Witnesses, Neighbors, and Community in Late Medieval Marseille

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-07
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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In late medieval Marseille, large segments of common society showed up in court - fishmongers, sailors, widows, maids, petty lenders, Jews, and Christians. There the neighbors of Marseille argued, cursed, charged, and counter-charged and in so doing they pushed aside Roman and municipal laws to construct their own vernacular code of ethics and morality. Witness, Neighbors, and Community in Late Medieval Marseilleasks how, in a time of crisis, medieval citizens developed an independent sense of ethics and considers the relative role of women and men in that process. The witness testimony from Marseille's court records that forms the documentary heart of this book offers a small window into the neighborhoods of Marseille, but even more, the testimonies reveal how humble people, often women, used the role of witness to become the arbiters of their communities. As it relates formal law and legal procedures to the informal expectations and interactions that allowed medieval neighborhoods to function, the book demonstrates that medieval people developed independent codes of behavior based on the needs of their family, their neighborhood, and their customers.

Author Biography

Susan McDonough is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA.

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