Aix-en-Provence - AM - AA 08, f. 005

The Favas were a family of draper-merchants who were very prominent in Marseille's civic life in the second half of the fourteenth century. Their history is well known thanks to the excellent research of the French historian, Christine Barnel. The family suffered greatly in the bouts of plague that struck Marseille in waves after the Black Death of 1348. Bernat Favas and his son Johan died in 1361, in the midst of the second coming of the plague (see their inventories in the DALME collection), and Bernat's other son, Marques, whose inventory is featured here, died in or perhaps just before the third bout, in 1373. The proceedings that led up to the compilation of the inventory of Marques's estate began in an unusual way, with the notary noting that the judge responsible for overseeing the inventory had actually made a house call to visit Marques's widow, Lady Catharina, who was pregnant.

The inventory features a number of interesting items, several of which no doubt were also listed in the inventories of Bernat and Johan, given that Marques was one of the heirs to the estates of his father and brother. Some of the more unusual objects include an adoratorium with an image of the Virgin Mary, a painted linen wall-covering for hanging behind the dining table, a game table made of cypress wood for playing backgammon or checkers and chess (ad ludendum ad tabulas et scacos), a tub in which ladies can bathe, a large bird cage, described as broken, and numerous rings and jewels. The most remarkable section describes the contents of his workshop, beginning with seventeen cartularies, described as old. After this, the notary recorded an extensive list of fabrics in descending order of value, with each phrase beginning with the length of the piece in canes (a linear measure equivalent to eight palms), then a price per cane, and finally the total value. The list reveals that Marques did business with cloth manufacturers from all over Europe. Also included in the inventory is a list of dozens and dozens of debtors, a veritable who's who of polite society at the time, presumably people whose names were listed in the shop cartulary as clients owing money for cloth purchases they had made.