Memorandum of Arbitration Concerning a Freight Charge, 1230
Marseilles, like Barcelona, grew rich at the time of the Crusades by trading with
the East, and families like the de Manduels drew great revenues from financing this trade.
Navigation was confined to the spring and summer and was, for those times, of huge
proportions, though the cost of freight, as may be seen in this document, was not light.
In the name of the Lord. Upon the complaint or petition which existed between Martin
Castagne, on the one hand, and Stephen de Manduel, on the other, on behalf of himself and
his son Bernard, about the freight charge of thirty-one bundles of skins, which belonged
to Paul Sicard, concerning which skins the said Martin and his associates said that they
had retained them until the charge they demanded was paid; but on the other hand the said
Stephen said that the charge should be paid by Paul Sicard, or by some one on his behalf,
and that Bernard de Manduel, son of Stephen, had bought or otherwise acquired the said
thirty-one bundles free from freight charges, on the ship Falchoneti, and free from
all other burdens, for which charge Stephen placed twenty-four pounds in the keeping of
Bernard Peter for the charge on the thirty-one bundles, and this was done by agreement
between Stephen and Martin. This money ought to be in the possession of Bernard Peter, for
the charge on the thirty-one bundles if it appears that the said charge was not paid. For
this charge or for the complaint about the charge Stephen and Martin have agreed before
Bernard Peter and John of St. Maximin, judges chosen freely by both contestants, under
penalty of one hundred solidi in royal crowns, promised and agreed upon by both of them.
Under this penalty both promised to submit to the judgment or decision of the judges,
however the judges might wish to settle the matter according to equity, requiring the
truth, and, according to what appeared from the hearing of the complaint, to disregard the
due order of legal process and the solemnity of the law. The said judges, having required
the truth, and having heard the testimony of William Richavo, and having taken counsel
with him, according to the wish of both parties, and having arrived at a compromise about
the matter, between Stephen de Manduel on behalf of his son and himself on the one hand
and Master Martin on the other, under penalty of one hundred solidi agreed and promised by
both sides, and having reached a compromise upon the complaint of the said freight in the
presence of the judges between the contestants under penalty of ten pounds, under which
penalty, as has been said above, the two parties agreed to place themselves under the
decision or amicable agreement of the said judges and of William Richavo concerning the
said charge the said judges agreed and gave their decision as below, having heard the
complaint and having taken counsel together upon inquiry into the truth of the matter,
according to what seemed just and honest to them. Wherefore the said Bernard Peter and
John of St. Maximin, the said judges, on the advice of William Richavo, absolved Stephen
for himself and his son from paying the freight, ordering besides that the twenty-four
pounds, which Bernard Peter had in his possession, should be restored to Stephen by
Bernard, without objection by any one, especially by the owners of the ship Falchoneti.
This decision was made by the said judges in the shop of William Aicard, in the year
1229, February eighteenth. Witnesses, etc.
From: L. Blancard, ed., Documents Inédits sur le Commerce de Marseille au Moyen Age,
(Marseilles: Barlatier-Feissat, Pere et Fils, 1884), Vol. I, p. 29; 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.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998