Double account books in Latin and Occitan in Montpellier in the 15th century

(Joint work with Pierre-Joan Bernard, Archives municipales de Montpellier.)

In the 15th century, between 1440 and 1480, a bilingual series of account books for the City Council of Montpellier is preserved, with the same text copied in one book in Latin, and in the other in Occitan. The notaries of the Consulat (City Council) are keeping these two series of registers. The Latin one serves as a minute-book of the mandates and receipts, linked to a larger book containing the decisions of the consulate, while the Occitan one is for the use of the clavari (financial officer of the City Council, elected with the consuls). This archivistic specificity demonstrates the complexity of Montpellier’s City Council administration, in particular the major role played by the notary of the Consulat at the very centre of the system. It also shows the games of power around the usage of different languages in the Council’s written records, Latin being the language of the notary, while Occitan is the language of the consuls, and French the language of the King playing a disturbing role in that game of power.