This notarial register entry is a standard slave sale from Perpignan [now in France, then part of the Crown of Aragon] during the later thirteenth century. The exact date is missing but the register shows that it was between 31 October 1276 and 13 January 1277. The contract includes statements assuring the buyer that the slave was not acquired illegally, which explain the illegal methods of capture banned by the crown.

Translated from the Latin by Rebecca Lynn Winer. Perpignan, France, Archives départementales des Pyrénées orientales (ADPO), Notarial Series 3E1 Register 6, folio 7r. This translation CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Contract of Sale

Romia, daughter of the late Guillem Draper of Molí Reial [the royal mill],[1] for myself etc. I sell to Jaume [James] falconer of Prince Jaume’s household a lighter dark skinned [“lauram”] Saracen [Muslim] woman named Issa [“Jussa”] for 12 pounds, 16 shillings, and 3 pence of Barcelona concerning which [the value in marks of silver is] etc. ….[water damage] and I obligate my estate etc. and I promise you that the said Saracen woman is not under the king’s protection [“non est de palia domini regis”[2]], nor was she seized by stealth [“furtim rapta”], nor does she suffer from falling sickness [“morbum caducum”] etc. I, Jaume de Avingos, legal representative [“procurator”] of the said Romia constitute myself faithfully to [have received the payment on her behalf] …

[1]Jordi Bolòs, Els orígens medievals del paisatge català: L’ archeologia del paisatge com a font per a coneìxer la història de Catalunya (Barcelona: Institut D’Estudis Catalans, 2004), 380 has a map of thirteenth century royal mills in Roussillon. There were two near the town of Perpignan.

[2] That this formula means under the protection of the king is underlined by the variant in its form that was used in thirteenth-century Barcelona, see Stephen P. Bensch, “From Prizes of War to Domestic Merchandise: The Changing Face of Slavery in Catalonia and Aragon, 1000-1300,” 76, note number 54: “…in a Barcelona slave contract in 1243, ACB [Arxiu Capitular de la Santa Església Catedral Basílica de Barcelona] 1-6-712: “promitto tibi quod non est christianus neque de pace vel palia domini regis [I promise you that he is not a Christian nor under the peace or protection of the lord king],” pàlia is a medieval Catalan word for protection.

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