Project > Presentation


Judicial Processes in early medieval societies in northern Iberia (9th-11th centuries)

The new developments currently taking place in European medievalism regarding the study of justice and the rules regulating its practice have hardly had any impact on Spanish historiography. Since the prevailing institutional approaches are somewhat unsatisfactory, the PRJ project has been designed to bridge this gap by incorporating the new proposals—rather more socially and anthropologically focused—into the research conducted on the early medieval period. This period is particularly challenging due to the few sources available and their nature, as well as to the different criteria underlying the publication of these sources. This is why a crucial part of this study was to collect and assess the available material (for further information on these challenges see Database – Methodology). The first phase of this project (PRJ1) was focused on conducting a census of all of the published documents in northern Iberia, from Portugal to Catalonia, prior to 1100, specifically identifying those containing information about disputes and/or judicial proceedings.

The outcome is a database comprising:

  • - A census of printed documents across northern Iberia until 1100. It provides year-by-year counts of these documents for the entire area.

  • - A corpus that we have termed judicial, since it includes records that contain any kind of information about the exercise of justice and the resolution of disputes. This catalogue details the date, textual transmission, authenticity, forgery or manipulation of the documents it contains, as well as a summary (regesta) of the content of each record. It is accompanied by the digitised text that can be downloaded.

The conceptual rationale for the twofold composition of this database is that the material with a broadly judicial content that has been preserved can only be assessed in relation to the rest of the existing documentation. The ultimate goal of adapting this database to an electronic use, by means of a search interface, is to enable researchers to conduct comparative studies of the processes and forms of dispute resolution in the various societies that existed in the first Christian medieval kingdoms.