybo’s character is provided by A. Borromeo, s.v. Cibo, Camillo, in Dizi (...)
  • 59 In addition to the works quoted so far, see also his contributions to the Papal campaign for reduci (...)

16Cybo came from a noble and well-connected family.52 He was the nephew of Pope Clemens X. A later Pope, Clemens XI, personally attended Cybo’s doctoral disputation in 1701 in Sta. Maria sopra Minerva.53 Cybo was very proud of his academic achievements, which centered especially on St. Thomas Aquinas and on theological speculation in general.54 In 1707, Cybo became a Cleric of the Apostolic Chamber55 and a Giudicio della Gabella de’ Cavalli. Later he served as Auditor of the Chamber,56 and in 1718, he was made Patriarch of Constantinopel.57 In 1725, he took the office of Maggiordomario in the Papal Palace, which he held for several years. In 1729, Cybo became Cardinal. His tenure as Prefetto degli Archivi was thus only an early step in his long career. Although Cybo’s rise was far from spectacular, he is nevertheless a highly interesting figure. His many writings cover every step of his public and private life, although usually from an apologetic and self-indulging perspective. Their heavy propensity for narcissistic self-righteousness58 notwithstanding, his autobiographical texts provide detailed and lively insight into the Roman Curia in the first half of the 18th century.59

  • 60 BNR Mss Ges 99, fol. 253r-256v. See also his (unsuccessful) project for the construction of a new ‘ (...)
  • 61 ASV Indice 214-216. There is a dedication letter by Gioia to Cybo in vol. 214, where his care for t (...)
  • 62 BNR Mss Ges 94, fol. 51v. There is a broad discussion here how Cybo helped improve the bureaucratic (...)

17Cybo clearly had a knack for archives and records. While heading the Papal Palace as Magiordomario, for instance, he oversaw the reorganisation of the Palace’s archives, especially those of the accounting office.60 He also took care of his own private papers, which were put into order around 1737 by Matteo Gioia.61 With Gioia’s help, Cybo also reorganized the archive of the Nuns of S. Filippo di Neri in Rome.62 Compared to these enterprises, however, the notarial archives of the Papal States were a much more complex affair.

  • 63 BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 65v-70v.
  • 64 Ibid., fol. 66r.
  • 65 According to the detailed description of this «libro» in BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 66r this must be the (...)
  • 66 This questionnaire is reproduced in BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 67v-68v.
  • 67 This is mentioned in BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 69r and in ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 41r.

18In his autobiography, Cybo presents himself as the first reformer of the Prefettura after 120 years of neglect.63 Until his tenure, he writes, business had been conducted without formalized routines, «di mano in mane,» on an improvised basis.64 No one knew exactly what the Prefettura’s competences actually were. Even more surprisingly, no information was available regarding the number and location of notarial archives in the Papal States. Cybo sought to provide what was missing : information. Archival politics, just as any other area, depended on wellordered knowledge. Thus, he compiled an authoritative collection of all the legal documents pertaining to the Prefettura. He also collected exemplary templates for letters on all kinds of matters.65 Then he undertook to learn more about the current state of affairs regarding notarial archives in the Papal State. He sent a questionnaire to all Governatori requesting detailed information about the notarial archives and the notaries in the country side.66 From the incoming answers, he produced a survey of the archival status quo that was to be used in the future both in Rome and in other Papal States. Unfortunately, this book does not seem to have survived. Its most astonishing revelation, however, was mentioned by Cybo several times in his other writings : he learned that there were at least 50 notarial archives in the State that no one in Rome had hitherto ever heard of and that, accordingly, had never been visited.67 The Prefettura, in sum, did not even know exactly what it was governing and on which legal grounds.

  • 68 The collection of documents is still extant in ASV Fondo Cybo 4, fol. 1r-281v. Unfortunately, there (...)
  • 69 Other recipients were Urbino, Florence, Modena, Naples, Milan, Parma, Piacenza, Savoy, Mantua, and (...)
  • 70 ASV Fondo Cybo 4, fol. 252r-281v.

19In addition to the internal assessment, Cybo also initiated a spectacular effort to collect information about notarial archives outside the Papal States.68 In an extraordinary project, Cybo sought to obtain up-to-date knowledge about how notarial archives were organized elsewhere. In 1709, he sent a questionnaire to many (city-)states in Italy, including sites of long-standing notarial traditions such as Bologna, Lucca, and Genoa. He also requested information from Vienna, Poland, Lucern, Holland, and Lille.69 Cybo’s questionnaire contained 24 questions inquiring, for instance, about the number of archives, their control mechanisms, details of notarial fees, and about different types of notaries. Cybo particularly sought information about the details of registering, copying, and archiving, and how the legal validity of documents depended on these procedures. Another topic of interest was the personal qualities required in archivists and notaries. Most of these questions addressed issues that had become particularly urgent in the Papal States after the results of the internal enquête. Not all addressees of the questionnaire answered equally exhaustively. Nevertheless, the results of Cybo’s questionnaire still make for a very comprehensive and unique survey of European notarial traditions. Many locations provided Cybo with (printed) statutes, laws, and official tables of fees in addition to short handwritten summaries. Cybo had the incoming material aggregated into a condensed survey of answers to all 24 questions.70 Taken together, the results provided Cybo with a colourful and sometimes confusingly complex picture of existing archival arrangements. This was clearly the attempt to understand legal recordkeeping in a broadly comparative way.

  • 71 BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 69v : «praticare ancora una piu esatta attenzione nel riportare un raguaglio d (...)
  • 72 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3.
  • 73 Ibid., fol. 31v. See also ibid. nr. 2, fol. 2v-3r. Cybo had also asked the papal governatori if the (...)
  • 74 ASR Camerale II notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 41rv.
  • 75 All the four secretaries of the Apostolic Chamber had been responsible, which prevented specializat (...)
  • 76 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 44r.
  • 77 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 32r. Cybo was also interested in how the Dukes of Tuscany (...)

20After this survey, Cybo felt able to evaluate the Papacy’s system of notarial record-keeping. As he himself said, the incoming information could «provide me with a more complete understanding of and possible solutions for the problems of the archives in the Papal States.»71 In 1710, after his first stint as Prefect, Cybo penned a detailed critique of the current arrangements. In a substantial treatise of 114 pages, he evaluated the papal system of archival supervision.72 Cybo’s text demonstrates the degree to which public archives could be approached from a purely bureaucratic and institutional perspective. Archives were means to, and objects of, governance. They required firm administration in order to fulfill their important functions. Archival well-being, thus, was understood to be fragile. Maintaining archival order required considerable efforts and depended on tight and effective supervision by state administrators. The network-character of the papal notarial archives only exacerbated the difficulties. Cybo therefore opted for more centralization to improve record-keeping. A «superfluous quantity» of archives existed and many places were too small to justify and support such a complex infrastructure.73 Cybo also requested an organizational reform of the Prefettura to strengthen its grip on local affairs. Years before the reform of 1723, he suggested that the office of the Prefetto be perpetual. Cybo also proposed institutional expansion. In particular, he wanted to establish a proper archive for the Prefettura itself. In 1710, the office still did not really take care of its own paperwork and Cybo wanted to provide the Prefettura with «a room either in the Vatican or elsewhere with sufficient facilities to store the records.»74 He also suggested the creation of an independent secretariat for the Prefettura.75 Finally, Cybo wanted the Prefettura to have its own legal officer.76 Taken together, Cybo’s suggestions were a call to transform the Prefettura into a more stable and well-supported institution. His preference for centralization and bureaucratization is obvious. From his international survey, he found most congenial those cases and answers that supported his inclination. In his 1710 treatise, he explicitly mentions Florence, Siena, and Lucca as examples for the increased efficiency of a more centralized approach.77

  • 78 For a list of all archives see : San Martini Barrovecchio, Gli archivi notarili, p. 302-307.
  • 79 ASR PdA 1, fascicle «1723».
  • 80 ASR PdA 9, passim. A «segretaria» is, for example, mentioned in the letter to the governatore of Gi (...)
  • 81 A brief review of some theoretical texts on archives can be found in, for example, P. Delsalle, Une (...)

21As argued above, the direct and immediate results of Cybo’s initiatives were meager. If he had had hopes to convince Pope Clement XI. to provide the Prefettura with a new legal framework, they did not come true. The number of archives was not reduced, rather was increased throughout the 18th century.78 The office of Prefetto became more stable only in 1723, years after Cybo’s last tenure with no reference made at that time to his earlier suggestions.79 Later sources do, however, mention a secretary of the Prefetto.80 Perhaps the office’s record-keeping was also improved as documents from the Prefettura only survive from that time on. Yet, even if Cybo’s immediate impact upon the future development of the Prefettura was limited, his initiatives were remarkable. His texts illustrate the state of archival administration around 1700. For Cybo, archival politics had to transcend the customary approach of makeshift and ad hoc arrangements. They needed to be put on firmer grounds and required a broader perspective. Institutionalizing efficient recordkeeping for Cybo was, however, less a question of theoretical planning than of practical improvements. His texts bear only little resemblance to the burgeoning early modern theoretical literature about archives.81 Rather, they represent a practitioner’s perspective on what archival politics could, and should, look like. His approach to notarial record-keeping did not lack a conceptual framework, despite being thoroughly empirical. Archives were, in Cybo’s writings, highly concrete objects of administrative activity.

The prefettura degli archivi at work in the 18th century

  • 82 A (potential) example can be found in a letter from Carlo Maria Fantini, Civitella in Romagna, to t (...)
  • 83 In Monte S. Pietro Angeli, in 1757, the notary Pietro Stefano Melozzini «diffidando del medesimo Po (...)
  • 84 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 1, passim.
  • 85 See e.g. ASR Archivio notarile di Genazzano 450, passim, and ASR Archivio notarile di Frascati 825, (...)
  • 86 See a copy (1772) of his letter to the Papal Legate of Romagna, December 12, 1762, in ASR Buon Gove (...)

22How the Prefettura actually attempted to implement control over the 400 to 500 notarial archives becomes clear only for the 18th century. From then onwards, a highly fragmented yet still considerable set of sources survives that allow us fairly detailed insight into daily routines. Besides the normative laws, two additional pillars of this archival regime can be discerned : visitations and correspondence. As for the visitations, they were a contentious practice, as we have seen above. Local notaries and archivists remained suspicious, and probably had some reason for fear. While many inspectors were considered fair, others were suspected to abuse their power to extort money82 or to settle old scores.83 Yet, visitations remained a constant feature throughout the Prefettura’s existence. Contrary to the City of Rome itself, where visitations occured only sporadically, they happened frequently in the Papal States. The first letter patents for visitors date from the 1620s and for the next hundred years or so the rhythm of visitation was unstable.84 As the 18th century processed, however, inspections became roughly bi – or tri-annual events.85 The Prefettura degli Archivi preferred frequent control, but the notaries and communities were less enthusiastic. The rhythm of archival visits thus remained a contentious issue. In 1762, the Prefettura’s opponents scored an important victory as Camerlengo Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico the Younger, superior of the Prefetto, ordered visitations to occur only every five years from thence on.86

  • 87 See several letters by the Prefetto Finocchietti, for example, January 26, 1780, to Dr. Bruni in Im (...)

23Visitors, once they had been chosen and received their authorization from the Prefetto, were assigned districts, which were usually one or two of the provinces of the Papal States. During the summer months, they would travel from archive to archive, occasionally visiting more than one village per day, but often also staying several days if more business was to be done. Although travelling from archive to archive was time-consuming and exhausting, the office of visitor seems to have been extremely popular. Requests to be named visitor occurred frequently and were regularly turned down by the Prefetto because there was a long waiting list.87

24Coming into a village, town, or city, the visitor would first seek out the authorities and present his credentials. The visitation itself customarily proceeded in three steps. The visitors were first concerned with the archive as physical structure and with the documents as material objects, secondly they checked on the archivist and how he fulfilled his duties. The third and usually most time-consuming step was controlling each and every document from all local notaries that had been stipulated since the last visitation. It was of crucial importance in every case to check if the requests of the last visitors had been fulfilled, or if the community, the archivist, or individual notaries had been negligent regarding earlier orders. All of this was dutifully recorded in an official report, a copy of which was left in each settlement. At the end of his tour, the visitor had to submit a copy of the reports to the Prefettura. How helpful these reports were for the Roman headquarters, is another question. Frequently, they were extremely formulaic. Problems were usually enumerated in very brief statements. Often, the reports consisted of nothing else but long lists of imperfect documents. Only occasionally did the reports provide more colorful details, for instance when they mention difficulties of traveling, the heat, illnesses, or describe particularly imperfect notaries, archivists, or archives.

  • 88 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 4r. See the few examples available in ASR PdA 11, no pagi (...)

25The visitations were integrated into a complicated web of archive-related correspondence between the Prefettura and different local office-holders. Paperwork in various forms evolved into the most crucial tactic for controlling notarial record-keeping. From early on, the archivists were required to inform the Prefetto every six month about the state of the archive and the performance of the local notaries.88 In addition local office holders could, and would, complain in writing to the Prefect about individual notaries or archivists. The Prefect, in turn, corresponded regularly with the governatori and archivists or with individual notaries, often giving specific instructions and acting on the basis of incoming complaints. If local problems were detected, an even more elaborate circle of correspondence started. Orders and letters would go back and forth until the required improvement had been achieved. The final act of these bureaucratic interactions was often a formal writ, produced by some local notary, testifying that a required action had been taken (notatio de adimpiemento).

  • 89 One such case is reported for 1769 in ASR Archivio notarile di Genazzano 450, fol. 89r-90r. As a re (...)

26If, for instance, the Prefect learned that a local notary had delayed the process of archiving, or had been negligent in other ways, he (or the visitor) would oblige the notary to ask for a sanatoria. The notary would then write to Rome formally requesting a sanatoria, which would then be granted and sent to him. The notary would then show it to the archivist, who would only then archive the legal document in question, together with the sanatoria. Finally, the archivist would produce a notarial testimony, de adimpiemento, about this act, which had to be forwarded to Rome so that the Prefetto could be sure that the revalidation had properly occurred. In all such cases, a good half dozen written communications were required to impose central control and secure local compliance. Local notaries were thus systematically asked to produce testimonies about their colleagues’ compliance with Roman instruction. This resulted in the somewhat paradoxical situation that the same form of writing and the same group of people that were found wanting were used to document the amendments to initial shortcomings. Only a few cases have surfaced in which such notarial metadocumentation about notarial behavior was forged89, yet one is left wondering how trustworthy such a self-referential system of bureaucratic control could ever have been.

  • 90 On this body see for example : J. Lesellier, Notaires et archives de la Curie Romaine (1507-1625). (...)
  • 91 In BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 70r, Cybo mentions a treatise entitled Ragioni dell’Autorità, che compete a (...)

27Although the Prefettura held the exclusive responsibility of controlling the notaries and their records outside of Rome and Bologna, the office was also part of a complex web of institutions that all influenced archival politics in one way or another. The creation of notaries, for instance, was a hotly contested affair and other papal institutions jealously guarded their own privileges. Particularly obvious was the competition between the Prefettura and the college of Scribes of the Archive (scriptores archivii), who were also allowed to nominate notaries.90 Several Prefects attempted to outmaneuver this body, yet they achieved a partial victory at best. Cybo, always attempting to empower the Prefettura, also launched an attack on the privileges of the Sanctum Officium, although it is not known what became of this initiative.91

  • 92 On this important body see : S. Tabacchi, Il buon governo. Le finanze locali nello Stato della Chie (...)
  • 93 See for example the letter of Angelo Torcolese, Giudice in Valentano, to the Prefettura, September (...)
  • 94 Rare (and not of an official nature) is the comment by the Cardinal Legate of the Romagna to the Bu (...)

28If not necessarily competition, a good deal of overlap existed between the Prefettura degli Archivi and the powerful papal congregation of Buon Governo.92 This body was supervising the finances within the Papal States and was thus involved in almost every project that required local communities to spend larger sums of money, or to raise money via debts. Cooperation of the Buon Governo was usually necessary when the Prefettura mandated improvements in archival buildings or required large-scale reorganization. Extensive projects of inventorying also proved to be costly and the communities also had to negotiate with Buon Governo about these projects. On occasion, other papal institutions became part of archival decision-making as well. The Sacra Consulta, for instance, is mentioned several times in the records of the Prefettura.93 None of these bodies openly questioned the Prefettura’s competence or directly challenged the Prefettura’s very explicit claim for supreme authority in all matters regarding notarial archives.94 Yet, the fact that several papal institutions had to be involved made things more time-consuming and complicated.

  • 95 This became a standard feature of all bandi, see for example ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, f (...)
  • 96 For example, ASR PdA CC 2 nr 1.

29Attempting to situate the Prefettura in the complex web of papal institutions also means highlighting the fact that the office actually functioned as a dependency of the Apostolic Chamber. Symbolically, this close connection with the Camera resulted in an important privilege for the local archivists : they were considered affiliates of the papal offices and therefore had the right to bear arms day and night.95 On a more practical level, the dependency of the notarial archives from the Chamber meant that most of the Prefettura’s legal documents were formally issued by the Camerlengo. Legal citations, suspensions of notaries, and even the Bandi generali all bore his name or the name of the Chamber’s secretary. Criminal cases in archival and notarial matters were still being prosecuted by the Camerlengo in the 18th century.96 Not much else is known about the Prefetto’s actual situation within the Camera apostolica. It is obvious, however, that the office remained a subordinate institution, although it acted de facto as independent and was the authority for all things archival.

  • 97 For a very good case-study of how papal government functioned on the local level see : C. F. Black, (...)
  • 98 In Appignano, for instance, the archivist Morelli refused to relinquish the office after he moved o (...)
  • 99 Archivists were regularly encouraged or ordered to inquire proactively with notaries about individu (...)
  • 100 On February 12, 1780, for instance the Prefetto allowed the archivista of Montenovo to determine th (...)

30The 18th century saw a certain maturation of the Prefettura degli Archivi, yet the office continued to depend on local agents to implement proper record-keeping.97 The local archivists were, of course, very important. Since they bought their offices, they considered themselves somewhat independent from the communal magistrates who leased it to them. Occasionally, the archivists were very hard to control.98 Archivists were responsible for making the archives well-ordered and functioning environments, for instance by keeping them tidy and displaying the Bandi in a proper form. But by far their most important task was to control the notaries by granting or denying them the ability to archive their documents.99 The archivists were gate-keepers, charged with keeping those documents out of the archive that were not submitted in the proper form. The archivists thus held considerable power over the notaries, with this power occasionally explicitly extended by the Prefetto.100

  • 101 The Prefettura also cooperated and corresponded regularly with bishops and other ecclesiastical aut (...)
  • 102 Many examples, for example, January 26, 1780, Prefetto to Governatore of Frascati, ASR PdA 9, no pa (...)
  • 103 For example, on January 5, 1780, Prefetto to Governatore of Sogliano, or on January, 8, to the Gove (...)

31The local archivists were the daily managers of the archives. They were important for the practical details of archiving and for controlling the notaries. Their relevance for archival administration was, however, rather limited. For example, when the Prefettura had queries regarding the local archive as a public institution, it turned to the local magistrates and not to the local archivists. The Prefects also cooperated with the governatori, podestà, and other officials101 when it came to providing infrastructure for the local archives. A particularly important task for the magistrates was to supervise the selection of the archivists and the selling of the office.102 Governatori were also asked to execute Roman orders pertaining to many practical details of the archives. Occasionally, they fulfilled duties that were normally undertaken by archivists. Even more revealing is the fact that local authorities were used to control the archivists, for instance when they were asked by the Prefetto to double-check information.103 It is clear that the Prefects did not trust the archivists unconditionally. It was all too often obvious that the archivists had high personal stakes in many local decisions and projects. The Prefettura therefore relied on local officials for a second opinion.

  • 104 See the letters by the Prefetto to the governatori of Monticelli di Tivoli, Monte Porcio, Santo Pol (...)

32By employing visitations and several different types of informative and executive correspondence and by closely cooperating with local authorities, the Prefettura degli Archivi, often in conjunction with other papal institutions, attempted to organize, improve, and standardize the local storage of notarial records. This occasionally resulted in impressive efforts to rearrange documents on a regional level. In March 1783, for instance, a complex and coordinated operation was launched to (re-)stock the archive of Sant’Angelo di Tivoli which had, for a long time, been systematically deprived of materials to the «detriment of the local people.»104 Following up a complaint by Sant’Angelo’s archivist, the Prefetto ordered the transport of notarial documents from more than half a dozen sites to that village. The governatori were asked to coordinate the activities. The Prefettura clearly proved able to arrange and influence local recordkeeping and to enforce compliance with the general norms of notarial behavior. Many ways existed to implement the central administration’s archival politics.

The daily life of notarial archives : towards a pragmatic history

  • 105 If this paper focuses on conflicts, shortcomings, and make-shift arrangements, this is not meant to (...)

33As a result of the bureaucratic techniques of control described so far, the Prefettura left a significant paper trail that purposefully documented the situation in individual local archives. The surviving letters, memorials, and acts of visitations constitute an unusually rich ensemble of sources on the daily life of early modern archives, archivists, and notaries. Although only fragments of the Prefettura’s records survive, the amount and quality of what is left is rarely available elsewhere.105

  • 106 For example, in Cana 1762, see ASR PdA 40 (Latium 1762), fol. 16v. For mice in the archive see the (...)
  • 107 For example, Francesco Cicarelli, archivist in Recanati, to the Prefetto, April 12, 1760, ASR PdA 1 (...)

34Local record-keeping must often have been far from ideal. Problems included substandard material and physical conditions. Archives were frequently unappealing, untidy, and make-shift spaces. If we take physical conditions to be an indicator of the place which archives held in early modern culture, we must conclude that archives held an ambiguous position. The bandi minimally required that local archives be housed in «safe, secure, and dry rooms,» yet local storage facilities were often found wanting in these basic respects. Archives were inhabited by vermin, doors and windows were often not strong enough, or documents were entirely unprotected against weather and trespassing.106 Several archivists complained that their work-spaces were so cold and inadequate that work was impossible during winter.107

  • 108 This happened for instance in Frascati in 1758 and 1760, see ASR Archivio notarile di Frascati 825, (...)
  • 109 For these cases see the letters (1757) from Castelnuovo di Porto (May, 27), Belvedere di Jesi (May (...)
  • 110 An example is Canale’s suggestion to borrow from the Roman Archivio Capitolino the idea of an iron (...)
  • 111 See the documents from 1760 in ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination. The quotes read : «ha quind (...)

35Accordingly, the visitors and Prefetti often ordered the reconstruction of existing spaces.108 The central government’s concern for the records led to appeals for structural improvements. Efforts to achieve ideals of dryness, safety, and protection regularly translated into calls for solid doors, for good ironwork, and for windows that were covered with glass. Rooms and furniture had to be provided with locks and keys.109 Beyond such stereotypical requests, however, the Prefettura had only a few original ideas about archival architecture.110 Local authorities, though, occasionally developed rather grandiose plans. The City Council of Faenza, for instance, had decided in 1758 to construct «a new building for the conservation of documents.» As it became clear how expensive this would be, the authorities gradually backed down and devised a cheaper plan for the «enlargement and modernization» of the archive by «opening up the old archive by integrating an adjacent chamber [...] which will have the same effect as a new building.»111 Plans for physical improvements of existing archives, if they were implemented at all, were often quickly downgraded to pragmatic, or even make-shift ameliorations.

  • 112 See the opening passages in the printed «Faventina Appaltus Officii Notariatus» of 1765 in ASR Buon (...)
  • 113 See the (highly fragmentary) evidence for 1757 in ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination. The city (...)
  • 114 See a letter by the giudice Giuseppe Antonio Combiasi to the Buon Governo, from 1751 (date unclear) (...)
  • 115 See for example, Prefettura to the governatore of Trevi di Subiaco, February 16, 1780, ASR PdA 9, n (...)
  • 116 See for example, the Bando Generale of 1630 in ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 155rv : «q (...)
  • 117 See the letter of Francesco Cicarelli, archivist in Recanati, to the Prefetto, April 12, 1760, ASR (...)
  • 118 See also Prefetto to the archivist of Baschi, January 15, 1780, ASR PdA 1, no pagination, in which (...)
  • 119 See the local authorities’ letter to the Prefettura, August 13, 1760, ASR PdA 12, no pagination. Ag (...)

36The ambivalent position of archives in early modern culture is also revealed by the dominant professional and societal attitudes towards recordkeeping. This is evident, for instance, in the limited degree of professionalization among notaries in general, and archivists in particular. In theory, when a community looked for a new archivist, the office was expected to be filled «more by looking for qualifications than for the highest offer.»112 In reality, however, expectations for both aspects often had to be lowered significantly. The office did not sell particularly well. In some communities, the office brought considerably less than it was thought to be worth.113 For example, in Frascati, the offer had been so small that the community decided against selling it.114 It was often difficult to attract interest for the office at all.115 This was not, however, due to particularly high technical standards that had to be met by interested parties. While at least some minimum requirements existed for aspiring notaries, only a very general description of an archivist’s qualifications was ever made («quality, aptness, and loyalty»).116Accordingly, many archivists were ill prepared for their tasks. Even basic skills such as the ability to decipher and comprehend old forms of handwriting were often in short supply.117 Other abilities necessary for proper record-keeping were also found wanting, especially in small settlements in peripheral locations.118 Binding the loose sheets of paper, for instance, proved difficult in Montefano in 1760 because no bookbinders lived in the village. The necessary artisans had to be «called in from several cities and especially from Osimo» – about 15 kilometers away.119

  • 120 See the bitter complaints about the archivist Giuseppe Celli by Nicola Antonini in his letter to th (...)
  • 121 ASR PdA 40, «Latium», fol. 70rv : «post multas horas.»
  • 122 In some cases, archival and living spaces merged also, because communities provided no rooms for th (...)
  • 123 See the colorful letter of complaint about Anzidei from September 19, 1747, in ASR PdA 1, no pagina (...)
  • 124 The archivist Pietr’Antonio Stecchiotti, on September 26, 1747, was accused of this, yet he managed (...)
  • 125 See : Prefetto to the Vicegerente of Todi, January 12, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagination.
  • 126 See : Tommaso Scipione to the Prefetto, May 24, 1747, ASR PdA 1, no pagination. This was all the mo (...)

37In addition to their limited technical capabilities, the archivists were seen by the local peers and the Prefettura to frequently lack the necessary commitment to, and appreciation of, their job. Archivists were clearly not always dedicating themselves fully to maintaining archival order. Often, archivists were simply absent. They occasionally left their post for days to pursue their own business elsewhere and not always provided for a temporary replacement. More than one notary found himself looking in vain for the archivist when trying to register his documents.120 Even visitors had to wait for «many hours» in Castel Madama in 1762 before the local archivist chose to appear.121 On the other hand, some archivists took a little too much to their workspace.122 For instance, Bartolomeo Anzidei, archivist in Castello di Francavilla in 1747, had appropriated the storage rooms for his personal needs.123 He brought in foodstuffs, his tobacco and pipe, dishes, pots, clothing, and even live animals – his rabbit had started to eat the papers. Anzidei was seen night and day in the archive and also allowed his son to use the rooms. Other archivists were even more inviting and turned the archives into spaces for communal social use. In Osino, for instance, the local archive was supposedly used for casual gatherings and gambling in the late 1730s and 1740s.124 Furthermore, in 1780 the archive of Todi was a well-known venue for «reciting comedies.»125 Other archives were used in unintended ways, too, although in slightly less embarrassing ones. In Sermoneta, for instance, the rooms served as the site for the local court of law which, in 1747, did not have its own location.126 Archives were public spaces in entirely unintended ways.

  • 127 C. Métayer, Au tombeau des secrets. Les écrivains publics du Paris populaire. Cimetière des Saints- (...)
  • 128 Stefanucci tells his story in a letter of June 3, 1760, in ASR PdA 12, no pagination.

38The archivists’ relative lack of professional determination was probably related to the social situation of these people. For many notaries and archivists, their work in the archives needed to be supplemented by other work to make a living. They frequently claimed to be poor, and the claim was often accepted by the Prefetto. The sources mention many notaries who produced only very few writings per year. As the notarial profession only earnt them part of their living, it probably also only partially occupied their lives and thoughts. In the Papal States, many notaries and archivists seem to have often come from the humble scribal milieu, which has been brilliantly studied by scholars such as Christine Métayer and Mario Infelise.127 It is therefore no surprise to find that notaries and archivists had connections to many different social environments, some of them quite far removed from, or even at odds with, the legal professions. A pertinent example of this is Simeone Stefanucci from the village of Fabrica, about 70 kilometers north of Rome, who had become a notary in 1757. He once had been a criminal and was convicted in 1743 at the age of eighteen for stealing chicken. He was sentenced to three years of public work, while his accomplices went to the galleys. After finishing his sentence, he had lived a life free of crime and had started to work as notary and archivist in his village. In 1760, his former friends caught up with him and used their common past to attack his reputation in revenge.128 Yet, Stefanucci was by now well enough integrated into the local society to be able to produce several testimonies that assured the Prefect of his now impeccable life. The crisis was overcome and the pending suspension retracted. Stefanucci, the former convict turned notary and archivist, continued to exercise his office.

39This example shows just how thoroughly archives and record-keeping were integrated into the everyday social fabric of local communities. There seemed to have been few barriers separating the archive – both as a physical space and as an institution – from the contexts of private and public daily life. Archives were therefore, on the one hand, open to a broad range of additional uses besides the storage of documents. On the other hand, archives were not yet fully defining the mentalities of those who worked within them. Neither exclusive commitment to record-keeping, dedicated professionalism, nor advanced technical skills were required to become archivist. Even among archivists the archive was just one among several other concerns.

  • 129 This was mandated by the Prefettura. Initially, Imola had resisted, see a letter from the local aut (...)
  • 130 Bernardino Honorati, Ravenna, to the Buon Governo, June 16, 1756, ASR Buon Governo II 2036, no pagi (...)
  • 131 See the letter of Ricci, Imola, to the Buon Governo, August 27, 1756, ASR Buon Governo II 2036, no (...)
  • 132 See the transcript of several City Councils, from December 12, 1759, to January 13, 1762, in ASR Bu (...)
  • 133 Several letters in ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination, deal with financial aspects. For exampl (...)
  • 134 See his dramatizing statement, September 3, 1760, ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination.
  • 135 Memoriale of December 12, 1761, and two letters by the Cardinal Legate to Buon Governo, January 20 (...)

40Thus, it was no wonder that archives could very easily become objects of fierce social struggles and power games. Seemingly simple archival projects could produce deep social frictions. Several files survive, for instance, from Imola, where a new inventory should have been compiled after 1752.129 As was customary, the city invited competitive bidding for the job through a public announcement. By March 31, 1756, four offers had been made.130 The offer of one Andrea Polinelli seemed most appealing to the authorities and he was awarded the job. This, in turn, angered Ludovico Ricci, the communal secretary of Imola who thought that he should have been awarded the job.131 For unknown reasons, Polinelli did not see the project through and in 1759 Pietro Berti, another bidder of 1756, took over the job.132 Berti signed on several scribes and helpers and started to work, with considerable delay, on November 16, 1761. The delay was caused by difficulties in receiving permission from the Buon Governo to raise the required funding of 2.000 scudi.133 Berti himself intentionally drove the price higher by highlighting the enormous «difficulties» of the project.134 Two city councilors, Poggio and Alessandretti, were charged with the (financial) control of the project on behalf of the magistrate. Rumors of fraud and general mismanagement soon, however, spread. A vicious denunciation reached the Cardinals. The two councilors offered to step down, and could barely be convinced to remain in office as Imola was lacking the personnel resources to replace them.135 The case of Imola shows that archives easily produced a wide array of social tension. Quite apart from the technical difficulties involved in reviewing and inventorying huge piles of papers, the very setup of such a project could send considerable shockwaves through the community. Even a ‘simple’ inventory, thus, could substantially rattle the civic fabric. Archives were hotbeds for communal disputes. They significantly contributed to the creation, deepening, and maintenance of social frictions both on the local and the regional levels.

  • 136 «forse anche l’hà fatto per astio,» Matteo Lanzoni, December 5, 1760, to the Prefetto, ASR PdA 12, (...)
  • 137 Most of the criminal activities recorded in ASR PdA CC concern the notaries and their production of (...)
  • 138 This case is the first to be preserved in the Prefettura’s series of cause criminale, see ASR PdA C (...)

41The embedded nature of archives in the contemporaneous social fabric also provided ample opportunities for willful wrongdoing. Frequent are the cases in which archivists were not simply neglectful or personally involved, but abused their position of power intentionally. A notary in Terra di Conzano suspected, for instance, that the local archivist «perhaps» deliberately delayed the process of archiving documents «because he bore a grudge.»136 Archivists certainly had subtle and powerful ways to threaten their peers, often verging towards outright criminal activity. The Prefettura’s sources, in fact, contain information about several law suits involving archivists in episodes of theft, forgery and fraud.137 Between 1712 and 1715, for instance, a case was brought against Thomas Coppari Liberti, the former archivist of Nocera. He was said to have altered, to his advantage, a testament from 1604 contained in an old codex. The forgery had supposedly happened during a recent visitation whilst the papers were in the overnight possession of the Roman Visitor, who lodged with Coppari. The defendant was thus accused of having exploited his expert professional knowledge and his excellent social connections with the archival visitor to get illegitimate access to otherwise strictly guarded papers.138

  • 139 The homicide of a late archivist is mentioned, albeit without further information, by Agostino Penn (...)
  • 140 «oculare inspettione,» see ASR PdA CC 1 nr. 1, no pagination (part of the long manuscript). Similar (...)

42Coppari’s case demonstrates that archives could provide only limited protection against fraud and other crimes. Double keys and iron locks were made inefficient by ruse or social networks. Archives became crime scenes and were, occasionally, objects of criminal investigations. Although physical violence against the ‘people of the archives’ was rarely recorded139, brutalization of documents played a key role in some of these cases. The material evidence of mutilated paper was carefully examined where appropriate. The law-suit against Coppari rested on the material condition of the codices under consideration, which were clearly evaluated as physical objects. «Visual inspection» of the lacerated volumes would reduce all doubts of guilt, so the plaintiffs claimed.140 Other material indications, such as handwriting and ink, were also taken into account by the court to evaluate Coppari’s guilt. An extensive, if rather unsystematic knowledge about ‘correct’ physical conditions was obviously widely shared and largely self-evident. Evaluating codices for their external features was a well-established legal procedure and rested on largely uncontroversial criteria.

  • 141 ASR PdA CC 1 nr. 8. See the lively description of events ibid., fol. 6v.
  • 142 ASR PdA CC 1 nr 8, fol. 76r, where each and every testimony against Albrici is acknowledged, yet ex (...)

43Much more complicated was the case of Pio Albrici who, in 1753, was accused of smuggling an entirely newly forged document into the archive, which he then pompously retrieved or ‘found.’141 The archivist and other people swore that they had never seen or heard of Albrici’s document and considered their memory as proof of his obvious guilt. His lawyers, however, disagreed. The personal memory of even the most knowledgeable archivist could not be accepted as proof. In Albrici’s defense, his lawyers claimed that the piece under consideration could certainly have been part of the archive without anyone ever knowing about it. Furthermore, inventories and registers were likely to be incomplete and unreliable.142 Albrici’s lawyers’ argument was particularly plausible in an archival culture where record-keeping and inventorying was often far from perfectly organized. Yet, their point was a general one, too, implying two fundamental questions : Is it ever possible to know for sure what is in an archive? And, it is ever possible to know for sure what is not in an archive? With their attack on all presumptions to complete archival knowledge, Albrici’s lawyers baffled their audience. Archives, or so the lawyers seemed to imply, were inherently surprising, and not only because of practical imperfections. By arguing this point, they illustrate that the boundary between legal and illegal usage of archives, while obvious in principle, was often extremely hard to establish, and even harder to police in practice.

Local identities, central control

  • 143 See also C. Castiglione, Political Culture in Seventeenth-Century Italian Villages, in Journal of I (...)

44Our focus on archive-related behavior finally reconnects us to the earlier discussion of centralized archival politics. Individual practices obviously had to be integrated into a broader institutional and legal framework. This was, however, an ambivalent procedure. If archives increasingly became objects of interest on the local or regional levels, this indicated that the Papacy’s call for increased archival commitment had had at least some general success. On the other hand, however, the appropriation of archives into local social practices rarely followed the central government’s blueprint. Frequently, in fact, local archival practices and the Prefettura’s ideas were incompatible. In these cases, archives and archiverelated types of behavior became objects of, and arenas for, complex renegotiations between local and central claims of power. In times of such conflicts, archives could easily acquire the status of local, communal, or regional identity-markers.143 Let us first examine how record-keeping became involved in local identity politics, before turning to the question of how archives could become battlegrounds over centralized control.

  • 144 See a number of documents as part of a dossier of September 3, 1747, in ASR PdA 1, no pagination. S (...)

45From the point of view of local identities, to have or not to have an archive could make a crucial difference. In principle, nothing prevented the foundation of archives even in small and remote locations. How reasonable this was, however, was controversial. Cybo, as we have seen, had been highly critical of the proliferation of archives. On the local level, the question was also hotly debated. In the region of Castro, for instance, the pros and cons of regionally centralized archiving were openly discussed.144

46Cardinal Farnese, in 1604, had ordered that only one central archive for the region should exist in the city of Castro. This archive had been moved, in 1649, to Valentano. Over the years, however, a host of smaller local archives had sprung up in many villages. Should they «be closed again,» as one local person thought? The (dis)advantages of partially centralized record-keeping were argued back and forth, with better control argued against easier access for the locals. It is unclear how the Prefettura decided the case, yet it shows that the issue was by no means trivial for the local population.

  • 145 See the documents in ASR PdA 1, no pagination (dossier «1745»).

47In fact, considerations easily went beyond merely practical assessments. The question was fraught with larger issues of civic identity. The community of Monte Prandone, for instance, had for pragmatic reasons never attempted to create an archive.145 The papers were instead stored in nearby Ascoli. In 1745, however, the establishment of a local archive was discussed. Those who favored the traditional arrangements argued that new institutions would create «jealousy» among surrounding neighbors. Those who favored a new communal archive, however, considered such pragmatism as a blow against the «patria.» Insisting that «an archive could be created in this patria» was obviously a marker of patriotic loyalty and whoever denied the feasibility of a local communal archive was quickly suspected of denigrating the «patria.» Keeping the documents «in patria» could not easily be dismissed as unpractical.

  • 146 The authorities of Faenza, in a letter to Buon Governo, March 25, 1772, insistend that «talche l’el (...)
  • 147 «sono però sempre vissuti et vivono separatamente fuori di Forlì con li proprii statute confermati (...)

48Local notarial archives could thus acquire considerable symbolic power. This gave them also the potential to become arenas for symbolic battles for power between local and central authorities. When, in 1772, the Prefettura tried to force the magistrate of Faenza to charge the archivist (and not some other notary) with compiling an inventory, the city refused.146 Faenza did not deny the Prefettura’s right to mandate inventorying, yet the local authorities claimed that only the city, and not Rome, could determine who actually would do the work. The stand-off between the central offices and the local government was widely noticed and neither of the two sides wished to back down from their positions. It is likely that Faenza was generally unhappy with the order to produce an inventory. Since there was no way, however, to directly counter this command the city used every possibility available to demonstrate relative independence from Rome and to delay execution of the command. Other communities also evoked archives as symbols of local independence. A telling example is provided by a supplication to Rome written by several small villages in the vicinity of Forlì in 1710. In this text the communities complained about hegemonic aspirations of Forlì. Since all the local villages had their own archives, so the argument ran, they could and should not be considered totally subordinated.147 Both examples, the one from Faenza as well as that from Forlì, illustrate how archives became arenas and symbols for distributing power in early modern Europe.

  • 148 See for example : Prefetto to the governatore of Collelongo, January 26, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagina (...)
  • 149 See for example : Tamba, Corporazione, p. 173f. for a clear distinction between the two types of wr (...)
  • 150 There was a famous decree by the Congregazione del Concilio from 1625, in which contracts between e (...)
  • 151 This is documented in ASR Buon Governo I 33, passim, for several communities. In ASR Buon Governo I (...)

49Similar fights occurred throughout the early modern Papal States. Open conflict occurred especially over the Prefettura’s contentious attempt to police the relationship between local notarial and local civic archives. There was a clear rule that notarial and civic documents should be strictly separated. Time and again the bandi insisted on this point and the Prefects as well as the visitors regularly urged particular communities to physically segregate different types of documents.148 Making a clear distinction between notarial and civic documents, however, was not only a question of diligence and accuracy. It was, rather, inherently difficult because there existed a great deal of overlap between the two spheres149 – communal officers, for instance, also worked as notaries and stipulated documents, yet should they also fall under the authority of the Prefettura? Were they required to perform ‘archivization’ as the other notaries were? Regarding these ‘grey’ areas, in the mid 18th century the Prefettura waged a campaign of increasing rationalization and attempted to expand the duties of ‘archivization’ wherever possible.150 The whole campaign, however, was resented throughout the Papal States and resistance flared up everywhere. Particularly notorious was a decree by Prefetto Antonio Casali of May 28, 1758. A flood of complaints against the new rules reached the Buon Governo and the communities spent considerable amounts of money to lobby against the new system.151 They fought hard against what they considered an inconvenient, counter-productive, and unprecedented injunction. It seems that they fought not entirely in vain. Although they finally had to comply with the new norms, communities such as Imola, Faenza, or Forlì managed to procrastinate for years, often by masterfully exploiting the institutional overlap between the Prefettura and the Buon Governo.

50Many more similar examples exist. Difficulties mostly arose from specific local situations and practices that ran against the Prefettura’s intentions. The broader institutional and legal set-up of the Papacy’s archival system thus interfered with localized archive-related social practices and vice versa. Centralized archival politics had an ambivalent outcome. On the one hand, the papal system of archival supervision – headed by the Prefettura in Rome, regularly enforced by frequent visitations, and localized by centrally approved archivists – rather successfully forced new standards of notarial record-keeping onto the lives of individuals and communities. Individual communities reacted, over time, by integrating notarial archives into their communal identities and by creating specific sets of archiverelated social routines and behavior. These ways of appropriating archives into social life, on the other hand, were by no means easily aligned with the archival agenda of Rome. Archives created specific identities, opportunities, and types of behavior, which were neither totally unrelated, nor totally subjected to Roman ideas. While archives had become a key component for all the different people and institutions under consideration in this paper, they were nevertheless appropriated by very different people in very different and distinctive ways.

Conclusion : interpreting notarial archives in the papal states

  • 152 Tamba, Corporazione, p. 186f. Id., Castel del Rio, p. 7. Biscione, Archivio, p. 856 writes that thi (...)

51There are a number of different approaches available to put the Prefettura into a broader framework of analysis. One possible avenue of interpretation is to understand the Prefettura as another example of early modern state-building. In this light, the Prefettura must be considered as an attempt to institutionalize and implement state-control over record-keeping on an extended geographical scale.152 Mandating how the notaries should fulfill their task had a long tradition, yet the slow but steady escalation of control of archival practices deserves special attention. Archives clearly became objects of political concern. The Prefettura is remarkable for the design of a centrally controlled, yet geographically diffuse network of institutions tied together by nothing else but the center’s integrating bureaucracy. That bureaucratization seemed the most efficient way towards implementing fantasies of control was not unusual for the time. The techniques of control used by the Prefettura were also far from extraordinary. Combining visitations with standardized executive and investigative correspondence was common practice. More surprising, however, is the fact that it took more than a hundred years for the office to launch a systematic campaign of information gathering. This, together with Cybo’s treatises, should alert us to the fact that the Prefettura existed for quite some time without much institutional support. As the opening statement by Prefect Finocchietti revealed, the Prefettura’s institutional selfawareness remained limited even two generations after Cybo’s projects. Moreover, the office grew very little at first, and later developed to probably only a moderate size. It was staffed by people in the early stages of their careers. Caring for the notarial archives, then, although a discernable concern for the papal government, was probably not among the most important tasks on the administrative agenda.

52A second approach to understanding the Prefettura would focus less on institutional arrangements, rather would highlight the specific qualities of the sources produced by this bureaucratic apparatus. Although the records created by the Prefettura have an investigative bias, the supplications, letters, and memoriali nevertheless provide an unusually vivid insight into the daily lives of local archives. Few other institutions lend themselves to a ‘pragmatic’ history of archives as well as the Prefettura. Among the most obvious insights to be gathered from reading the Prefettura’s records along these lines is an appreciation of the enormous efforts that organised record-keeping entailed. Founding archives was relatively easy, yet maintaining them was always an extremely complicated affair, which depended on a myriad of factors. Record-keeping, far from being an obvious and simple activity, was in fact an achievement depending on considerable initiative and commitment.

  • 153 In Roccasecca a conflict erupted in 1747 between the governatore and the community about who should (...)

53Appreciating the full variety of archive-related behavior ultimately means to nuance the correlation between record-keeping and bureaucratic or juridical rationality that is habitually made by historians. Archives and the process of archiving notarial writings were both expected to, and did, improve legal stability and reliability. Archives provided the means to settle law suits and helped to dispense justice. Yet, once they were founded, archives immediately functioned in entirely unintended ways. As archives began to shape social and legal life, they started to respond to local conditions and cultural contexts. They became entangled in, and confronted with, agendas that were largely unrelated to the initial intentions of Sixtus V or any other founder of archives. Traditional archival histories deplore such developments. The locally and socially embedded nature of archives is often understood in exclusively negative ways as ‘retarding’ or ‘impeding’ a drive for rationalization which is supposedly inherent in the institution per se. A pragmatic (or praxeological) history of archives that is socially and culturally grounded, however, should take extremely serious the many ways in which archives ‘contaminated’ daily social life and were ‘contaminated’ by it. A proper history of archives should focus precisely on the ‘deplorable’ archiverelated social practices. That visitors used the archival system to extort money; that notaryarchivists intentionally denied access to some of their peers; that cities like Forlì or Faenza used archives and archivists to renegotiate their position in relation to the central papal bureaucracies; that notaries, magistrates, and others fought for possession of the keys to the archive153 – all of this should not (or, at least, not exclusively) be seen as pitiable indications of archival neglect and abuse, but rather as signs that the respective archives were vibrant and lively parts of local societies.

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Notes

1 ASR PdA 9, no pagination : «Dalla S. Memoria di Sisto V. ebbero origine i Pubblici Archivj, vale a dire doppo il secolo XIV : di cui Vestra Reverenza favorisce parlarmi col gentil suo foglio in data dei 30 : scaduto, sicchè si può facilmente dedurre dall’accennata posteriore origine al riferito secolo, che non vi fosse in allora alcuna di quelle leggi che di poi sono state aumentate da altri Sommi Pontefici per l’esibite in Archivio d’ogn’atto publico, mentre prima dell’indicata origine gl’ Archivj erano privati, o siano particolari. Più di così io non posso dirle, perchè di più non sò sù tal’emergente.»

2 On Rome see : L. Nussdorfer, Brokers of public trust. Notaries in early modern Rome, Baltimore, 2009. On Bologna see : G. Cencetti, Scritti Archivistici, Rome, 1970 (Fonti e Studi di Storia legislazione e tecnica degli archivi moderni, 3); G. Tamba, Una corporazione per il potere. Il notariato a Bologna in età comunale, Bologna, 1998 (Biblioteca di storia urbana medievale, 11); M. Giansante, G. Tamba, D. Tura (ed.), Camera actorum. L’archivio del Comune di Bologna dal XIII al XVIII secolo, Bologna, 2006 (Documenti e studi / Deputazione di storia patria per le province di Romagna, 36).

3 J. Grisar, Notare und Notariatsarchive im Kirchenstaat des 16. Jahrhunderts, in Mélanges Eugène Tisserant: IV. Archives vaticanes. Histoire ecclésiastique, Vatican City, 1964, p. 251-300, esp. p. 282-300. M. L. San Martini Barrovecchio, Gli archivi notarili sistini della Provincia di Roma, in Rivista storica di Lazio, 2, 1994, p. 293-320. Only little new information is added by S. Scoccianti, La legislazione di Sisto V sugli archivi notarili. Struttura e validità, in M. Fagiolo (ed.), Sisto V. 1. Roma e il Lazio, Rome, 1992, p. 185-209.

4 On ‘praxeological’ historiography see the convenient recent summary by S. Reichardt, Praxeologische Geschichtswissenschaft. Eine Diskussionsanregung, in Sozial.Geschichte, 22, 2007, p. 43-65. The quote is ibid., p. 45: «soziokulturell eingebettete Handlungsformen.» Some steps in this direction have also been taken recently in O. Filippini, Memoria della Chiesa, Memoria dello Stato. Il Archivio di Carlo Cartari, Bologna, 2010 (Percorsi).

5 EAE, p. 19-25.

6 The literature on notaries is vast, the following works all include further references : U. Bruschi, Nella fucina dei notai. L’ars notaria tra scienza e prassi a Bologna e in Romagna (fine xii-metà xiii secolo), Bologna, 2006 (Studi e memorie per la storia dell’Università di Bologna N.S., 1); G. Costamagna, Il notaio a Genova tra prestigio e potere, Rom, 1970 (Studi storici sul notariato italiano, 1); L. Faggion (ed.), Le notaire, entre métier et espace public en Europe, viiie-xviiie siècle, Aix-en-Provence, 2008; F. Magistrale (ed.), I protocolli notarili tra medioevo ed età moderna. Storia istituzionale e giuridica, tipologia, strumenti per la ricerca, Florence, 1993 (Archivi per la Storia, 6); A. Meyer, Felix et inclitus notarius. Studien zum italienischen Notariat vom 7. bis zum 13. Jahrhundert, Tübingen, 2000 (Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom, 92); M. P. Pedani Fabris, Veneta auctoritate notarius. Storia del notariato veneziano (1514-1797), Milano, 1996 (Studi storici sul notariato italiano, 10); V. Piergiovanni (ed.), Il notaio e la città. Essere notaio : i tempi e i luoghi (secc. xii-xv), Milano, 2009 (Studi storici notariato italiano, 13); P. Schulte, «scripturae publicae creditur». Das Vertrauen in Notariatsurkunden im kommunalen Italien des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts, Tübingen, 2003 (Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom, 101). See now also K. Burns, Into the Archive : writing and power in colonial Peru, Durham, 2010.

7 The different types of notarial documents and their histories are treated by all authors quoted in FN 2 and 6.

8 For this concept see A. Esch, Überlieferungs-Chance und Überlieferungs-Zufall als methodisches Problem des Historikers, in Historische Zeitschrift, 240, 1985, p. 529-570.

9 See Tamba, Corporazione, p. 190 (on Triest), 199-257 (on Bologna).

10 G. Costamagna, La conservazione della documentazione notarile nella Repubblica di Genova, in Archivio per la Storia, 3, 1990, p. 7-20.

11 A. Meyer, Hereditary laws and city topography : on the development of the Italian notarial archives in the Late Middle Ages, in A. Classen (ed.), Urban space in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age, Berlin, 2009 (Fundamentals of medieval and early modern culture, 4), p. 225-244, p. 237.

12 G. Biscione, Il Publico generale archivio di Firenze. Istituzione e organizzazione, in C. Lamioni (ed.), Istituzioni e società in Toscana nell’età moderna. Atti delle Giornate di Studio Dedicate a Giuseppe Pansini, Rome, 1994 (Pubblicazioni degli archivi di stato, 31), p. 806-861, esp. p. 859f.

13 See for a example, a complex proposal for a unified and centralized notarial archive in Spain by Xarava de Castillo, June 2, 1631, printed in D. Navarro Bonilla, La imagen del archivo. Representación y funciones en España (siglos xvi y XVII), Gijón, 2003 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 80), p. 200f.

14 A few remarks on notarial record-keeping in the papal territories before 1588 can be found in Grisar, Notariat.

15 On the two dimensions of papal governance see P. Prodi, The papal prince. One body and two souls : the papal monarchy in early modern Europe, Cambridge, 1987. There is no satisfying analysis of the organizational efforts of Sixtus. For brief surveys see N. Del Re, Sisto V e la sua opera di organizzazione del governo centrale de la Chiesa e la Stato, in Idea, 36, 1980, p. 41-53, and L. Londei, Le magistrature dello Stato della Chiesa nell’età moderna. Qualche nota di sintesi, in Le carte e la storia, 2, 1999, p. 36-54. I. de Feo, Sisto V – un grande papa tra Rinascimento e Barocco, Milan, 1987 (Storia e documenti, 75) has little to say on organization and institutions. See, however, M. Fagiolo (ed.), Sisto V. Roma e Lazio, Rome, 1992.

16 Justice was the key theme of propaganda under Sixtus V, see I. Fosi, Justice and its image : political propaganda and judicial reality in the Pontificate of Sixtus V, in Sixteenth Century Journal, 24, 1993, p. 75-95.

17 This concern is expressed forcefully in a document made in preparation of Sollicitudo, see BAV Vat. Lat. 7023, fol. 306r-309v. I take the reference from Nussdorfer, Notaries, p. 124, 145. Another preparatory document, edited in M. L. San Martini, Sul notariato dello Stato pontificio prima e dopo la riforma di Sisto V, in M. Fagiolo (ed.), Sisto V. 1. Roma e il Lazio, Rome, 1992, p. 235-242, here p. 241f., also alerts the Pope to financial interests as well as to the archives’ support for justice.

18 BAV Vat. Lat. 7023, fol. 306v, 307rv.

19 Two of the very few local studies of papal notarial archives come from Giorgio Tamba, see his : Un archivio d’origini ‘signorili’. L’archivio notarile di Castel del Rio degli Alidosi alla Restaurazione, in G. Fazziani (ed.), Archivio notarile di Castel del Rio (1548-1861). Inventario, Bologna, 1985, p. 1-28, and his : Da «Archivio Publico» ad archivio notarile. Vicende dei notai di Fontanelice tra Sisto V e Pio VII, in S. Poli (ed.), Archivio notarile di Fontanelice. Inventario, Bologna, 1985 (Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Province di Romagna : Documenti e studi, 16), p. 5-27.

20 The Prefect is mentioned in Sollicitudo, EAE, p. 22f. The office of Regent was created with Sollicitudo ministerii, October 31, 1588, EAE, p. 25-31. For a detailed description of the complicated history of these two offices between 1588 and 1592, on the basis of ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, see Grisar, Notariat. Flavio Orsini, the regens, used his new title already on September 9, 1588, see BAV Vat. Lat. 12426, fol. 218v.

21 «supremus iudex» (1591) : ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 126r.

22 Orsini was in fact a Referendar of the Signatura, see ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, passim.

23 There were other ‘Prefects’ in the Camera Apostolica, including those dell’annona, della grascia, delle strade or delle reme, all of which combined executive and jurisdictional functions, see: Londei, Magistrature, p. 41, 43. On the Camera in general see : V. V. Spagnuolo, Tribunali, appalti, commercio. Un esempio di frammentazione del potere giudiziario a Roma nella seconda metà del sec. xvii, in Archivi per la Storia, 4, 1991, p. 347-364 and M. G. Pastura Ruggiero, La reverenda Camera Apostolica e i suoi archivi (secoli xv-xviii), Rome, 1987, who discusses the prefettura degli archivi on pages 134-138. I gratefully acknowledge the help of Dr. Patrizio Foresta (Bologna) who provided me with a copy of this publication.

24 Sollicitudo ministerii, see EAE, p. 28f.

25 Bandi were promulgated in 1588, 1589, 1628, 1630, 1639, 1668, 1701, 1721, and 1748, see ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, passim, and EAE, p. 70-100 (1721), 116-149 (1748). Later versions were usually more detailed extensions of previous ones, so the series of bandi can be seen as a continuous and coherent work in progress of archival legislation. While the basic structure of archival legislation was determined in the earliest versions, later bandi added significant new details.

26 The bandi were of course concerned not only with notarial record-keeping, but legislated on many other aspects of the notaries’ duties as well. One of the most prominent issues was, for instance, the creation of notaries. The Prefettura was in many ways involved in this process, although the Prefect was not exclusively in charge. In 1705, for instance, Prefect Alessandro Falconieri received the right to review the creation of each and every notary in the Papal States, see ASV Misc. Arm. IV-V 45, fol. 13r. Concerning the creation of notaries see also some fragments of letters in ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 1, fol. 219r-220r.

27 See for example, the letter by Giovanni Passati, Forlì, to the Pope, April 14, 1761, ASR PdA 12, no pagination. On the connection of preservation and validation of notarial records see also: Tamba, Corporazione, p. 184.

28 On this particular aspect, which caused great resentment among notaries, see: Tamba, Castel del Rio, p. 6-10.

29 «e durante l’anno non possano ritenerli in cartuccie, o fogli spezzati, o conservare semplici note, o imbreviature, ma debbano stenderli, e scriverli continuamente in quinternetti da legarsi poi a suo tempo,» as the Bando of 1748 specified

(p. 7).

30 Upon further petitioning, the Prefetto could (and did) reduce or wave these fines and fees.

31 ASR CPD 6, fol. 705r-710v. The text can be dated since 1. the author says (710r) that almost 10 years have passed since 1672; 2. De Luca was still alive (he died in 1683); 3. Ferdinando Raggi became Prefetto degli Archivi in 1681 (see ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr 2, fol. 249rv).

32 ASV Misc. Arm. XI 92, fol. 29v f. On Bonini see F. Marré Brunenghi, Un autore dimenticato : Filippo Maria Bonini, in F. Amalberti (ed.), Studi e documenti di storia Ligure in onore di Don Luigi Alfonso per il suo 85. gentiliaco, Genova, 1996, p. 307-324.

33 For example, he was quoted in ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr 2, fol. 8r-9r. In 1681, he commented on the Prefettura degl’Archivi, see ASR CPD 6, fol. 707rv. On De Luca and notaries see Nussdorfer, Brokers, p. 201f.

34 Giambattista de Luca: Theatrum veritatis, et iustitiae sive decisivi discursus ad veritatem editi in forensibus controversijs, canonicis, & civilibus, Liber decimusquartus, Rome 1682, pars V : Adnotationes ad Sanctum Concilium Tridentinum (separate pagination), p. 74 : «frequentius autem dioeceses cursitare solent Camerales officiales, vulgo commissarij nuncupati, stantibus Apostolicis Constitutionibus applicantibus Camerae Apostolicae ea, quae per clericos ex illicita negotiatione facta sint, quod iuris communis dispositioni innixum est, ut scilicet fiscus tanquam ab indigno auferat omnia, quae turpiter, ac illicet quaesita sint; Verum commendabilius videretur, ut huiusmodi commissariorum usus prohiberetur, quoniam forte absque ulla, vel nimium exigua Camerae utilitate, magna inconvenientia audiuntur, magnaeque fieri solent extorsiones, adeout si ne praeiudicio proborum, qui rari sunt, videatur species irruentiae latronum, seu bannitorum.» See also ibid., pars IV: Miscellaneum Ecclesiasticum (separate pagination), p. 15.

35 ASR CPD 6, fol. 706r. The visitations in Frascati during the 1690s, for instance, were indeed undertaken by the local governatori, see ASR Archivio notarile di Frascati 825, fol. 1r-7r for the years 1690, 1692, and 1694.

36 ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr 2, fol. 8r. ASR CPD 6, fol. 706vf.

37 See Prefetto to the visitor of Sabina, then in Calvi, July 1, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagination: «irregolarità.»

38 There was at least one more comprehensive visitation of Rome’s notarial archives. It occurred in 1726 and was headed by Cardinal Vincenzo Petra. Following his visitation of all Roman notaries, he issued at least two Decreta (July 23, June 26), ASR Bandi 63. Petra explicitly refers back to Marescotti and points out that the laws of 1704 had, at best, been partially implemented. I have been neither able to find additional evidence nor the «relatione» he forwarded to the Pope, see BNR Mss Ges 171, fol. 8vf. ASR CPD 43, fol. 91r-320v contains two copies of Marescotti’s 1704 decrees and numerous inventories of Roman notarial archives of the 1730s and 40s, yet no reference to Petra is to be found.

39 On this visitation see: Nussdorfer, Brokers, p. 203-225, mostly on the basis of ASR Camerale II Notariato 3. More material is available in ASR CPD 38, nr 9 (no pages). Nussdorfer (p. 204f.) greatly overstates the novelty of Marescotti’s visitation since she does not take into account the precedent of the Prefettura.

40 «senza la debita custodia,» January, 23, 1704, in ASR CPD 38, nr. 9, no pagination.

41 See ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 230r-232v.

42 I used the manuscript in ASR Bandi 60. Another copy is in ASR PdA 1, fascicle «1723».

43 This move had been prepared by earlier decrees, see ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 1, fol. 231r-232r (two decrees by Clement XI from June 10, and May 5, 1711).

44 The Pope also decreed harsh penalties for fraud and similar offenses in a Bando Generale on February 13, 1723. Jurisdiction was in fact complicated as on this occasion all relevant trials were put under the authority of the Sacra Consulta, see the Bandi Generali da osservarsi di Commissione di N. Sign. Innocenzo Papa XIII. acciocché lo Stato Ecclesiastico si conservi, & accresca nella quiete, e pace, [...] e si rimuova tutto quello, che può disturbarlo, siano ovviati li scandali & inconvenienti [...], Rome 1723, fol. A2r (§ 12). I used the copy in ASR Bandi vol. 60.

45 This material forms the special fondo ASR PdA CC. There is only one trial from before 1717 (busta 1, nr 1). The Prefetto also plays a major role in this process, yet he does not seem to have been the judge.

46 Bando generale e nuovi ordini sopra gl’Archivj dello Stato Ecclesiastico, Rome, 1748, p. 1f. I used the copies in ASR Bandi 85. A convenient edition is also available in EAE, p. 116-149.

47 BNR Mss Ges 171. A copy is in ASR Congregazione economica 66, fol. 264r-280r. The text is almost unknown, only Grisar, Notariat, p. 300 mentions it in a footnote.

48 This is particularly true for the semiannual reports to be written by the archivists, which Canale found useless in their current form. He suggested providing a detailed list of topics that needed to be covered. The Cardinals approved of this idea and the relevant paragraph of the Bando of 1748 implemented it, see Bando generale e nuovi ordini sopra gl’Archivj dello Stato Ecclesiastico, Rome, 1748, p. 16.

49 See ASR Congregazione economica 66, fol. 256r-262r a brief list of 16 «abusi» and «provedimenti» by Canale, prepared as extract of his treatise for the Cardinals.

50 See the Cardinals’ votes in ASR Congregazione economica 66, fol. 263r. The Cardinals for instance disapproved of his attempt to introduce Italian as legal language for making contracts (nr. 15) and did not follow Canale’s idea to make university training a precondition for notaries (nr. 14).

51 See the list of Prefetti compiled by E. Lodolini, Gli archive notarili delle Marche, Rome, 1969 (Fonti e studi del Corpus membranarum italicarum, 3), p. 171-174 on the basis of ASR Camerale II Notariato 1, nr 1, fol. 228v and ibid., nr 2, fol. 249r-251r.

52 See the biographical sketch by L. Sandri, Il cardinale Camillo Cybo e il suo Archivio (1681-1743), in Archivi, Archivi d’Italia e Rassegna Internazionale degli Archivi s. II, 6,1939, p. 63-82, esp. p. 63-74.

53 See BNR Mss Ges 93.

54 See the collection of laudatory documents compiled by Cybo himself in ASR Famiglia Cybo 61, nr. 1. The following biographical details are also taken from this material.

55 This is the correct date (not 1705, as Sandri suggested), see BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 65rv.

56 See his work on this office in ASV Misc. Arm. XI 211.

57 This office is described by Cybo in a brief treatise, see BAV Vat. Lat. 13492.

58 A very good description of Cybo’s character is provided by A. Borromeo, s.v. Cibo, Camillo, in Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, 25, Rome, 1981, p. 232-237.

59 In addition to the works quoted so far, see also his contributions to the Papal campaign for reducing the number of homicides in the Papal States, e.g. ASV Misc. Arm. X 253-254 and ASV Misc. Arm. XI 213. Also from Cybo, in ASV Misc. Arm. X 202, is material against Cardinal Alberoni.

60 BNR Mss Ges 99, fol. 253r-256v. See also his (unsuccessful) project for the construction of a new ‘archival floor’ in the Cortile di Tor’ di venti, ibid., fol. 326v-327r.

61 ASV Indice 214-216. There is a dedication letter by Gioia to Cybo in vol. 214, where his care for the archives is paralleled to Justinian’s interest into archives in the Roman Empire and, certainly particularly gratifying for Cybo, to Sixtus’ V reorganization of the papal notarial archives.

62 BNR Mss Ges 94, fol. 51v. There is a broad discussion here how Cybo helped improve the bureaucratic routines of the Nuns of S. Filippo.

63 BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 65v-70v.

64 Ibid., fol. 66r.

65 According to the detailed description of this «libro» in BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 66r this must be the volume ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2.

66 This questionnaire is reproduced in BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 67v-68v.

67 This is mentioned in BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 69r and in ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 41r.

68 The collection of documents is still extant in ASV Fondo Cybo 4, fol. 1r-281v. Unfortunately, there are no indications who the recipients were and who was responsible for providing the data. Answering the questions occasionally required significant local effort, see especially a letter from Vienna, June 29, 1709, ibid., fol. 3r-4r.

69 Other recipients were Urbino, Florence, Modena, Naples, Milan, Parma, Piacenza, Savoy, Mantua, and Siena.

70 ASV Fondo Cybo 4, fol. 252r-281v.

71 BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 69v : «praticare ancora una piu esatta attenzione nel riportare un raguaglio della maniera con cuisi regolavano tutti gli Archivj de Principati d’Europa, perche la norma delle speciali diligenze praticate in diverse forme secondo le leggi particolari di tutti i Principati potessero darmi una piu distinta cognizione tanto de disordini, che pur troppo erano negl’Archivj dello Stato Ecclesiastico, quanto nel suggeririmi la maniera, e di rimediarli, e di poter insinuare al Papa il vero metodo di regolare in appresso gl’Archivj del suo Stato».

72 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3.

73 Ibid., fol. 31v. See also ibid. nr. 2, fol. 2v-3r. Cybo had also asked the papal governatori if there were «superfluous» archives in their districts, see : BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 67v. There were, in fact, several places in the Papal States which had a notarial archive but no notaries, for example, the villages of Selci and S. Polo in the region of Sabina, see ASR PdA 40 («Sabina 1760»), fol. 12r, 12v.

74 ASR Camerale II notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 41rv.

75 All the four secretaries of the Apostolic Chamber had been responsible, which prevented specialization and professionalization, see: ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 42r. This remained the case throughout the 18th century, see : Pastura Ruggiero, Camera, p. 13, 137. On the Camera’s secretaries see also Spagnuolo, Tribunali, p. 353f.

76 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 44r.

77 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 3, fol. 32r. Cybo was also interested in how the Dukes of Tuscany organized control over their centralized notarial archive. Six additional questions on this point were sent to Florence. See : ASV Fondo Cybo 4, fol. 38r-39r.

78 For a list of all archives see : San Martini Barrovecchio, Gli archivi notarili, p. 302-307.

79 ASR PdA 1, fascicle «1723».

80 ASR PdA 9, passim. A «segretaria» is, for example, mentioned in the letter to the governatore of Giovia, January 19, 1780.

81 A brief review of some theoretical texts on archives can be found in, for example, P. Delsalle, Une histoire de l’archivistique, Sainte-Foy, 1998 (Collection Gestion de l’information).

82 A (potential) example can be found in a letter from Carlo Maria Fantini, Civitella in Romagna, to the Prefettura, no date, ASR PdA 11, no pagination. He claims that the visitor charged him for two sanatoria although in the end only one was needed. The visitor had to be forced to return the money.

83 In Monte S. Pietro Angeli, in 1757, the notary Pietro Stefano Melozzini «diffidando del medesimo Podestà [sc. the visitor], col quale stà in manifesta rottura [...] non volle fargli vedere alcuno,» ASR PdA 11, no pagination.

84 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 1, passim.

85 See e.g. ASR Archivio notarile di Genazzano 450, passim, and ASR Archivio notarile di Frascati 825, passim.

86 See a copy (1772) of his letter to the Papal Legate of Romagna, December 12, 1762, in ASR Buon Governo I 33, no pagination.

87 See several letters by the Prefetto Finocchietti, for example, January 26, 1780, to Dr. Bruni in Imola, or February 19, 1780, to Dr. Savelli in Otricoli, in ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

88 ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 4r. See the few examples available in ASR PdA 11, no pagination, for example, from Antonio Consorti, archivist in Collevecchio, July 23, 1757, from Giustiniano Manzoni, archivist in Altidona, July 22, 1757, or from Girolamo Brigarezi, archivist in Forlimpopoli, July 14, 1757. See also a letter from Giuseppe Antonio Remoli, archivist in Roccacontrada, of July 28, 1747, ASR PdA 1, no pagination. Compliance generally seems to have been incomplete and in 1748 Canale issued more detailed prescriptions.

89 One such case is reported for 1769 in ASR Archivio notarile di Genazzano 450, fol. 89r-90r. As a result, the archivist was deprived of his office for good.

90 On this body see for example : J. Lesellier, Notaires et archives de la Curie Romaine (1507-1625). Les notaires français à Rome, in Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire, 50, 1933, p. 250-275, here p. 251-257.

91 In BNR Mss Ges 95, fol. 70r, Cybo mentions a treatise entitled Ragioni dell’Autorità, che compete al Prefetto degl’Archivj sopra tutti i Notari ancorche patentati del S. Offizio in ordine all’esercizio del notariato. I have found no traces of this text.

92 On this important body see : S. Tabacchi, Il buon governo. Le finanze locali nello Stato della Chiesa (secoli xvixviii), Rome, 2007 (I libri di Viella, 65), in which several references to the institutional overlap are made, for example, p. 139f., 152f. On the Buon Governo’s involvement with local archives see : E. Lodolini, Introduzione, in Id., L’Archivio della S. Congregazione del Buon Governo (1592-1847). Inventario, Rome, 1956 (Ministero dell’Interno. Pubblicazioni degli Archivi di Stato, XX), p. i-clxxvi, here p. xliii, xlv.

93 See for example the letter of Angelo Torcolese, Giudice in Valentano, to the Prefettura, September 3, 1747, in ASR PdA 1, no pagination. The early modern archive of the Consulta has been destroyed during the Napoleonic time, thus it is impossible to be more specific regarding this point.

94 Rare (and not of an official nature) is the comment by the Cardinal Legate of the Romagna to the Buon Governo, August 6, 1757, where he said that a new law of the Prefetto was «troppo dura,» ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination. Occasionally, the Prefetto made his commanding position very explicit, see for example : ASR Buon Governo I 42, fol. 761v the statement about his own institution to the Secretary of Buon Governo (October 11, 1769) : «i Decreti e le multe in materia d’archivj da un tribunale, che in tali affari non può ne sa prender legge da altri, essendone per supreme constituzioni stabilito unico, ed indipendente Giudice.»

95 This became a standard feature of all bandi, see for example ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 16v.

96 For example, ASR PdA CC 2 nr 1.

97 For a very good case-study of how papal government functioned on the local level see : C. F. Black, Perugia and papal absolutism in the sixteenth century, in English Historical Review, 96, 1981, p. 509-539.

98 In Appignano, for instance, the archivist Morelli refused to relinquish the office after he moved on to another village for additional employment. He claimed «non esser tenuta» to give back his office. Because of this, the community claimed in a letter of March 22, 1760, there was no access to the archive, ASR PdA 12, no pagination.

99 Archivists were regularly encouraged or ordered to inquire proactively with notaries about individual documents, for example, on February 12, 1780, Prefetto to archivista of Monte Fortino di Montalto, ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

100 On February 12, 1780, for instance the Prefetto allowed the archivista of Montenovo to determine the penalty to be paid by a certain notary. See ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

101 The Prefettura also cooperated and corresponded regularly with bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities, many examples in ASR PdA 9, passim (e.g. on July 10, 1782, to Cardinal Honorati, bishop of Sinigaglia).

102 Many examples, for example, January 26, 1780, Prefetto to Governatore of Frascati, ASR PdA 9, no pagination. Habitually, the Prefetti insisted on their necessary approbation of an elected archivist, see for example, January 29, 1780, to the governatore of Spoleto, ibid.

103 For example, on January 5, 1780, Prefetto to Governatore of Sogliano, or on January, 8, to the Governatore of Nazzano, ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

104 See the letters by the Prefetto to the governatori of Monticelli di Tivoli, Monte Porcio, Santo Polo di Tivoli, Monte Rotondo, and others, all dated March 16, 1783, and a letter of May 15, 1780, to the Vicario of Palombara, ASR PdA 9, no pagination. The quote is «grave danno dei poveri Contraenti del sudetto luogo.»

105 If this paper focuses on conflicts, shortcomings, and make-shift arrangements, this is not meant to imply that no proper record-keeping existed at all. In fact, as has been noted by several authors, local notarial archives often consisted of astonishing numbers of well-kept volumes. Surveys are available for instance for the regions of Lazio and Marche, and they list dozens of archives with often hundreds of volumes, see Tamba, Castel del Rio, p. 4. Lodolini, Archivi notarili delle Marche. San Martini Barrovecchio, Gli Archivi notarili. See also the description of the notarial archive of Velletri by Vincenzo Ciccotti at http ://vincenzociccotti.blogspot.com/2010/08/ e-nota-limportanza-che-nei-secoli.html (accessed March 28, 2011). Also the visitors very often had nothing but praise for the local arrangements. Still, reading the visitors’ reports, one is struck by the often very formulaic praise that the local archives and archivists received, e.g. ASR PdA 39, passim. Regularly, visitors write nothing else but «everything is well ordered according to the Bando generale

106 For example, in Cana 1762, see ASR PdA 40 (Latium 1762), fol. 16v. For mice in the archive see the letter of the Prefetto to the governatore of Giuliano in Campagna, July 13, 1782, ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

107 For example, Francesco Cicarelli, archivist in Recanati, to the Prefetto, April 12, 1760, ASR PdA 12, no pagination.

108 This happened for instance in Frascati in 1758 and 1760, see ASR Archivio notarile di Frascati 825, no pagination.

109 For these cases see the letters (1757) from Castelnuovo di Porto (May, 27), Belvedere di Jesi (May 23), Valentani (May, 31), Capo di Monte (June, 20), and Monte Giberto/ Fermo (August, 22), in ASR PdA 11, no pagination.

110 An example is Canale’s suggestion to borrow from the Roman Archivio Capitolino the idea of an iron lattice door to improve «ventilation» of the documents, see BNR Mss Ges 171, fol. 9r.

111 See the documents from 1760 in ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination. The quotes read : «ha quindi risoluto con spesa molto minore di ampliare anzi il vecchio Archivio mediante l’apertura di una stanza al medesimo contigua. Quest’ampliazione produrrà lo stesso beneficio pensato per prima dagli Anziani di quella Città; come meglio l’EV aura la benignità di rimanere informata dall’occulare ispezione del partito consiglare.» «ampliazione e modernazione dell’Archivio.»

112 See the opening passages in the printed «Faventina Appaltus Officii Notariatus» of 1765 in ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination: «E stile nella Città di Faenza quanto antico, altrettanto analogo, & uniforme alle massime providissime di questa Sagra Congregazione = Che in quegli Offici, che richiedono riflesso più all’idoneità, che all’Offerta, e sono il publico ARCHIVIO, IL BANCO DEL GOVERNATORE, E IL BANCO DEL POTESTA, nelle publiche subaste, che si fanno per avere L’ARCHIVISTA, e respettivamente ATTUARII DI DETTI DUE BANCHI si debba publicare, conforme è stato pubblicato, e si pubblica la espressa condizione, CHE CHIUNQUE VORRÀ OFFERIRE A’ SUDETTI TRE OFFIZZII A TITOLO D’APPALTO DEBBI SOGGIACERE ALLA BALLOTTAZIONE NEL PUBBLICO GENERAL CONSIGLIO PER ESSERE PREELETTO DAL CONCORSO

113 See the (highly fragmentary) evidence for 1757 in ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination. The city paid around 14.400 scudi to the Chamber, of which (ideally) 294 were to come from the lease of the archive. Between 1749 and 1755, however, the city’s annual average income from the lease was only 87 scudi.

114 See a letter by the giudice Giuseppe Antonio Combiasi to the Buon Governo, from 1751 (date unclear), ASR Buon Governo II 1757, no pagination. A copy of a City Council protocoll from 1741 notes that the offer was so paltry that the authorities debated «ò di affittarlo per detta somma, ò [...] farlo fare nomine Communitatis,» ibid.

115 See for example, Prefettura to the governatore of Trevi di Subiaco, February 16, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

116 See for example, the Bando Generale of 1630 in ASR Camerale II, notariato 1, nr. 2, fol. 155rv : «qualità, idoneità, e fedeltà delle persone.» Archivists should, on the basis of their offers, be selected by a majority of votes in the City Council.

117 See the letter of Francesco Cicarelli, archivist in Recanati, to the Prefetto, April 12, 1760, ASR PdA 12, no pagination : «vi sono moltissimi Protocolli antichi, che con difficoltà si leggono.» See also a similar statement by the archivist of Cingoli, June 22, 1760, ibid. See also the letter from Imola to Buon Governo, September 3, 1760, in ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination. This could, of course, have simply been an excuse to cover up poor work performance – sources from many different contexts in- and outside of Italy, however, indicate that medieval and early modern handwriting did pose serious challenges for readers of the 18th century.

118 See also Prefetto to the archivist of Baschi, January 15, 1780, ASR PdA 1, no pagination, in which the archivist is clearly considered as a ‘legal expert’ compared to the notaries in the small outlying villages.

119 See the local authorities’ letter to the Prefettura, August 13, 1760, ASR PdA 12, no pagination. Again, this could potentially have been an excuse to cover up a lack of local initiative.

120 See the bitter complaints about the archivist Giuseppe Celli by Nicola Antonini in his letter to the Prefetto, July 28, 1757, ASR PdA 11, no pagination.

121 ASR PdA 40, «Latium», fol. 70rv : «post multas horas.»

122 In some cases, archival and living spaces merged also, because communities provided no rooms for the archive so that the documents had to be housed with the archivist in his home, see Tamba, Castel del Rio, p. 15f.

123 See the colorful letter of complaint about Anzidei from September 19, 1747, in ASR PdA 1, no pagination.

124 The archivist Pietr’Antonio Stecchiotti, on September 26, 1747, was accused of this, yet he managed to clear his name and indicated that maybe under his predecessor such abuse had occurred, ASR PdA 1, no pagination. The source reads : «ivi si eserciti Botteghino da ginoro, ove si prende per il lotto.»

125 See : Prefetto to the Vicegerente of Todi, January 12, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagination.

126 See : Tommaso Scipione to the Prefetto, May 24, 1747, ASR PdA 1, no pagination. This was all the more practical since the archivist was also the court’s chancellor.

127 C. Métayer, Au tombeau des secrets. Les écrivains publics du Paris populaire. Cimetière des Saints-Innocents, xvie-xviiie siècle, Paris, 2000. M. Infelise, Prima dei Giornali. Alle origini della pubblica informazione (secoli xvi e xvii), Rome, 2002.

128 Stefanucci tells his story in a letter of June 3, 1760, in ASR PdA 12, no pagination.

129 This was mandated by the Prefettura. Initially, Imola had resisted, see a letter from the local authorities to their agent in Rome, Giuseppe Bufferli, August 25, 1767, ASR Buon Governo I 33, fol. 438r-439v, where they call the new inventory «molto pregiudiciale» and «superfluo ed improprio.»

130 Bernardino Honorati, Ravenna, to the Buon Governo, June 16, 1756, ASR Buon Governo II 2036, no pagination : Pietro Berti needed 40 days and charged nineteen scudi; Andrea Polinelli suggested a work period of three month and wanted to be paid 3 baciocchi per document; Ignazio Faella would take two months and 13 :4 scudi; Paolo Targhi, the last bidder, proposed a rate of 3 baciocchi and 3 quatrini per document for two months.

131 See the letter of Ricci, Imola, to the Buon Governo, August 27, 1756, ASR Buon Governo II 2036, no pagination.

132 See the transcript of several City Councils, from December 12, 1759, to January 13, 1762, in ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination. In ASR PdA 12, no pagination, there is a letter from Imola (May 20, 1760) in which the magistrate asks for more time in preparing the inventory. Imola demanded two years, the Prefetto granted four months.

133 Several letters in ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination, deal with financial aspects. For example, Imola to the Prefettura degli Archivi, April 26, 1760 or Cardinal Legate Stoppani, Ravenna, to the same, March 9, 1761.

134 See his dramatizing statement, September 3, 1760, ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination.

135 Memoriale of December 12, 1761, and two letters by the Cardinal Legate to Buon Governo, January 20 and June 12, 1760, in ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination.

136 «forse anche l’hà fatto per astio,» Matteo Lanzoni, December 5, 1760, to the Prefetto, ASR PdA 12, no pagination.

137 Most of the criminal activities recorded in ASR PdA CC concern the notaries and their production of legal documents without the archives playing any role at all. In the relatively few cases discussed above, however, the details of record-keeping and of archival practice were crucial elements in the crimes under investigation. For an episode of archival theft see the case of Fausto Scipione and Marco Aurelio Miti, 1751, in ASR PdA CC 1 nr. 5.

138 This case is the first to be preserved in the Prefettura’s series of cause criminale, see ASR PdA CC 1 nr. 1. Coppari was judged not guilty, yet he never denied his close and unusual contact with the records.

139 The homicide of a late archivist is mentioned, albeit without further information, by Agostino Pennacchi from erentillo to the Prefetto, January 3, 1760, ASR PdA 12, no pagination.

140 «oculare inspettione,» see ASR PdA CC 1 nr. 1, no pagination (part of the long manuscript). Similarly detailed ‘physical’ or ‘material’ examinations occurred frequently, particularly exhaustive e.g. 1772 in a case in Rocchetta di Camerino, see ASR PdA CC 3 nr. 4, no pagination.

141 ASR PdA CC 1 nr. 8. See the lively description of events ibid., fol. 6v.

142 ASR PdA CC 1 nr 8, fol. 76r, where each and every testimony against Albrici is acknowledged, yet explained away in the following fashion : If the archivist does not know the document, maybe it is because he is not dutiful?

143 See also C. Castiglione, Political Culture in Seventeenth-Century Italian Villages, in Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 31, 2001, p. 523-552, esp. p. 535, 538. The author is puzzled by a reference to a «Commissario dell’Archivio» in 1651 and assumes this official to be mandating on the civic archive of Nerola. The reference, of course, is to a visitor sent by the Prefettura.

144 See a number of documents as part of a dossier of September 3, 1747, in ASR PdA 1, no pagination. Supporters of the centralizing scheme suspected that local notaries favored a more regional approach only to hide their shortcomings and increase the potential for financial gain.

145 See the documents in ASR PdA 1, no pagination (dossier «1745»).

146 The authorities of Faenza, in a letter to Buon Governo, March 25, 1772, insistend that «talche l’elezione de’ medesimi [sc. the office holders] resta ad arbitrio de Magistrati» and «L’archivio è di ragione della Comunità», ASR Buon Governo II 1484, no pagination (at the very end).

147 «sono però sempre vissuti et vivono separatamente fuori di Forlì con li proprii statute confermati dalla S. Sede [...] fanno da sé li suoi consegli indipendentemente dalla città; hanno il proprio archivio; tengono le sue tabelle [...],» quoted in Tabacchi, Buon Governo, p. 31.

148 See for example : Prefetto to the governatore of Collelongo, January 26, 1780, ASR PdA 9, no pagination. This became part of the Bandi Generali, see e.g. ASR Camerale II, notariato 3, nr. 2, fol. 133v-134v (1625).

149 See for example : Tamba, Corporazione, p. 173f. for a clear distinction between the two types of writings.

150 There was a famous decree by the Congregazione del Concilio from 1625, in which contracts between ecclesiastical partners were excluded from ‘archivization,’ mentioned for example in a letter from Francesco Maria Berti and Luca de Angelis, Sezze, to the Prefetto, December 12, 1760, in ASR PdA 12, no pagination. In 1722, the Buon Governo had decreed that contracts stipulated by the communal secretary or chancellor should be stored in the communal archive, quoted partially in ASR Buon Governo I 33, fol. 425r-426v.

151 This is documented in ASR Buon Governo I 33, passim, for several communities. In ASR Buon Governo II 2037, no pagination, there are several bills of Giuseppe Bufferli, agent of the city of Imola in Rome, where he details his expenses in lobbying Imola’s affairs. At least once, he charged scudi 1 :10 «Pro Memoriali porretto R.P.D. Praefecto Archiviorum.»

152 Tamba, Corporazione, p. 186f. Id., Castel del Rio, p. 7. Biscione, Archivio, p. 856 writes that this was a «tentative ben riuscito di uno stato moderno di centralizzare, o meglio sarebbe dire di appropriarsi, di una prerogativa importante qual’era la conservazione delle scritture notarili.»

153 In Roccasecca a conflict erupted in 1747 between the governatore and the community about who should have control of the keys to the archive during the interim after the death of the late archivist, see the documents in the sections «senza date» and «June/July» of ASR PdA 1, no pagination.

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Note de fin

1 Research for this paper was funded by a Gerald D. Feldman-Fellowship provided by the Stiftung DGIA. This support is gratefully acknowledged. Felicity Jensz, Münster, improved my language. I use the following abbreviations: ASR Archivio di Stato di Roma; PdA Prefettura degl’Archivi; PdA CC Prefettura degl’Archivi, Cause criminali; CPD Congregationes particulares deputatae; BAV Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana; ASV Archivio Segreto Vaticano; BNR Biblioteca Nazionale (Rome); EAE S. Duca, S. a. S. Familia (ed.), Enchiridion archivorum ecclesiasticorum. Documenta potiora sanctae sedis de archivis ecclesiasticis a concilio Tridentino usque ad nostros dies, Vatican City, 1966 (Pubblicazioni della Pontifica Commissione per gli Archivi Ecclesiastici d’Italia, 2).

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Référence papier

Markus Friedrich, « Notarial Archives in the Papal States. Central control and local histories of record-keeping in Early Modern Italy », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines, 123-2 | 2011, 443-464.

Référence électronique

Markus Friedrich, « Notarial Archives in the Papal States. Central control and local histories of record-keeping in Early Modern Italy », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines [En ligne], 123-2 | 2011, mis en ligne le 20 mai 2014, consulté le 21 octobre 2017. URL : http://mefrim.revues.org/625 ; DOI : 10.4000/mefrim.625

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Markus Friedrich

Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, markus_friedrich@hotmail.com

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