Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Carta Fabrianese (1186)

Three of these carte come from the region of Marche, in central Italy: the Carta osimana (1151), the Carta fabrianese (1186), and the Carta picena (1193) which Breschi ("Le Marche" in: L'Italiano nelle regioni ed. F. Bruni vol.1, UTET, 1997, p.466) rates as the most remarkable in that the separation between Latin and Italian is clearly perceived by the writer. Further, the definitive transition to Italian was accelerated by the scarce command of Latin by Marche notaries - that is why central Italy is a trove of early Italian documents and paves the way to the literary fervor that will pervade it in the following century.

The first two documents are related to the activity of the abbeys of Santa Maria di Chiaravalle (Fiastra), San Vittore delle Chiuse (Fabriano), the third is a confirmation of a prior settlement between Blandineo di Arduvino and Giovanni Ofridi about some properties near Ascoli - the agreement is penned by one Firmus (it. Fermo?), the notary.

Fabriano's carta is partly printed in Migliorini's History - as such I report it below - and is a financial transaction between the party of count Attolino and Berta, wife of Ruggeri, and the prior of San Vittore delle Chiuse and Rolando di Bernardo. Significantly, it opens in Latin, but a very bad one at that, and as count Attolino continues to dictate to the notary, at some point he can no longer keep up with him and switches to the Italian in which he is more fluent, passing from the noi ("we") to the less formal io (I)- the count's own words are then jotted down verbatim - in his own vernacular:

de la quale consortia nui avemo plu de vui, nui partimo e vui tollete, et o advemo de paradegu, de paradegu parterimu...

et set ce fosse impedementu varcante, lu 'mpedementu sia complitu et pignu vet mecto per X livere de inforzati...

I will attempt to translate that proximately as:

"of such properties where we have more than you, we shall divide and you shall take and where we possess in equal parts, in equal parts we shall divide"

"and should we encounter obstacles in this matter, may such obstacles be overcome with my pledge of 10 pounds' inforzati [inforzato, pl. -i is a currency then used in nothern Italy]..."

Fabriano has probably one of the finest paper mills in Italy, its foundation dating to about 1230 - it will be widely known all over Italy when Aldus Manutius chooses its paper for his books in the Renaissance.

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