Subsidiary SourcebooksAfricanEastern AsianGlobalIndianJewishIslamicLesbian/GayScienceWomen

Special ResourcesByzantiumMedieval WebMedieval NYC
Medieval MusicSaints' Lives
Ancient Law
Medieval Law
Film: Ancient
Film: Medieval
Film: Modern
Film: Saints

About IHSPIJSP Credits

Medieval Sourcebook:
Treaty for Peace and Commercial Harmony Between Florence & St. Gimignano, 1225

Economic relationships between cities frequently necessitated the formulation of agreements between them relating to commerce and other matters. Conflicts between debtor and creditor inevitably arose, especially where the contracting parties lived in different cities, and for the settlement of such disputes cities, or, as in England, merchant gilds, made agreements. Cities also often borrowed in their corporate capacity as is evident from the relations between Pisa, Florence, and St. Gimignano. The low rate of interest, about 7.5 per cent, paid on the money given to Florence, indicates a state of security not very common in private transactions of a like nature.

In the name of God, Amen. To preserve peace and concord between the men of the city of Florence and its territory and the men of St. Gimignano and its territory, we, Boncambio Soldi, arbiter of the Commune of Florence in behalf of the said Commune and the men of said city and territory, just as appears in the public instrument made by the hand of Iacopo the judge and notary, and Iacopo Asseduti, arbiter of the Commune of St. Gimignano for said Commune and men of said town and court, do order and decree and affirm that if any citizen of Florence or its territory should make complaint before us concerning any one of the town of St. Gimignano or territory, and conversely that, if any one of the town of St. Gimignano or territory should make complaint to us or before us concerning any one of the city of Florence or territory, we shall be held to receive that complaint and cite the accused or have him cited, and determine or have the said case determined between them by judgment, arbitration, sentence, or friendly agreement within the next twenty days; and if the accused shall confess the debt ascribed to him, we shall condemn him within the following ten days to pay a double penalty; and if he will not confess and it be determined by judgment, arbitration, sentence, or friendly agreement, we shall condemn him if he should be condemned, or absolve him if he should be absolved, within the same period; and this holds true unless he should protest the word of the plaintiff or unless it should seem to us that it should be a greater or lesser period; so shall we be held to do this in every instance.

Also, if the accused shall not have paid and satisfied that which was adjudged or arbitrated or decreed by us, or by one acting for us, let the Podestà or Rector of the territory or land from which the accused comes, in good faith and without fraud, demand the execution of that sentence or judgment or arbitration, and satisfy the plaintiff or creditor with the movable goods of the debtor or accused if they can be found up to the quantity of the adjudged sentence or arbitration of the accused; and if movables cannot be found, he shall be held to give him possession or tenure of his immovable goods to double the amount of those for which the plaintiff has preference, and to defend and protect this tenure and possession saving always the right of other persons who might have prior claim to the things given; and if movables of the accused or debtor cannot be found, and the plaintiff should have refused to receive tenure and possession of the immovables, the Podestà or Rector of the territory from which he comes, as has been said, shall be held to banish him, and put under ban or confiscate his goods at the will of the plaintiff or creditor; and if the accused should not come to do justice, or if he should come and should not protest, or should refuse to protest before us in the period or periods assigned by us or by one in our behalf, we shall pronounce sentence of contumacy against him, and moreover, the Podestà of the territory from which the contumacious one has come shall be held to banish him and put under ban and confiscate his property, or grant it to the plaintiff at the will of the said creditor or plaintiff.

But save and except that if any one of the said territories, i.e., the city of Florence or its territory, or the town of St. Gimignano or its territory, should make complaint against any one from the said lands, or any one by reason of his status, of colonus or villein or by occasion of his saying he or they are his coloni or villeins, or of his seeking him for his villein, which villein or colonus or man we shall have found to have stayed and dwelt for ten continuous years, and for as long a time stayed or dwelt in the city of Florence or its territory, and in the town of St. Gimignano or its territory, we ought not to receive the complaint nor ought we to force the colonus or villein or man to answer the plaintiff or lord, but he shall be held as a free man of the city or town in everything. Also, all confiscations, booty, robbery, or unlawful taxation done there we shall cause to be returned and restored, or we shall make estimates and computations of them from, by, or in behalf of him for whom they should be made, i.e., on that debt which it appears truly he, or they, ought to receive at our command; and if it be unjust we shall make restoration to him to whom it should be made. And moreover, I, Boncambio, arbiter of the Commune of Florence, in behalf of the said Commune, confess truly that this Commune held and received from the men of Pisa on behalf of the men of St. Gimignano as debtors of Florence , 1550 of good Pisan denarii. Whence we, the said arbiters of the Commune by agreement decree that after payment has been made of one and a half denarii per pound per month for the interest of the said debt or debts (saving that we might determine that the interest shall be more or less, if such determination proceed from our common consent), we shall cause the instruments to be restored; but if any of the instruments do not exist and cannot be returned we shall then cause them to be made at the command of the debtor and of ourselves, and all and each of the said things we, the above named arbiters, do swear on the gospel to do and observe and fulfil in good faith without fraud to the honor, salvation, interests, peace, and concord of both communes.

Done in the Sestiere of Avanella Vallis Elsa, of the Commune of Florence before the Lord Uguccione, son of the late Aldarotto, and Matheo Gualpere as witnesses. In the year of our Lord, 1225, November 19th.


From: P. Santini, ed., Documenti dell Antica Costituzione del Comune di Firenze, Vol. I, p. 390, in Documenti di Storia Italiana, Tome X (Florence, 1895); reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 212-215.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998