Fashion in the Age of Datini

Rules of the Crossbow-Makers of Venice

Author: The crossbow-makers of Venice
Original Language: Latin
Place of Composition: Venice
Date of Composition: before September 1278 to February 1307/1308 (years in the late middle ages often started on 25 March)
Source of Text: Giovanni Monticolo (ed.), I capitolari delle arti veneziane: sottoposte alla giustizia e poi alla giustizia vecchia dalle origini al MCCCXXX (Roma: Tipografo del Senato, 1896) pp. 171-180
Source of Translation: My own 2020
Conditions of Use: Please give me credit for transcribing this text. Please give me credit for the translation and ask permission before quoting in print.

In May and June 2020 I am transcribing and translating this text one or two paragraphs per week (paragraphs 3 and following just have summaries or rough drafts). If you want to see more, please support my work on patreon or or even liberapay

The print edition has extensive notes in the margins about the manuscript, and below the text in Italian suggesting how to interpret specific clauses or similar passages in other texts. I have left those out of this edition.

Original Translation
I. Iuro ad evangelia sancta Dei quod omnes ballistas quas laboravo vel laborare fecero, vendam vel vendi fatiam cum suo nomine(1) et dicam veritatem si erunt de cornibus stambicorum(2) vel de aliis cornibus, omnes pro suo nomine de quo sunt. et omnes ballistas quas fecero vel laborare fecero de cornibus stambicorum, non mittam nec mitti faciam in ipsis de aliis cornibus nisi de stanbicis. et si sciero quod aliquis de ista arte fecerit contra ordinem suprascriptum et non habeat factum hoc sacramentum, quam cicius potero iusticiariis manifestabo(3). 1: I swear on the sacred gospels of God that I will sell or have sold all crossbows which I have worked or have had worked with their proper name, and I shall speak truly whether they are of steinbock (alpine ibex) horn or of other horns, all for their own name from which they are. And all crossbows which I have made or have had worked of steinbock horn, I shall not set nor have set into them anything of other horns except of steinbocks. And if I should know that anyone else of this art has made something contrary to the above ordinance and has not made this sacrament, I shall make this known to the Justicars as soon as I am able.
II. Hec omnia attendam bona fide sine fraude, nisi remanserit per maiorem partem iusticiariorum. 2: I will pay attention to all these things in good faith without fraud, unless they should be discontinued by the greater part of the Justicars.
III. Item, ballista veterem non potest conciare si cornum fractum est; si lectum vero mittatur totum, et etiam si aliud lectum non mittatur, illa ballista nichil valet et non debeat conçari(6). 3rd item: an old crossbow cannot be repaired if the horn is broken: if the bed is really completely gone, and if also another bed cannot be gone, that crossbow is worth nothing and may not be repaired.
{start of page 172} IIII. Item, nullus magister sit ausus facere et ballista de cornum de beco, sed in tenet mittere potest. 4th item: no master shall be so bold as to make a crossbow of buck (beco: some kind of male cervid) horn, but/unless he is able to put in tenet (in tenure?)
V. Item, nulla ballista bastarda aliquis magister conçare potest. 5th item, no master shall be able to repair any bastard crossbow whatsoever.
VI. Item, si aliquis aportaverit ballistam occasione conçiandum et postea voluerit conçare, unusquisque ballistarus facere teneatur signum suum ⁜ super illud ballistam. 6th item: if anyone has brought in a crossbow for repair (conciare-ing), and afterwards wants it repaired, every single crossbow-maker shall be held to make his own sign ⁜ upon that crossbow.
VII. Anno(3) Domini millesimo .CCCIIII., indicione tercia, die .XXIIII. februarii, tempore dominorum Marini Busenago, Phylipi {start of page 173} de Fontana et Andree Marcello iusticiariorum veterum, ordinatum fuit et firmatum per eosdem quod a modo aliquis balisterius non audeat vel presumat ponere vel poni facere aliquo modo vel ingenio aliquam clavem vel stapham de carevana in aliquo {start of page 174} balisto, sub pena soldorum .V. pro qualibet stapha et totidem pro clavi posita vel positis in balisto, contrafacienti. et nichilominus soluta pena teneatur magister dicti balisti ipsam clavem et stapham removere a balisto, retinendo ipsas in se, et alias bonas ponere ad suas expensas. 7. In the Year of the Lord 1304, third indiction, 24th day of February, in the time of Lords Justicars of Elders Marino Busenago, Philipo de Fontana and Andrea Marcello, it was ordained and established by them that no crossbow-maker shall dare or presume to put or have put in any way or nature any trigger or stirrup from a caravan in any arbalest, on pain of 5 soldi from the counterfeiter for each stirrup and the same for each trigger placed or ordered to be placed in any arbalest. And in addition, after having paid the penalty the master of the aforesaid arbalest shall be held to remove that same trigger and stirrup from the arbalest, keeping them for himself, and place other good ones at his own expense.
VIII. Item, quod aliquis magister balisterius non audeat ponere vel poni facere aliquam nucem in aliquo balisto que non habeat refollum reveditum in vivo nucis de subtus, sub pena soldorum .X. pro quolibet balisto in quo dictus ordo servatus non fuerit et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti. et nichilominus soluta pena teneatur dictus magister ipsam nucem extrahere et aliam bonam ponere ad suas expensas. 8th item: that no master crossbow-maker shall dare to put or have put any nut in any arbalest which does not have a sear fastened (refollum reveditum) in the quick of the nut from below, on pain of 10 soldi from the counterfitter for every arbalest in which the aforesaid ordinance has not been respected, and for every offense. And in addition to paying the penalty, the said master shall be held to take out that nut and put in another good one at his own expense.
VIIII. Insuper, quod quilibet predictorum debeat laborare sive plicare omnem fustem de balisto cum sepone et non cum aqua(2), {start of page 175} sub pena soldorum .XX. pro quolibet fusto sive arcu et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti. 9: In addition, that each of the aforesaid ought to work or fold every stave (fustis) of an arbalest with soap (sepone) and not with water, on pain of 20 soldi for each stave or bow and for every offense (vice) from the counterfitter.
X. Item, quod aliquis predictorum non debeat colorare aliquem tenerium de balisto sive mutare eum de suo colore proprio antequam ipsum vendat, sub pena soldorum .V. pro quolibet tenerio et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti; verum quod hoc licite facere possit postquam fuerit venditum, ad voluntatem emptoris. 10th item: that none of the aforesaid shall colour any tiller (tenerius) of an arbalest or change it from its own proper colour before he sells it, on pain of 5 soldi for each tiller and for every offense from the counterfitter; nevertheless, this may be done rightfully after it has been sold, on the desire of the buyer. ←
XI. Item, quod non debeat fieri per aliquem predictorum aliqua corda, nec ponere in balisto, nisi fuerit de spago comuni vel de tam bono vel meliori, et de canipo et non de lino, sub pena soldorum .V. pro qualibet corda et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti. 11th item: that no string (corda) shall be made by any of the aforesaid, nor put on an arbalest, unless it is of common twine (spago comuni) or something as good or better, and of hemp not of linen, on pain of 5 soldi for each string and for every offense from the counterfitter.
XII. Preterea, quod quilibet magister debeat fecere suum signum proprium in balistis, tam in arcu quam in tenerio, prout signatum est ad camaram iusticiariorum, nec aliquis audeat contrafacere signum alicuius, sub pena soldorum .V. pro quolibet arcu et tenerio non signato(2). 12: Additionally, that every master ought to make his own proper sign on crossbows, on the bow as well as on the tiller, just like the sign is at the chamber of justicars, nor shall anyone dare to counterfit anyone else’s sign, on pain of 5 soldi for each bow and tiller not signed.
XIII. ‖Item, quod aliquis predictorum non audeat ligare vel ligari facere aliquem arcum rotundum in aliquo tenerio nisi colaverit vel innervaverit ipsi arcui unum scanellum bene et diligenter, sub pena soldorum .V. pro quolibet arcu et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti. 13th item: That none of the aforesaid shall dare to bind or have bound any round bow in any tiller unless he has glued it or sinewed the same bow one scanellum well and diligently, on pain of 5 soldi for each bow and for every offense from the counterfitter.
{start of page 176} XIIII. Insuper, non audeat aliquis predictorum innervare vel innervare facere aliquem arcum nisi fuerit de duobus vel tribus fustis, nec in testis vel in aliquo alio loco preter scanellum, nisi primo ipsum vendiderit, sub pena soldorum .X. pro quolibet arcu et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti; verum quod postquam venditum fuerit, innervari possit ad voluntatem ementis. 14: In addition, that none of the aforesaid shall dare to sinew (innervare) or have sinewed any bow unless it is of two or three staves (fustes), neither in the heads or in any other place besides the scanellum, unless he has sold it already, on pain of 10 soldi for each bow and for every offense from the counterfitter; but certainly, after it has been sold, it may be sinewed as the buyer wishes.
XV. Item, quod nullus predictorum audeat vendere vel vendi facere aliquod tenerium sine traffitta posita in ipso tenerio, antequam balistum ligetur, sub pena soldorum .V. pro quolibet et pro qualibet vice contrafacienti. et quicumque de omnibus et singulis supradictorum accusaverit, habeat medietatem pene si per eius accusationem veritas cognoscetur. 15th item, that none of the aforesaid shall dare to sell or have sold any tiller without a traffitta placed in that same tiller, before the arbalest is bound, on pain of 5 soldi for each (tiller) and for every offense from the counterfitter, and whoever has accused (someone) about each and every of the things said above, shall keep half the penalty if by his accusation the truth should become known.
XVI. Insuper, ut omnia et singula predictorum continue observentur, ordinaverunt domini supradicti quod debeat fieri in arte ista tres suprastantes boni et legales omni sancto Michaele mutandi; qui suprastantes sacramento teneantur temptare omnes stationes balisteriorum et balista eorum, tenerios, arcus, claves, staphas, nuces, et cordas, et omnia ad artem predictam pertinencia omni mensi semel ad minus, et plus si eis videbitur, et in eo capitulo in quo aliquem contrafecisse invenerint, penam ibi scriptam remoto {start of page 177} amore et odio accipiant, habentes ipsi suprastantes medietatem pene si per eius accusationem veritas cognoscetur. 16th: In addition, so that each and every of the aforesaid shall be observed henceforth, the aforesaid lords have ordained that there ought to be in this art three overseers, good and legal, changing every St. Michael (ie. Michaelmas in September?); which overseers shall be held by oath (sacramento) to examine (temptare) all workshops (stationes) of crossbow- makers and their crossbows, tillers (tenerios), bows (arcus), triggers (claves), stirrups (staphas), nuts (nuces), strings (cordas), and all the things pertinent to the aforesaid art at least once a month, and more if it seems fit to them, and if they should find something that violates one of the chapters, they shall collect the penalty written in that chapter without favouritism or hatred, these overseers keeping half the penalty if the truth becomes known because of their accusation.
XVII. even more rows row will go here there are 26 items XVII. yes they sure will when I have time there are many items

The “dummy maker’s mark” is called U+205C ⁜ DOTTED CROSS in Unicode. If you read Latin and are more used to classical texts, Du Cange’s entries for conciare 1 (also in TLIO under conciare) and nihilominus … will be helpful.

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