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Medieval Sourcebook:
Bills of Sale for Saracen Slave Girls, 1248

In the thirteenth century Saracen slaves were being sold in Marseilles. The character of the transactions and the price at which a slave girl might be sold are indicated in the documents. In the case of Aissa there was a profit of five solidi on the second sale.


1. Bill of Sale for Purchase of one "Aissa", 1248:

May the nineteenth, in year of the Lord 1248. We, William Alegnan and Bernard Mute, of Cannet, have sold jointly in good faith and without guile to you, John Aleman, son of Peter Aleman, a certain Saracen maid of ours, commonly called Aissa, for a price of nine pounds and fifteen solidi in the mixed money now current in Marseilles.

Witnesses, etc.


2. Bill of Sale for Purchase of one "Aissa", 1248:

July the second. I, John Aleman, citizen of Marseilles, in good faith and without guile, sell and transfer to you, Peter Bertoumieu, son of the late Raymond Bertoumieu, a certain Saracen maid of ours, commonly called Aissa, for a price of ten pounds in the mixed money now current in Marseilles, which I confess to have had and to have received from you, renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc. And if the said Saracen maid is worth more at any time in the future I grant it all with the price, or I give all that extra worth to you and yours, etc.

Witnesses, etc.


From: L. Blancard, ed., Documents Inédits sur le Commerce de Marseille au Moyen Age, (Marseilles: Barlatier-Feissat, Pere et Fils, 1884), Vol. II, p. 172, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 302.

This text is part of the Internet Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, September 1998


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