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The aim of this paper is to approach medieval citizenship from a cultural perspective, which has been somehow neglected by historiography. More specifically, the article will focus on the daily life of the citizen, recreating the acts and behaviors the citizen was supposed to perform regularly in order to show his belonging and commitment to the city where he was living. In so doing, I will focus on 15th century Barcelona, for which a long series of citizenship reports have been conserved. The Informes de la Ciutadania were ordered by the authorities of the city but give us a fascinating inside into the opinions of contemporary Barcelonians and, more particularly, on their perception of citizenship. This is a set of long and complete sources from which I intent to show that medieval citizenship should not only be approached as a legal statute but also as cultural phenomenon that needs to be taken into consideration in order to reach a better understanding of the structures of medieval urban society, its hierarchies and fluidity.


"Barcelona, that storehouse of courtesy, haven of wayfarers, fatherland of the brave, avenger of the wronged, home of loyal friendships freely bestowed, and, moreover, in point of beauty and situation, a city without peer". [1]



In the twilight of the Middle Ages, Barcelona, the leading city of the Crown of Aragon, emerged as one of the most dynamic ports of the Western Mediterranean. A city devoted to the sea, it hosted at the beginning of the 15th century more than 30.000 souls including merchants from very diverse origins and also peasants and artisans who were attracted by its well-developed industry. As a moneylender to the Crown, the Council of the Hundred, the ruling institution of the city, became one of the main and more powerful feudal institutions in the Principality of Catalonia. [2] Nonetheless, a long but intermittent period of decay had already begun in the second half of the 14th century. Social tensions and political confrontations were progressively aroused within a context of economic instability and abusive political monopoly led by the elite of the citizenry. While the strength of commerce and the expansion of the Crown of Aragon permitted control of the situation during the first decades of the 15th century, the dramatic loss of the city's economic influence from the 1430's onwards evolved into growing tensions and troubles that turned the city into one of the main stages for the Catalan Civil War (1462-1472). [3]


Starting from this frenetic and complex context, this paper is an attempt to provide some notes and preliminary reflections on the issue of medieval citizenship. There is a need, certainly, to focus on the more cultural dimensions of a phenomenon and an institution which literally shaped (and shapes) the rules of coexistence within a given community. As I will show, the case of Barcelona supplies unique sources to fulfill such a commitment for the medieval period. Thus, my intention here is to carry out a rather empirical exercise, mainly focused on work with sources; analyzing them in detail in order to reflect on the common features of late medieval European citizenship as well as on the problems and specificities of the chosen case. This will be a first approach to studying the actual citizenry, examining the main features and requirements of the citizen; his rights, duties and daily behavior. To this end, a brief and basic historiographical account of the topic will be first provided, leaving the issues raised by the case of Barcelona for the second half of the paper.

Medieval citizenship: a brief historiographical account


It cannot be said that medieval citizenship has not been addressed in historiography. On the contrary, from Dina Bizarri [4] to Pietro Costa, [5] without forgetting Julius Kirshner, [6] citizenship has been considered a crucial aspect to understanding the evolution of medieval urban history. In this view, citizenship has been presented as a concept that helps the historian to approach the new relationships that were established between individuals and their communities from the 12th century onwards. New dynamics emerged at that point, modifying the economic, political, intellectual and social features of Europe. The revival of commerce, which occurred first in Italian cities and later spread around the Mediterranean, transformed the city into a vibrant center of continuous exchange. All over Europe, cities began to attract an incessant and frenetic number of merchants, pilgrims, craftsmen and peasants, as well as professors and students in the case of those cities hosting a university. Although it might be too radical to affirm, as Riesenberg suggested, that 'citizenship became possible as an institution in the Middle Ages only when a certain level of economic activity had been reached,' it is clear that the broad diversity of individuals coinciding in these new urban spaces led to a new definition and awareness of citizenship. [7]


From the beginning of the 20th century, historiography has analyzed the conundrum of citizenship from a legal, economic and, only more recently, from a social and cultural perspective. In my view, the evolution of historiography in itself has led us to a good position from which to reflect more carefully on the complexities of medieval citizenship; namely, on its multidimensional character. To begin with, citizenship has been mainly analyzed as a legal status, determined by a set of rights and duties such as a stable residence and profession, political and military participation and, above all, tax obligations and specific exemptions. [8] These criteria, which were aimed at defining the figure of the citizen, were closely linked to the necessities and political vicissitudes of the city. Therefore, they were not constant; on the contrary, they were flexible and could change throughout time in a specific city and, likewise, be very different from one city to the next. [9] Ultimately, then, citizenship as an institution needs to be considered as an engagement of the inhabitant with his city, a sort of contract or oath to be taken for the sake of the common good. [10]


To a certain extent, it could be asserted that Western Europe witnessed at the end of the Middle Ages (more specifically, from the end of the 13th century onwards) a redefinition of citizenship which should be understood within a new conception of civic commitment and conscience that Riesenberg has defined as civic love. [11] More specifically, there was a recovery of the ideal of civilitas, praised and developed by authors such as Bartolo de Sassoferrato, [12] which coincided clearly with the rebirth of Roman law. The city became a space of virtues, to be praised and defended by the citizen who thus became a powerful social actor rather than a mere legal category. Furthermore, the need to protect and dignify the virtues embedded in the city turned citizenship into a tool that redefined and controlled legal capacities and social positions within the city. In its legal articulation, citizenship shaped the dignity of the city by establishing who could be considered part of the community and who could not. Defining the borders of the civic community, citizenship needs to be linked with integration and exclusion processes. [13] Lying at the core of medieval urban identities, citizenship undoubtedly conditioned the diverse categories of belonging.


The last consideration justifies the need to widen the phenomenon of citizenship to include a cultural element. In my view, work done in this area has mainly dealt with this cultural dimension from a rather theoretical point of view: appropriately linking citizenship to the thorny concept of belonging. [14] However, citizenship also needs, as I will show, to be related to more daily issues such as reputation, confidence and coexistence. [15] Herein lies the main aim of my research: to reproduce the lives and daily experiences of the inhabitants and citizens of Barcelona, describing their way of life and relationships, as well as the differences existing between them. In future research, this focus on people will be combined with a deeper analysis of the political and socio-economic context in relation with the progressive articulation of a citizenship law in order to provide a complete understanding on how citizenship was widely defined, perceived and experienced in 15th century Barcelona.

On sources


In this paper, I will give a few preliminary notes on these matters by focusing on a very specific source: the so-called Informes de la Ciutadania which are kept in the Historical Archives of the City of Barcelona. [16] This collection of documents covers the period 1375-1457 and is the result of the inquiries made by the municipal authorities to family members, neighbors, friends and other acquaintances of those individuals who had previously asked for the citizenship charter. After rigorous evaluation, the candidates were finally enrolled in a citizenship record and received the citizenship charter, which guaranteed them the free trade of goods in many other ports of the Crown of Aragon. [17]


I have here an outstanding source, the richness of which lies in its multi-faceted character. On the one hand, witnesses testifying in the Informes introduce the reader to the daily dynamics and relationships taking place at that time in the streets of Barcelona. On the other, these sources have their specific place within a set of documents issued by political institutions which progressively articulated the figure and role of the citizen of Barcelona from the 13th century onwards. I am referring, more specifically, to a few documents of both royal and municipal origin, from which it is possible to understand how the major legal features of the citizen progressively evolved. [18] Besides its value as a source for the study of daily life, the questions repeatedly raised in the Informes can also be considered as a good indicator when trying to retrace what the municipal authorities established as the legal features of the citizen. Thus, to consider these questions will allow me to analyze the duties of the citizen and, in order to assess the relative importance and impact of each of these aspects, specific cases and examples will be provided in the following.

Rights and duties: Acting as a citizen in 15th century Barcelona.


To begin with, the mentioned sources show that freedom was a fundamental aspect when it came to recognizing an individual as a citizen of Barcelona. As in many other European cities, the citizen was supposed to serve only and exclusively the city in which he lived, showing his [19] continuous commitment and involvement in the pursuit of the common good. Thus, there was no place for serfs (the so-called homs de remença in medieval Catalonia) or slaves within the civic community.


This issue is, however, much more complex. Following, again, the model of other cities, the royal privilege Recognoverunt Proceres (1284) granted by Peter the Great (1240-1285) to the city of Barcelona established that a stay of one year and one day in the city could make anyone eligible for citizenship. [20] Runaway serfs could not be returned to their lords after such a stay in the city. As the proverb runs: the air of the city makes free (Stadtluft macht frei). [21] Although a statute exclusively reserved for free men, the acquisition of citizenship became for many serfs a strategy to reach legal recognition of their newly gained freedom. The Informes give many actual examples of this sort, relating the trajectories of individuals who were using all their courage to rebuild their lives, far away from their native villages, with the single intention of seeking and gaining their freedom. Interestingly, there was, however, a clear tension between the existence of this phenomenon and the effort of the municipal authorities to control it, given the tensions the wave of serfs to the city created in the surrounding countryside.


In this context, serfs were officially accepted in the city but with a certain hint of suspicion or, more accurately, prudence. While Joan Sayto's application for citizenship seems to have been accepted, [22] the representatives of the municipal authorities were slightly more reluctant to grant this when facing Pere Feliu's case. [23] Joan Saytó's witnesses clearly stated that Saytó, a sailor coming from the village of Pineda de Mar, [24] redeemed himself from his lord before coming to Barcelona. As such, he was a free man and the case did not raise any further problems. Things seemed to have been more difficult for Pere Feliu, a skipper from the coastal village of Palafolls. No word on his potential condition as a serf is mentioned by the witnesses during the interrogations. After realizing he was a native from the dominion of Lord Bernat de Cabrera, the representatives of the municipality decided to organize a new interrogation, since the statute of the candidate needed to be clarified. At that point, witnesses were specifically asked whether the candidate was or was not a serf. In these circumstances, they were almost forced to confess that Pere was a hom de remença who had been living in Barcelona for almost two years. Apparently, they did not know – or did not want to say - if he had been requested by his lord. It is difficult to discuss the outcome of Pere Feliu's application since no citizenship registrations have been preserved from that period. His case, however, showed some important aspects regarding the nature of citizenship. The organization of another set of interrogations in order to clarify the potential status of Feliu makes clear to what extent the freedom of every citizen was a matter taken into consideration by the authorities of the city. In a clear attempt to control and protect the actual citizenry from the growing problems of the surrounding countryside, freedom was considered to be a fundamental element in the definition of the citizen and enhanced its character as a basic feature in the building of a civic community.


An intensive reading of the Informes shows us that another aspect on which the authorities insisted when inquiring about a candidate to citizenship was his family relationships in the city. The presence in the city of a family to take care of was a strong argument indeed when trying to show one's involvement with it. In this view, there was a clear insistence on determining whether the candidate had his own 'hearth' (domicili) in the city or not. As if they were perfectly aware of the importance of such matters, witnesses did not hesitate, on many occasions, to refer clearly to the existence of a wife and children, especially when the candidate was a foreigner.


As an example, it could be useful to recall cases such as those of Pere de Corbins, a shopkeeper from Rodez, [25] in the French county of Armagnac, and Joan Belmenya, a merchant from Montpellier. [26] Corbins asked for the citizenship chart in 1409, Belmenya requested it a few years later, in February 1414. After long stays in the city, both managed to strike up close friendships who insisted on finding wives for these two foreigners, knowing that marriage would undoubtedly strengthen, in the eyes of others, their involvement and commitment with the city. 'He should get married as soon as possible, since his friends are working on that as much as they can', [27] said Bernat Saplana, notary of the King, when asked about the habits of Pere de Corbins. With a similar intention, the merchant Luquès affirmed that his neighbor and colleague, Joan Belmenya, 'has the intention of staying here [in Barcelona]. Otherwise, I would not work on finding a wife for him and he would not accept her'. [28] The words of Llorenç Luquès show to what extent marriages – or the presence in the city of other close family members - were not so much a requisite and a duty of the citizen as a strategy to show the intention of having a fixed and stable residence in the city of Barcelona. It thus became a relevant issue for foreigners and for those individuals that, due to professional reasons, were doomed to travel continuously. This was the case of the sailor Gabriel Covaner [29] who, in his attempt to be recognized as a citizen, was looking for a wife himself and was flirting, as one of the witnesses confessed, with the daughter of another sailor living, as he himself was, in the neighborhood of La Ribera, facing the sea.


Ultimately, the relevance given to marriage suggests that a stable residence in the city was undoubtedly conceived as the most important requirement to fulfill in order to be recognized as a citizen of Barcelona. The first question raised by the municipal representatives in every report shows that the idea of the good citizen was identified with an individual living steadily within the walls of the city. Witnesses were directly and recurrently asked whether the candidate 'had a residence of his own in which to live permanently with all the members of his hearth'. [30] A fixed residence in the city was indeed understood as an obvious and compulsory duty of the citizen. Reference once more to the example of Gabriel Covaner will make this point even clearer. The notary in charge of his interrogation asked one of the witnesses 'whether he knew if the above-mentioned Gabriel Covaner has a house in Barcelona, as is required of other citizens'.  [31] Thus, it can be affirmed that the citizen of Barcelona was, above all, an inhabitant of the city, from both a daily and an official point of view. Surprisingly, the authorities themselves seemed to value the issue of residence more than the actual possession of a citizenship charter, as some declarations in the so-called Llibre de la Clau (a source of an economic nature, devoted to the control of taxes) clearly show, even within their titles: 'Declaration stating that nobody will be considered a citizen, even when having a charter, unless he is staying in the city with his wife'. [32] Furthermore, the citizenship charter in itself, as well as the royal privileges, tend to identify the 'citizen' with the 'inhabitant', commonly using the expression 'cives et habitatores' (citizens and inhabitants) when referring to the whole citizenry. [33] Due to the creation of this strong link, candidates to citizenship were often considered as citizens, already in their reports – and often, also, in previous notary documentation


Returning to the issue of stable residence, I would like to highlight here the contrast that existed between the general relevance this issue seemed to have in the definition of the citizen and the flexibility with which it was actually evaluated and conceived, not only by Barcelonians but also, and most importantly, by the municipal authorities. Furthermore, this seems to be a rather special aspect when it is compared to other European cases, where the stability of residence was often strictly regulated.


In this view, it might be useful to recall the regulations of some Italian cities in which it was usually stated that the citizenship privilege could not be granted to individuals who had stayed in the city less than a very specific amount of time which could vary between five or ten years. [34] To bring up another example, the city of Perpignan, which was also part of the Crown of Aragon from the second half of the 14th century onwards, progressively reduced the amount of time per year that actual citizens were supposed to spend in the city, on the condition that they had some possessions within the walls of Perpignan. [35] In contrast, residence hardly seems to have been defined for the case of Barcelona. Although the above mentioned privilege of 128484 established that the stay of one year and one day should be considered sufficient to become a citizen of the city, actual examples from the Informes show that the amount of time spent in the city in order to be recognized as a citizen was much more unstable and flexible. While a wealthy peasant such as Galceran Amat [36] needed more than fifteen years in order to feel able to request citizenship, some merchants achieved the citizen statute in just a few months, even days. The case of Pere Cerdunya, [37] a merchant from the city of Berga, in the north of Catalonia, is clearly illustrative of this sort of procedure, since he managed to get the citizenship charter having lived in the city for only eight days.


Thus, residence as a citizenship criterion seemed to have been rather flexible, although everyone was aware of its relevance. As a hypothesis, I would suggest that the authorities themselves might have been taking advantage of this lack of regulation, since it allowed them to make it easy for dynamic and wealthy merchants to become citizens of Barcelona – and, thus, taxpayers. It should also be considered that on those occasions when the stay of the candidate was clearly short or difficult to determine, witnesses themselves would often compensate for it by insisting on the intention of the candidate to stay in the city for the rest of his life. They would also comment on other behaviors which showed commitment to the city. The issue of marriage has already been discussed but other aspects such as the assistance to public festivities, property or the payment of taxes should also be taken into consideration.


In light of other European cases, it is clear that the strong existing link between the granting of a citizenship privilege and the functioning of a specific tax system cannot be ignored. Furthermore, this more pragmatic nature of citizenship appears clearly in the sources presented here for the case of Barcelona. As above mentioned, the charter itself specified that every recognized citizen of Barcelona would be exempted from paying taxes for the entrance and exit of goods when trading in other points of the Crown of Aragon. Nevertheless, this fiscal aspect of citizenship is much more difficult to retrace in the actual Informes. Certainly, some witnesses defended candidates by insisting on the fact that they were paying their taxes. In this view, the statement that a person 'has contributed to the impositions and other charges of the city, as any other citizen' [38] is to be found recurrently throughout the Informes.


It is my impression, however, that witnesses tended to refer to a more humanized dimension of fiscal policies which was identified, above all, with the accomplishment of a set of communal duties (càrrechs). For instance, there are a few examples of merchants committing to buy corn from the municipal authorities. In so doing, they helped the city to get rid of old corn that might get rotten without losing an excessive amount of money and resources. [39] Cases of individuals involved in communal works, such as those continuously undertaken on the walls of the city, can also be found. In this view, the example of the carpenter Pere Munt is particularly illustrative. [40] One of his witnesses, Antoni Llorenç, captain of a group of communal workers, stated that Munt was always willing to participate in draining the moats of the city. In stating such facts, Llorenç was thus demonstrating that Munt acted as a citizen and, thus, clearly deserved official recognition as such.


From all the above, I claim that the precious voices of witnesses help us to approach the inner practice of citizenship. Interestingly, this inner and daily practice clearly refers to one of the main theoretical assumptions mentioned above, showing that, more so than anything else, the citizen was supposed to be an individual publicly committed and devoted to the common good of his civic community.



Some final considerations are now necessary. A study like the one presented here, almost exclusively focused on how the citizenship criteria of a city were expressed through a very specific source, might seem overly descriptive and rather narrow. My point, however, was to portray citizenship in all its complexity, insisting on the fact that, despite being a legal statute recognized by the municipal authorities, its definition was also based on (rather flexible) daily criteria such as self-maintenance, stable residence, public contribution to communal services and marriage. Starting from the Informes, which, it should perhaps be recalled once more, were an institutional source produced by the authorities, it seems it was on the tension between legal and daily perceptions that citizenship was progressively built and understood. As a result, the citizen reveals himself a complex figure, somewhat confusing for the historian, having his rights and duties but, above all, an image and a reputation to build.


Considering these issues, one question could immediately be raised. Should this rich duality be considered a particularity of Barcelona? Certainly not, or at least not entirely. Albert Rigaudière, for instance, has already affirmed that medieval citizenship was, above all, a behavior and a way of acting within society. [41] Ultimately, the citizen was continuously building and performing an image and a reputation. Therefore, it seems that Barcelona was simply following a more general pattern which could be applied to other European cities and, more specifically, to those which were commercial centers of the Western Mediterranean. However, there is a unique aspect in Barcelona: the sources themselves. These constitute a startling number of long and complete reports that perfectly reproduce the voices and opinions of contemporary Barcelonians. In contrast, many other European cities only conserved lists of new citizens from which little information can actually be extracted. On the other hand, Barcelona seems to suffer from a curious lack of more precise regulations on citizenship. In comparison to the Italian cities, there are no specific statutes clearly defining and regulating the rights and duties of the citizen. [42] Further research has still to be done but these curious contrasts might suggest that social and daily perceptions of citizenship, although clearly ambiguous, were carefully considered and respected. More than in other parts of Europe, it could be suggested that citizenship in Barcelona corresponded to daily practices.


As has been shown, the Informes make it evident that, before being officially recognized as a citizen by the counselors of the city, an individual had to be judged by the citizenry. The official acceptance depended on the positive comments of representative witnesses who were in charge of showing that the candidate had already been accepted in the civic community. It could, then, be possible to refer to the citizen as a figure progressively developed and defined by the constant dialogue with the social structures of the city. More specifically, a positive outcome of the official citizenship petition largely depended on the degree of integration that the candidate had managed to reach within very active solidarity networks [43] in which the actual condition of the citizen was negotiated.


Without getting into further details, I would like to note that the Informes are also very useful when trying to retrace the mechanisms of these social networks. [44] Certainly, the addresses of the witnesses, as well as their own comments on past experiences related with profession or family origins, enable the historian to accurately retrace the existence of professional, family and, above all, neighborhood networks. These networks became the theatrical stage on which the citizen was constantly performing his role and reputation. Much more than just a paper granting commercial benefits, medieval citizenship needs to be approached as a human behavior constantly defined and enhanced within social dialogue. It was a status based on personal effort and communal acceptance, a social image: it was never static and was in continuous definition.


I have tried in this paper to present the basic features of medieval citizenship by focusing on the unexplored case of 15th century Barcelona. In my view, some interesting specificities have also arisen. Much research still needs to be done and I do not dare to say for the moment that Barcelona's striking interest for the daily performance of the citizen was unique within a European framework. However, I would argue that it is a fascinating case which presents innovative perspectives for the study of medieval citizenship. Certainly, the range of sources with which I have dealt suggests that it was the continuous action of a citizen and their public approval that determined the daily as well as the legal definition of citizenship. In all its complexity, the case of Barcelona shows that medieval citizenship depended on constant social dialogue. To fully understand this dialogue, we need to undertake a cultural analysis which, by focusing on the complexities of citizenship, might also help historians to understand how medieval civic communities understood themselves.


Carolina Obradors Suazo
PhD Researcher, Department of History and Civilization
European University Institute
Villa Schifanoia, Via Boccaccio 121
50133 Firenze, Italia
E-mail: Carolina.Obradors@EUI.eu

[1] *Abbreviations to be used along the paper: AHCB: Historical Archives of the City of Barcelona; AHPB: Historical Archives of Notarial Records of the City of Barcelona; CODOIN: Colección de Documentos Inéditos del Archivo de la Corona de Aragón (Collection of Unpublished Documents of the Archives of the Crown of Aragon). Classical reference published by Próspero de Bofarull in 1850. This paper is linked to the doctoral research that I am conducting at the European University Institute, funded by the Program 'Salvador de Madariaga' of the Spanish Ministry of Education. Cervantes Miguel: The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha (Translated by Samuel Putnam), Encyclopedia Britannica, 1996, 496.

[2] Pere Orti: El Consell de Cent durant l'Edat Mitjana, in: Barcelona. Quaderns d'Història 4 (2001), 21-48.

[3] It has to be pointed out here that the chronology of the crisis is not clear and has been consistently discussed by historians of medieval Barcelona who have progressively postponed its beginning. While some studies of the 1970s asserted that the economic situation of the city was already catastrophic at the very beginning of the 15th century, more recent studies tend to defend the commercial dynamism of the Catalan city at that time, postponing the more difficult times to the 1430s and even 1440s.

[4] Dina Bizarri: Ricerche sul diritto di cittadinanza nella costituzione medievale, in: Studi Senesi 32 (1916), 19-103. In spite of years, this classical study is still considered to be crucial by many current historians. For instance, Patrick Gilli clearly defined it as 'toujours fondamental sur le sujet'. See Patrick Gilli: Comment cesser d'être étranger: Citoyens et non citoyens dans la pensée juridique italienne de la fin du Moyen Âge, in: Société des Historiens Médiévistes de l'Enseignement Supérieur Public: L'Étranger au Moyen Âge, Paris 2000, 60-77.

[5] Without any doubt, Pietro Costa's works have become an indispensable reference for those scholars concerned by citizenship, from a very wide perspective. His most important contribution in this field is Pietro Costa: Civitas. Storia della Cittadinanza in Europa, 3 volumes, Roma / Bari 1999-2001.

[6] Julius Kirshner, whose works have also become classical, was particularly interested in the progressive construction of the concept of citizenship from a legal point of view. Therefore, he analyzed the legal literature on citizenship in late medieval Italy by focusing, mainly, on the works of jurists such as Bartolo of Sassoferrato and Baldo degli Ubaldi. See, for instance, Julius Kirshner: Civitas sibi faciat civem: Bartolus of Sassoferrato's doctrine on the making of a citizen, in: Speculum 48 (1973), 694-713; or Julius Kirshner: Between Culture and Nature: an Opinion of Baldus of Perugia on Venetian Citizenship as Second Nature, in: Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 9 (1979), 179-208. More recently, he has been working on a more cultural dimension of citizenship, focusing on the role of women and even Jews in the perception and definition of late medieval citizenship.

[7] Peter Riesenberg: Citizenship in the Western Tradition. Plato to Rousseau, Chapel Hill 1992, 108-110.

[8] On the set of rights and duties which conditioned the citizen status, see, above all: Bizarri: Ricerche (see FN 4), here: 30-32. Some other notes on the issue of tax exemptions in Riesenberg: Citizenship (see FN 7), 116-118. See, for the case of Castilian cities, Tamar Herzog: Defining Nations. Immigrants and Citizens in Early Modern Spain and America, New Haven / London 2003, here: 18.

[9] This diversity and variability becomes a defining aspect of medieval citizenship which requires choosing a specific city in order to analyze it rigorously. See, for instance: Diego Quaglioni: The Legal Definition of Citizenship in the Late Middle Ages, in: Anthony Mohlo / Kurt Raaflaub / Julia Emlen (eds): City States in Classical Antiquity and Medieval Italy, Stuttgart 1991, 155-167, here: 155: 'It is well known that in the Late Middle Ages the legal definition of citizenship differed from one city to the other'.

[10] Bizzarri: Ricerche (see FN 4), 20-33.

[11] Riesenberg: Citizenship (see FN 7), 133.

[12] Kirshner: Civitas sibi faciat civem (see FN 6).

[13] Many works have linked the issue of medieval citizenship with the presence and integration of foreigners. See, for instance: Reinhold Mueller: Immigrazione e cittadinanza nella Venezia medievale, Rome 2010; Kim Keechang: Aliens in the Medieval Law. The Origins of Modern Citizenship, Cambridge 2000; Patrick Gilli: Comment cesser (see FN 4); Luca Molà: La comunità dei lucchesi a Venezia, Venice 1994. The opposite perspective could also be underlined here. Thomas Szabò used citizenship reports when analyzing the presence of foreigners in German cities. See Thomas Szabò: Gli stranieri nelle città tedesche del medioevo in Rosseti, in: Gabriella Rossetti (ed.): Dentro la città. Stranieri e realtà urbane nella Europa dei secoli XII-XVI, Naples 1999, 69-89.

[14] The relationship between citizenship and belonging has been deeply developed by Pietro Costa: Storia della cittadinanza (see FN 5), vol. 1, 15. See also Laura de Angelis: Immigrazione e concessioni di cittadinanza a Firenze e nei Comuni italiani tra XIV e XV secolo, in: Città e vita cittadina nei paesi del'area mediterranea. Secoli XI-XVAdrano / Bronte / Catania / Palermo 2006, 425.

[15] As actually suggested by Elisa Soldani when analyzing the integration of tuscan merchants in Late Medieval Barcelona. See in Elisa Soldani: Uomini d’affari e mercanti toscani nella Barcellona del Quattrocento. CSIC, Barcelona. 2011 pp 131-139

[16] From now on I will refer to these sources by their catalogue number in the archives, namely: Historical Archives of the City of Barcelona (AHCB), Consellers, 1C-V, 3.

[17] It has to be noted that, although it seems rather clear from the sources that this process existed, a closer look to the citizenship registers conserved for the period 1413-1425 suggests that some individuals could have had more direct access to the citizenship charter. More precisely, it seems that the interrogations were not always conducted. My research should now concentrate on the criteria justifying these differences.

[18] I.e.: The privilege Recognoverunt Proceres granted by Peter the Great in 12843, the existence of citizenship charters registered in the first municipal books (from 1301 onwards) and royal letters of Peter the Ceremonious to his representatives in the city (1370 and 1385). As it will be also noted in the text, this set of texts mainly pointed to stable residence as the primary requirement to fulfill in order to be publicly recognized as a citizen of Barcelona. I am still working on the letters from Peter the Ceremonious to his representatives since they present a particularly confusing definition of the citizen. This paper intends, however, to concentrate on the richness of the Informes de la Ciutadania.

[19] I will commonly identify the citizen with a masculine individual since it is difficult to find women acting as citizens or requiring the citizenship chart in Barcelona before the 1440s. Again, the lack of regulation around these matters makes it difficult to give a more rigorous and convincing approach to the relationship between women and citizenship in late medieval Barcelona. It is, however, an aspect worthy of consideration. On the one hand, Daileader surprisingly stated that the right of women to citizenship was never questioned in earlier periods such as between the 12th and the 14th centuries. See Philip Daileader: True Citizens. Violence, Memory, and Identity in Medieval Perpignan, Leiden / London / Cologne 2000, 27. On the other hand, some authors have focused in depth on the relationship between women and citizenship. See, for instance, Marta Howell: Citizenship and Gender: Women's Political Status in Northern Medieval Cities, in: Mary Erler / Maryanne Kowaleski (eds.): Women and Power in the Middle Ages, Athens GA / London 1988, 37-60; or Julius Kirshner: Genere e cittadinanza nelle città- stato del Medioevo e del Rinascimento, in: Giulia Calvi (ed.): Innesti. Donne e genere nella storia sociale, Rome 2004, 21-35. In this article, Kirshner interestingly defended the study of citizenship and gender as a way of overcoming the more traditional accounts that used to exclusively relate citizenship with political participation. He stated that gender could help to provide a more complete and cultural analysis of such a rich phenomenon as medieval citizenship.

[20] For the original document, see: Collection of Unpublished Documents of the Archives of the Crown of Aragon, vol. XLIII, doc 22, 11-12. The Recognoverunt Proceres played a crucial role in the history of Barcelona. It is considered to be the privilege in which the final structure of the Council of the Hundred was settled and the set of fiscal privileges (franqueses) promised to the city of Barcelona finally recognized.

[21] The stay of one year and one day was certainly a common feature to be found in other cities' regulations. For the case of German cities, see Thomas Szabò: Gli stranieri (see FN 13), 80.

[22] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la ciutadania (1407, April, 30th). No citizenship registration has been conserved for this period. Therefore, it cannot be categorically affirmed that Joan received the citizenship charter. However, it has to be remembered that he was clearly noted as a citizen in his will six years later. For his will, see in AHPB, Llorenç Aragall, Liber primus testamentorum 108/1 fol. (1413, January, 12th).

[23] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la ciutadania (1411, January, 23rd).

[24] Pineda de Mar is a village on the Catalan coast, about 50 kilometers north of Barcelona.

[25] AHCB, Consellers, 1 C-V, 3. (1409, February, 25th).

[26] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. (1414, February, 7th).

[27] E presentment deu prendre muller car sos amichs hi treballen tant com poden'.

[28] ' ell hic és per coratge e intenció de atura hic car si jo sabia lo contrari no treballaria jo en dar li muller e ell que es tal no la prendria'.

[29] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la Ciutadania. (1414, February, 12th).

[30] Certainly, almost every interrogation was opened with the following words: 'he was asked whether [name of the candidate] was a citizen of Barcelona, that is to say, if he has his own residence with his wife and children and his whole hearth within the city as every true citizen should do.' For an original version in Medieval Catalan, see among many others the example of Ramon Torroella's application to citizenship where we can find the following opening for the interrogation to the merchant Pere Miró: 'E primerament fou demanat si sab o ha hoyt dir que en Ramon Torroella, mercader qui està en lo carrer appellat de'n Guillem de Roudor, assats prop forn d'en Pere, sia ciutadà de Barcelona, ço és que tinga sa pròpia habitació ab sa muller e ab sos infants e ab tot son domicile segons de ver ciutadà se pertany estar e habitar dins la dita Ciutat'. See AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la Ciutadania (1411, March, 20th).

[31] My emphasis. For the original document see, as mentioned in FN 27, AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la Ciutadania (1414, February, 12th). Original quote in Catalan: 'et primo si ell testes sab que·l dit Gabriel Covaner tenga casa ne alberch en Barchinona, axí com alters ciutadans son tenguts de tenir'.

[32] My emphasis. Quoted and referred by Roser Salicrú: El tràfic de mercaderies segons la lleuda de Mediona. (febrer 1434), Barcelona 1995, 12-13. Salicrú refered to the original quotation in Catalan: 'Declaració de que algú no és ahut per ciutadà jassia que haja carta si no està en la ciutat ab sa muller'.

[33] This is a disturbing and confusing use of terms on which I will have to focus later on in my research. Philip Daileader identifies the term 'habitator' with the notion of citizen and 'habitante' for the actual inhabitant. His case only adds complexity and does not solve the confusions I found in the archival material of Barcelona. Certainly, he is free to do these identifications since the term 'citizen' was apparently not used in Perpignan. See Daileader: True Citizens (see FN 19), 17. On the other hand, Dina Bizzarri refers to the 'habitator' in the Italian cities (seen again, thus, as the inhabitant) when studying the graduation of citizenship. In her opinion, the 'habitator' was a preceding stage to the acquisition of citizenship, an independent status in itself implying a specific set of rights and duties. See Bizzarri: Ricerche (see FN 4), 44-45.

[34] See Bizarri: Ricerche (see FN 4), 31; and also Gilli: Comment cesser (see FN 4). Gilli worked with the statutes of several Italian cities in which residence as a requirement for the obtaining of citizenship was carefully established.

[35] Daileader: True citizens (see FN 19), 33-37.

[36] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la ciutadania (1408, May, 8th).

[37] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la ciutadania (1411, March, 17th).

[38] The original clause in medieval Catalan was: 'e ha contribuit en imposicions e altres càrrechs de la ciutat, axí com altre ciutadà'. To be found, for instance, in the reports referring to the candidates Pere Munt, carpenter, (1413, July, 17th); Joan Belmenya, merchant, (1414, February, 7th); Guillem Guerau, merchant, (1409, October, 30th); Bartomeu Pisa, merchant, (1409, October, 31st); Joan Bou, peasant, (1412, November, 21st); Domingo Manelli, merchant, (1413, April, 10th); and Joan de Lesques, crossbowman, (1427, July, 7th) among many others.

[39] I could refer here to the cases of the wealthy peasant Bernat Muntmany (1395, January, 21st) and, once again, the example of Joan Belmenya, among a few others.

[40] AHCB, Consellers, 1C-V, 3. Informes de la ciutadania (1413, July, 17th). It might be worth remembering the actual words of Llorenç: 'and he said that he is a captain of communal workers and that the above mentioned Pere Munt is in his group and whenever there is a need to go to the walls of the city in order to drain the moat he goes to Pere Munt's house and orders him to go. And the above mentioned Pere obeys always willingly, so that he considers him to be a citizen of Barcelona'.

[41] Albert Rigaudière: Municipal citizenship in Pierre Jacobini's 'Practica aurea libellorum' (ca. 1311), in: Julius Kirshner / Laurent Mayali (eds.): Privileges and Rights of Citizenship. Law and the Juridical Construction of Civil Society, Berkeley 2002.

[42] This statement should be clarified. Certainly, historiography, as well as the research I have done so far, point in this direction. However, I have to note that I myself have still not gone through all the municipal records produced at that time.

[43] By using this term, I do not pretend to engage with 'social network analysis'. I am not interested here either in the specific role played by each of the actors or in the transmission of information. Rather, I just analyzed the rich connections that were built daily between individuals coexisting in the same city. For the use of the 'social network analysis' in medieval history see, for instance: María Ángeles Martín Romera: Nuevas perspectivas para el studio de las sociedades medievales: el análisis de las redes sociales, in: Studia Storica 28 (2010), 217-239.

[44] A study similarly based on the Informes, my presentation for the International Medieval Meeting Lleida, which took place in Lleida (Spain) in June 2011, focused more deeply on the role of solidarity networks in the acceptance and integration of new citizens. The title of the presentation was 'Ciudadanos y forasteros en la Barcelona bajomedieval. Dialogando entre negociación e integración en los albores del siglo XV', and it will soon be published.

Empfohlene Zitierweise:

Carolina Obradors Suazo : From Citizenship to Citizenry. Towards a Cultural Approach to the Figure of the Citizen in 15th Century Barcelona , in: zeitenblicke 12, Nr. 1, [10.06.2013], URL: https://www.zeitenblicke.de/2013/1/Obradors-Suazo/index_html, URN: urn:nbn:de:0009-9-36192

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