Alayseta Paule, the daughter of Bertrandus Pauli, a resident of one of Marseille's suburbs, appears in court. She explains to the judge that her father had died in the terrible plague the previous year. He wrote a testament dated the 15th of March, 1348, in which he named Alaseta Paul, his wife, as his heir, and named Alayseta and Johanna, his daughters, as substitute heirs in equal parts in the event of their mother's death. Given the fact that Alayseta was more than a year overdue in requesting an inventory of her father's estate, she felt it necessary to explain the reason for the delay to the judge. What follows is an extraordinary description of the lived experience of the Black Death. Shortly after her father's death, her mother died, as did her sister Johanna and her husband, leaving Alayseta all alone in the world, pregnant, and in anguish and sorrow. Humbly and tearfully, she requested the judge's permission to carry out the inventory. Carefully considering the request, the judge responded that hardly anyone was able to take care of his own business during those difficult times, let alone the business of others, and grants her request. Since the Paul family did their business with the notary Jacobus Aycardi, we have access to the testaments made by Bertrandus Pauli; Hugo Porrate, husband of Alayseta Paule; and Bertrandus's wife Alaseta Paule, mother of Alayseta (see ADBR 355 E 1, folios 51r-53v, 73r-74v, and 75v-77v). In the testament of Bertrandus Pauli, we learn that Alayseta's sister, Johanneta, is "inpotens," meaning physically or mentally incapacitated in some way. Hugo Porrate, in his testament, named as his heir his unborn child, whether a boy or a girl. The Paul family was reasonably well off for a peasant family and are mentioned in about a dozen contracts in this register and elsewhere.

  • Record type: Inventory-Postmortem
  • Date: 30 August, 1349
  • Locale: Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
  • Language(s): Latin
  • Named person(s): Bertrandus Pauli
  • Archival location: Archives municipales de la ville de Marseille, Register 1 II 44
  • Extent: 4 Folios (paper, register - quarto)

Edited by Daniel Lord Smail.
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