Movable goods of durability and value as well as immovable goods were subject to hire. In the troublous times of the seventh crusade (Louis IX) Italian merchants utilized the opportunity to follow in the wake of the armies for the sake of trade, and a suit of armor was a necessity. The rental in this instance was almost 25 per cent of the value.
July twenty-seventh. In the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 1248.
I, Bonfils Manganelli, of Gaeta, acknowledge and confess to you, Atenoux Pecora, of Gaeta, that I have taken and received from you a certain suit of armor at a rent of seventeen solidi in mixed money now current in Marseilles, which seventeen solidi I have already paid you, renouncing all claims, etc. This armor I should take on the next voyage I am to make across the sea, for the price mentioned, at your risk and for your profit, going across the sea and returning to Marseilles. But if, on the completion of the said voyage, I should make another voyage with the said armor, I promise to pay you by this agreement, as hire for the said armor, one augustal of gold, and on the return from the said voyage to pay you that augustal and to return the armor or its value, namely seventy solidi in mixed money now current in Marseilles, if by chance the armor should be lost through my fault. Or I promise to bring the said armor to your profit under pledge of all my goods, present and future, renouncing the protection of all laws, etc. Witnesses, etc.
From: L. Blancard, ed., Documents Inédits sur le Commerce de Marseille au Moyen Age, (Marseilles: Barlatier-Feissat, Pere et Fils, 1884), Vol. II, p. 305, in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 110-111.
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© Paul Halsall, September 1998