Writing, controlling and auditing. The account books of small medieval portuguese town: the case of Loulé

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In contrast to the experience of many other countries, notably Spain and France, in Portugal, municipal financial and accounting ledgers have been long overlooked as important and precise re-positories of data for the study of medieval urban and economic history. Part of the reason for this has been a general paucity of sources which, however, is far from true in the case of Loulé, a small town in possession of a collection of accounting records representing the oldest and second largest such series in the country. Through an examination of this exceptional reserve, this article seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of the process of compilation and management of books of accounts in medieval Portuguese small and medium-size towns. Subjects probed include a contemplation of the municipal officials involved in town finances, the process of preparation, organisation and control of accounting ledgers, and the role of auditors and their procedures. Concluding remarks reflect on the conservation of accounting ledgers and implications for the future analysis of other book-keeping records.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1071
Number of pages45
JournalAnuario de Estudios Medievales
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2023


  • Accounts control
  • Auditing
  • Medieval municipal power
  • Medieval urban accountability
  • Medieval urban finances
  • Medieval urban history
  • Technical signs of accountability


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