Cei care uită trecutul sunt condamnaţi să îl repete (George Santayana, 1863-1952)
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Scripta mechanicorum: Craftsmen and Writing Praxis in Medieval Transylvania (15th-16th Centuries) - Preliminary Considerations


Lidia GROSS

Abstract:
This topic concerning the writing praxis within the community of craftsmen – more specifically, Transylvanian guilds and brotherhoods, is not thoroughly investigated by modern historiography. The present study aims to bring forward the data encompassed in specific trade writs, such as guild statutes and regulations, account books, registers, and answer a set of specific questions: when was the written word of use to craftsmen? Who wrote, in which language and for whom? As craftsmen and tradesmen became an urban elite, how important was literacy for them, for their social environment, for the development of vernacular languages and for the secular aspect of writing? Setting in written form the ancient customs, maintained as oral rules and regulations, was an important step forward in the process of assigning juridical value to the documents issued by lay organizations. The author intends to present an overview of these complex aspects, merely an introduction to the subject, based on preserved written documents of the artisan guilds from Sibiu, Brasov and Cluj.
Keywords:
writing praxis, craftsmen, tradesmen, urban elite