The Forgers in the Medieval City: Social Connections and Everyday Needs
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The Forgers in the Medieval City: Social Connections and Everyday Needs
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The article is devoted to the analysis of some particulars of the position of the forgers in the city community in France of the late Middle Ages. Basing on the corpus of the pardon letters issued by the royal chancellery (Archives Nationales de France. Série J. J. — Registres du Trésor des chartes), the author contemplates such questions as different social and professional standing of the forgers; their matrimonial status; their different “specialization” (including not only minting and distribution of the forged coins but also its import to the territory of France, sponsoring of such operations, resale of these coins and even alchimic methods of their production); their connections with the famous European workshops known for the production of such forgeries. The article also deals with the question of how close, as it turns out, was the activity of the bands of such forgers connected with the everyday life of a medieval city and with many different strata of the city population: with the local seigneurs, with the royal tax collectors and fiscals, with big and small traders, tavernkeepers and innkeepers, with servants, hired workers, artisans and apprentices. In the centre of the research of the author are the medieval jewelers (gold- and silversmiths), money-changers, workers of mints and traders — the main organisers of these criminal activities, and also the methods they used to create their own “groupings” that comprised of the members of their families, apprentices and friends. Taking as examples a number of especially colourful cases of the second half of the 15th century the author shows how difficult it was for the royal judicial authorities to follow and investigate such type of criminal cases to find out all the contacts of this or that forger, to prove his guilt and to punish him exemplarily. Social connections, created by such people, penetrated literally all the city community. That is why it is of no wonder the cruel and stern formula of the ordinance published in 1475, in the name of Louis XI, that categorically forbade to grant pardon to any person, connected with the turnover of the illegal coinage.
Middle Ages, France, medieval city, social connections, everyday life, forgers, pardon letters
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Additional sources and materials

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