Cei care uită trecutul sunt condamnaţi să îl repete (George Santayana, 1863-1952)
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INSTITUTUL "G. BARIŢIU"

Hearing, Writing:
Uses of the Spoken and Written Word in Last Wills and Testaments


Mária Lupescu MAKÓ

Abstract:
Late medieval and early modern testamentary practice was the result of a gradual development of several legal systems which were made to fit the needs and interests of various social groups, and therefore often contradicted each other. The significance of this process is that from a very early phase, literacy and orality were both present in making wills, but even if the role of literacy increased, it never became exclusive. Oral forms and practices were maintained in the formulation and execution of last wills up to our times. Therefore, testaments can provide a good example for investigating the coexistence and combined use of written and oral communication in a situation which was extreme and inevitable for the individual – the testator, and crucial for the community – the survivors. This is what we shall try to trace first, mainly on the basis of noble wills from sixteenth century Transylvania. However, a great attention will be paid to the different aspects of the writing process of the last wills and testaments.
Keywords:
noble testaments, Transylvania, orality, literacy, sixteenth century