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Diversa et possessio de criminalibus; Diversi e possesso di criminale (Various disputes and disputes over possession)

  • HR-DADU-24
  • Fonds
  • 1513-1526, 1543-1550, 1570-1577, 1581-1586, 1592-1596, 1609-1611, 1615-1627, 1634-1636, 1642-1815

From the 70s of the 16th centuries, the Criminal Court (established in 1459) began to systematically keep the registers Diversa et possessio de criminalibus and they were kept until the beginning of the 19th century. The registers contain court decisions made in accordance with the request submitted by the plaintiff, and sometimes ex officio. The fonds is characterized by decisions in which the court forbade the defendant to communicate with the plaintiff, either in person or through an intermediary, either by actions or with words (Ital. né per sé, né per interposte persone, né in fatti, né in parole), which was done to prevent escalation of the conflict. Until the judgement was publicly announced, the court would often confiscate disputed items or documents from the defendants. These facts were also recorded in the volumes of this fonds.

The fonds contains a large variety of information about Jews. The research shows that in slightly more than one third of the recorded cases the content of the documents indicates the existence of court prohibition of the communication between a defendant and a plaintiff. These decisions were made in equal numbers at the request of Jews against Jews, or at the request of Jews against other non-Jewish citizens. Also, the fonds contains orders for the eviction of tenants, bans of activities which could cause any damage to neighbour, bans on construction work and orders to maintain peace and order in the Jewish community. The fonds also contains lawsuits for physical and verbal violence. If the defendant did not comply with the court decision registered in the fonds Diversi e Possesso de Criminale, the plaintiff could sue the defendant again in regular proceedings by invoking that decision. Some notable Jewish people who are referenced to in this fonds are: Didacus Pyrrhus, David Coen de Herrera - father of Abraham Coen de Herrera, Zvi Esconasi, a famous rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Amsterdam, who also was a rabbi in Sarajevo for a certain period (c. 1686- c. 1697) (vol. 19, f. 220v). The fonds also contains the will of Samson from the Peloponnese, which he registered in Dubrovnik in 1571 (vol. 4, f. 16). Generally, the fonds mainly references to members of Dubrovnik Jewish families such as: Abenun, Ambonetti, Angiolo, Asser, Azubi, Baruch, Bencastiel, Bensassen, Bueno, Campos, Chabiglio, Cohen, Costantini, Ergas, Esperiel, Fermo, Franco, Israel, Janni, Levi Mandolfo, Lima, Luzzena, Maestro, Miranda, Nahmias, Oef, Pappo, Pardo, Penso, Russo, Salama, Saralvo, Terni, Tolentino, Valenzin, Vitali, Volterra.

Chancellery and the Judicial Office of the Dubrovnik Republic

Stabilia (Testimonies in civil disputes concerning real estate)

  • HR-DADU-25
  • Fonds
  • 1465, 1470, 1472, 1475-1480, 1482-1499, 1503-1510, 1520-1522, 1529-1530, 1535, 1537-1538, 1543-1545, 1570-1573, 1575-1577, 1581-1583, 1586-1587, 1589, 1591, 1593, 1597, 1600, 1602-1604, 1607-1815

The lawsuits addressed to the Civil Court and the first statements of plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses were registered in the volumes of the fonds Intentiones Cancellariae (HR-DADU-22). If it was deemed necessary, the Civil Court would continue with the proceedings by hearing prosecutors, defendants, and witnesses. If these were real estate proceedings, the hearings would be then recorded in the books of this fonds, which covers the period from the mid-15th century to the early 19th century. The volumes of this fonds consist of two parts: Stabilia ordinaria and Stabilia extraordinaria. Some proceedings were terminated with a final verdict. The date of the verdict and the page number of the sheet of paper on which the verdict was entered, are noted on the margins of the document. This procedure makes it easier to find the actual judgement in the fonds of the civil court sentences (Sententiae Cancellariae; HR-DADU-18).

There is very little reference to Jewish people in this fonds. Nevertheless, the references found are still significant since, according to these references, Jews also acted asrepresentatives of Christian defendants. For example, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Ruben Vita Ambonetti repeatedly appeared as a representative of a sea captain Bartul Pezer (e.g., vol. 235, ff. 17v-19v).

Chancellery of the Dubrovnik Republic

Mobilia (Testimonies in civil disputes concerning movable property)

  • HR-DADU-26
  • Fonds
  • 1471, 1475-1476, 1478-1479, 1482-1483, 1486, 1488-1490, 1492, 1495-1497, 1502, 1504-1507, 1509-1519, 1523, 1529, 1549, 1573-1575, 1577-1578, 1580-1581, 1585, 1587-1589, 1591, 1594, 1599, 1601-1815

Lawsuits in the civil court and the first testimonies of plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses were registered in the books of the fonds Intentiones Cancellariae (HR-DADU-22). If it was deemed necessary, the Civil Court would continue with the court proceedings by hearing prosecutors, defendants, and witnesses. If these were movable property proceedings, the hearings would be then recorded in the volumes of this fonds, which covers the period from the 70s of the 15th centuries to the beginning of the 19th century. The books in the fonds are divided in two parts: Mobilia ordinaria and Mobilia extraordinaria. If the proceedings were terminated by reaching a verdict, the information about the verdict was recorded on the margins. Using this system, it is easy to find a specific court judgement in the fonds of judgments of the Civil Court (Sententiae Cancellariae; HR-DADU-18).

The fonds is important for the research of the business life of Dubrovnik Jews and the types of their business cooperation with their Christian fellow citizens. The fonds contains data on some famous people in Jewish history, such as Isac Ergas (the business representative of Gracia Mendes in Dubrovnik), Isaac's brother Samuel, and Jacob Coen de Herrera (the brother of Abraham Coen de Herrera). The data of the fonds mainly relate to Jews who were living in Dubrovnik, and belonged to families such as Abeatar, Abenun, Abuaff, Almoslino, Altarac, Ambonetti, Arari, Azubi, Bensahen, Campos, Cittanova, Coen, Costantini, Danon, Esperiel, Fermo, Franco, Gaon, Israel, Lanciano, Levi, Levi Mandolfo, Luzzena, Maestro, Miranda, Oef (Ohev), Pappo, Pardo, Penso, Piade, Ribero, Russo, Salama, Saralvo, Sarfatin, Terni, Tobi, Tolentino, Valenzin, Vitali. To a certain extent, this fonds can also be seen as relevant for the historical reconstruction of Jewish business and trading network in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, since the names of Jewish merchants from Italian and Ottoman cities, such as the Penso family from Venice and Adagno and Baruch from Belgrade, occasionally are referenced to in the Civil Court proceedings and documents (i.e., vol. 54, f. 5v).

Chancellery and the Judicial Office of the Dubrovnik Republic

Sequestra (Confiscations)

  • HR-DADU-27
  • Fonds
  • 1766-1815

The fonds contains records of confiscations ordered by the Civil Court at the request of the plaintiff. The preserved registers of these decisions were created in the period from the 60s to the beginning of the 19th century. The fonds contains various data on Jewish people, and there are approximately thirty references per volume, which are relevant for the analysis of their business in Dubrovnik. The records primarily reference to confiscations that were made, at the request of Jews, and were ordered by the court to either Jews or Christians. The fonds contains references to some members of Dubrovnik Jewish families such as Baraffael, Campos, Cohen, Costantino, Levi Mandolfo, Luzzena, Pardo, Russo, Terni, Tolentino, Venturra, Vitali. According to the data, money, jewellery, and merchandise were the most confiscated items.

Chancellery of the Dubrovnik Republic

Appellationes (Appeals to the Minor Council and the Senate)

  • HR-DADU-28
  • Fonds
  • 15th century - 18th century

The fonds contains appeals submitted to the Senate and the Minor Council. According to the data available in volumes 2, 3 and 5, the fonds contains data on appeals accepted by the Senate or the Minor Council. The judgments appealed were mainly in the field of civil law. Other volumes contain very brief information: the date of the decision of the Minor Council or the Senate, the names of the parties in the dispute to whose judgment has been appealed, and the names of judges (consuls) and other civil officials, such as customs officers, who issued the judgment on appeal. The volumes cover the period from the 40s till the 60s of the 15th centuries and from the mid-16th century to the 30s of the 18th century.

There is only a small number of Jews referenced in this fonds. These are mostly members of Jewish families permanently residing in Dubrovnik, such as Abendana, Abuaf, Altarac, Ambonetti, Cabiglio, Cohen, Cohen Camargo, Costantini, Danon, Esperiel, Ferro, Franco, Levi, Luzzena, Maestro, Nahmias, Oef, Pappo, Pardo (i.e., vol. 7, ff. 3v). No further details of verdicts and appeals that were submitted were recorded.

Office of the Secretary of the Dubrovnik Republic

Dicta Domini Rectoris; Detta (Expenditures of the Rector's Palace)

  • HR-DADU-29
  • Fonds
  • 1543-1549, 1575-1580, 1583-1589, 1618-1640, 1653-1665, 1667, 1670-1682, 1684-1719, 1621-1626, 1628-1757, 1760-1761, 1763, 1765-1774, 1776-1777, 1779, 1782, 1804, 1808

The fonds covers the period from the middle 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century, and the data in the fonds are related to the expenditures of the Rector's Palace, i.e., the costs for which the Rector personally was accountable for. Since his term of office lasted only a month, the expenses listed were shown monthly. The expenses were checked by the so-called Deputati alla Detta, or elected members of the Minor Council. The list of ongoing permanent costs of the Palace changed over time and the expenses mostly concerned the related costs of Holy Masses held in the Chapel of the Rector's Palace, alms for various purposes, as well as the expenses for the organization of processions, Holy Masses, and celebrations of religious holidays. The data shows that the money was regularly allocated from the treasury of the Rector's Palace for the costs of lighting and various repairs. According to the data regarding prison expenses, the Rector's Palace would pay for the expenses of the arrest and escort of suspects, the treatment and maintenance of prisoners in need, the execution of sentences, and the burial of deceased prisoners. The soldiers of the Rector's Palace received salaries and compensation for clothes and straw mattresses from the treasury of the Palace. The expenditures of the state offices were also covered, such as the expenses for paper, parchment, bookbinding, ink, candles, and lighting oil. The expenses of the Republic stated in the last three decades show data on the financial support that was given to both Christianised Jewish and Orthodox believers. So-called Separate section of the volumes of this fonds lists the expenses of locksmiths, mostly related to the dungeons, and the extraordinary expenses, which mostly refer to the expenses of the stay of distinguished Ottoman guests in Dubrovnik. The treasury of the Rector's Palace also paid for the cleaning of the streets from various impurities and for the removal of dead animals, as well as for the costs of the postal service (couriers and shipping). Money was also allocated for the costs of anti-plague measures.

The fonds contains only a small amount of data on Jewish people. The references mainly relate to financial support provided for the maintenance of Christianised Jews and of those Jews who worked as state bookbinders. The information on the financial support that the state provided for Christianised Jewish women and men can be found in the documents from the last three decades of the 18th century. For example, according to the data, a certain Jewish woman Mande, the daughter of a Christianised Jew Antun Ambonetti (Samuel Ambonetti), also referred to in the documents as Mande Bonette, received through 1776/1777 the financial support of two grossetti per day (e.g., vol. 78, f. 41). There is also reference that a stretcher was paid once from the state treasury on which an unnamed Jewish woman was taken first to the archbishop and then to a convent (vol. 53, ff. 6v, 8). Moshe and Vital Fermi, and Baruch and Solomon Vitali are also referenced to as state bookbinders. The data shows that the Palace treasury also supplied offices at the Rector's Palace with paper and bound sheets of paper for writing as well as restored damaged books and documents between the late 17th century and the 80s of the 18th centuries. As for other data on Jewish people in this fonds, there are some minor references to Jewish craftsmen who, on several occasions, carried out various repairs in the Rector's Palace, (e.g., covering the table in the office of the Public Notary with leather and window repairing). The documents also show evidence that, while they were quarantined in Lazarettos and other quarantine areas, prominent Ottoman guests were treated by the Dubrovnik state and supplied with daily necessities. According to the data, the Jewish community of Dubrovnik were also involved in this custom, providing necessary pieces of furniture and other items for their stay. Several records showed that Jews received compensation for destroyed items from the treasury of the Rector's Palace. The money from the Palace treasury was also used to pay for the repairs of the keys and the entrance door to the ghetto.

Office of the Secretary of the Dubrovnik Republic

Diversa de foris (Various agreements settled outside the city walls of Dubrovnik)

The registers of the Diversa de Foris began to be kept in 1593 with the intention of registering the documents created outside Dubrovnik, which were of concern to the citizens of Dubrovnik in any way. There are also entries that should be filed in different fonds, the Diversa Notariae (HR-DADU-9) or Diversa Cancellariae (HR-DADU-15). Therefore, it can be concluded that the registers from this series and from the afore mentioned two fonds contain data on public-law and private-law affairs. The documents filed in these registers provide information on all aspects of political, economic and cultural, public and private life in Dubrovnik.

The series is very important for the research of the history of the Jewish people. It provides relevant data on business and private connections of Dubrovnik Jewish people with other countries in Europe, mostly in the Southeast, then with North Africa and the Middle East, in the period from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Among the first entries in this fonds is a ketubah registered in 1593, which was translated into Italian by Didacus Pyrrhus (vol. 1, ff. 71-75). According to the data, Jews who wished to register ketubahs in the books of the Public Notary or at the Chancellery would first have those translated into Italian. Almost all translated ketubahs were registered in this series, and they were written in Dubrovnik, Split, Ancona, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Thessaloniki and Sofia. This series also shows record of the will of Mira Alfandrino from 1614 (vol. 30, ff. 55v-62) as well as the record of the only existing translation of a divorce document (gett)) from 1692, between Bianca and Gabriel Valenzin (vol. 125, ff. 39v, 40). In addition to documents of private and legal matters, many business contracts were also registered, whether signed in Dubrovnik or outside of the Dubrovnik Republic. These include, for example, contracts by Dubrovnik shochets contracts on the division of labour, or trade contracts concluded between Jewish merchants and Dubrovnik sea captains. Some of the documents worth mentioning provide evidence to a very lively participation of Jewish people in the maritime affairs of the Dubrovnik Republic, primarily through co-ownership of ships belonging to the fleet of the Republic and through the granting of various maritime loans. As for important people from the history of the Sephardim, names that especially stand out are Abraham Coen de Herrera and the descendants of the famous Dubrovnik rabbi Aron Coen. A very important document from Antwerp from 1612, which was registered in Dubrovnik a year later, at the request of Abraham Coen de Herrera, states that his Christian name was Allonso Nuñes de Herrera (vol. 26, ff. 198-200). The series also references to other members of the Coen de Herrera family, as well as a very large number of other Jews from Dubrovnik, the Apennine Peninsula and the Ottoman Empire.

Registrum citationum de foris (The register of summons to a court hearing or to a court discussion sent to addresses outside of the Dubrovnik Republic)

The series contains invitations from consuls (civil law judges) which, at the request of the plaintiff, were addressed to persons (defendants) outside the Dubrovnik Republic. These persons were asked to come to Dubrovnik for a court hearing or a court discussion within a certain period, usually 2 or 3 months. The registers of this series date the 30s of the 15th centuries, and from the period from the beginning of the 17th century till the beginning of the 19th century.

The series contains a small number of records concerning Jews, and the data in the series are relevant for the analysis of the Jewish business network in the Balkans and in the Mediterranean. Some members of Dubrovnik Jewish families are referenced to in the series, as well as some members of Jewish families living in Italian (Ancona) and Ottoman cities (Sofia, Sarajevo). The records show references to the following families: Abeatar, Azubi, Barnathan, Benvenisti, Campos, Coen, Maestro, Oef, Pappo, Pardo, Usiel. For example, in April 1652, at the request of David Maestro, who was Solomon Oef's attorney, the consuls invited Achiva Barnathan from Sofia to come to Dubrovnik within two months' time or to send his representative. He was charged with a debt to the deceased Abraham Oef (vol. 4, ff. 56v, 57).

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