IRHT_050564-p.jpg

Terence, Comedies. Gnathon leading a slave. (Tours - BM - ms. 0924 f. 16v)

Item consignavit et posuit in dicto inventario quandam sclavam dicte hereditatis vocatam Annam.

The object featured this month is not an object. The phrase refers to an enslaved woman called "Anna" who formed part of the Jacobus Martini's estate. There was an active trade in chattel slaves in the region of the Mediterranean Sea in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the second half of the fourteenth century, most slaves coming to Marseille had been seized in the Black Sea region and included Tartars and Circassians. Most were women who were forced to perform both domestic and sexual labor. As Anna's name suggests, she had probably been converted to Christianity following her capture by slavers. This was perfectly compatible with papal law at the time, which permitted the enslavement and conversion of anyone who was not Roman Catholic. The object phrase referring to Anna was not presented alongside other domestic objects. Instead, it is found in the section of the inventory where the compiler of the inventory listed landed property and ground rents. Evidently, Anna was categorized with other valuable parcels of real estate. Most slaves in Marseille were manumitted after ten or fifteen years' service; some were freed by way of testamentary manumission. This is one of two instances of slaves found to date in the Marseille collection, although slaves are not uncommon in Florentine inventories.