“Places of writing” and attractiveness.: Study of medieval acts from Auvergne, between Dore and Allier rivers

Abstract : The study of the medieval period is often based on the treatment and analysis of manuscript sources extant today. These sources, diverse and varied, are a reflection of everyday life of the powerful or those who have something to give, sell or declare. But beyond the factual information contained in the documents, other information must be analyzed. Some of them, invisible or ignored at first reading, prove of vital importance as the prism of study chosen. In the case of attractiveness for small and medium towns, a particular prism of study can be applied to documents reviewed. Indeed, most manuscripts are written by professional writers : lawyers / notaries, clerks, … These are most often located in places of importance like courses of notaries or institutions in which they greet reporters. It appears that demand is strong, and so these “places of writing” must increase to meet the needs. Thus secondary localities will host courses of notaries to have, in a medieval rural world dominated by a few towns, a place of writing dedicated to the people living in these spaces. These communities become attractive, the presence of such “places of writing” bringing reporters to visit these courses in order to manage their affairs. The aim here is to examine the phenomenon of attractiveness of small and medium towns (in the medieval concept of small and medium towns) through the documentary corpus mobilized for a thesis topic in medieval history several hundreds of documents, on a rural area of Auvergne in which several secondary localities host “places of writing” and others, promised this fate, are totally ignored. Hypotheses will be proposed to explain the choice of these locations, maps may be produced and a “measure” of attractiveness may be suggested for this criterion, with all due caution.
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Thomas Areal. “Places of writing” and attractiveness.: Study of medieval acts from Auvergne, between Dore and Allier rivers. Presses universitaires Blaise Pascal. Small and Medium Towns. Attractiveness at the beginning of the 21st Century, Collection du CERAMAC (n°33), pp.59-74, 2014. ⟨halshs-01099934⟩

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