[Seggiano, Italy: 1793-95].
Manuscript codex (32 x 22.5 cm.) in several hands; various paginations in 24 gatherings of unequal lengths, including additionally several miscellaneous receipts, all indicating a retrospective assemblage, headed by a summary report as reflected by the title on the first gathering; bound in vellum and tied with cords. ~ A reference account book for the crop year October 1793-September 1794 (two instances of the date 1792 may be errors) made for an agricultural estate in the Tuscan municipality Seggiano, near Siena, south of Florence. It was prepared in advance of a detailed examination or inspection, presumably commissioned by the lord of the estate, Fausto Ugurgeri (originally Ugurgieri della Berardenga), of a Siennese family well known in the area from the 9th to the 19th century. The compiler declares himself on the cover as Antonio Ciotti, likely the agricultural manager of the estate, though he may also have held some public administrative office. (Italian fattore, cognate with fattoria, farmstead) appears originally, in medieval times, to have embraced "accountant" among its meanings, but here may approach "director" or "manager," thus encompassing accountant but broader. His title Magnifico does not necessarily indicate membership in the nobility, but would seem to confer recognition of public administrative office of some sort. ~ The Ugurgeri/Ugurgieri family traced its lineage to the feudal lords Winigis, who founded the first nunnery in the region, Fontebona, in 867, as well as other religious foundations near Siena, thus installing themselves with some degree of permanence as worldly proprietors and heirs according to the traditions of the Italian city states. The name derives more specifically as a contraction of Ugo di Ruggieri, a twelfth-century descendant and Sienese consul whose long line held political sway in the centuries thereafter. Their history entwined with that of another line descended from the Winigis, the Berarda family, who consolidated even greater regional power by the thirteenth century. Hence the formal name Ugurgieri della Berardenga, by which Fausto's more immediate ancestors had been known (it is not known when the form used here was first adopted). Today there is still a fortress complex called the Palazzo degli Ugurgieri in Siena, as well as an entire comune (or township) – famous for its Chianti wines and vin santos – called Castelnuovo Berardenga. The estate holdings passed from the last of the Ugurgeri, Isabella, to one Giovanni Battista Vivarelli in the early nineteenth century, and subsequently changed hands several times, until it was purchased by the Piccolomini family of Siena after World War II. ~ Some sample headings for the accounts: First gathering [6 recto]: Canto a Vacche [Account for Cows]; Cano a Pecore [Account for Sheep]; [recto 9, not counting receipts in folder bound in]: Residovi Restati in Mano di me Ant. Ciotti di Tenuta di Seggiano Spettante al Nob[i]l[e] Sig[no]re Ugurgieri di 30 Settembre 1794. [Residuals Remaining to Hand with me Antonio Ciotti of the Seggiano Estate due the Noble Lord Ugurgeri on 30 September 1794.] Second gathering headed: Giornale al Mese d'Ottobre 1793. [Journal for the Month October 1793]; heading on page 98 (13th gathering): Note dell'Olive, che si macinevanno dai Particolari all' Oliviera di Casa Pagando di Molenda Cinque Quartucci ogni Pilata a Peso, e misure tenese di 356 il Boccale. [Notes on Olives that have been Milled Specifically for the Home Oil at a Cost of Five Quartucci [a liquid measure] by weight, and measured at 356 per tankard.] A chief purpose of the accounts was to record payments for services in cash, goods, or land use; such payments were not only noted but also indexed, as for example in the 23rd gathering, where names that are written on the first recto in a neat scribal hand appear grouped according to place number in the subsequent leaves, but recorded there as occasion arose and in some cases in evident haste (one Domenico Ferri, for instance, in group 13, was given cash (contanti) and a garden plot (una partita di suolo). ~ The accounts kept include those for maintenance of livestock (pigs, goats, sheep), for maintenance of seed crops (per mantenimento di coltivazioni semente), and for costs related to transport of animals and goods. Ciotti's personal summary of accounts payable and received – a sizeable business was conducted with both Siena and the village of Baccinello – supplies a good idea of the extent of the Estate's production, enumerating quantities of wheat, rye, farina, barley, vegetables, cheese, olive oil, walnuts, wool, and linen. It seems that Ciotti had authority to operate finances with some latitude, as even alms for the poor and religious mendicants were noted (per elemosina a più poveri e religiosi mendicanti) when the local Capuchin Friars Minor came to call (though the commitment appears to have been trivial by comparison to the generosity exhibited by Ugurgieri forbears of an earlier millennium). There are many details that await interpretation and analysis, but for modern eyes an endearing attribute might be noted, namely, that in livestock lists the affectionate names of cows are recorded (Damigella [Little Lady], Pastorella [Shepherdess], Bellarosa [Lovely Rose], Pomposella [Little Miss Grand]). CONDITION.