Els cofres del rei. Rendes i gestors de la batllia de Castelló (1366-1500)
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2000. Pròleg de Guy Bois, 198 p.
This book leads us far beyond a simple inventory of the heritage resources of the monarchy: it is a good book of social history. With the author, we discover the condition of the taxpayers, essentially Christians, but also Muslims and Jews. We follow the activity of the collectorsadn managers of the various income or tax that were charged: tithes, ‘peita’, ‘cena’, the rights to grind… We see the benefits, large of modest, that they obtain, and the subtle osmosis that tied these men to the municipal oligarchy and that converted them, thus, into one of the social bases of real power. All this is analysed masterfully, with a constant concern for precision, rigour, which honours the school of medieval Valencia and gives this work an exemplary character. Its other great merit is the wide openness to the problem of the European depression of the 14th and 15th centuries. As it is known, Europe then sunk into a crisis of exceptional gravity. Historians have, for a few decades, tried to find out the meaning and to overcome the quick or simplistic explanations that gave only to epidemics or to wars the responsibility of the disaster. Pau Viciano forces us to interrogate ourselves to what extent this work is valuable. The craft historian brings a rich harvest of data and stimulates its reflection. A wider audience will allow an exciting incursion into the society of that time, an incursion conducted with exceptional honesty.
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