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Decyphering this handwritten antique French legal document/curio
January 31, 2014 10:39 PM   Subscribe

I need some help in translating further a curio I purchased recently - a short handwritten legal document (approx. 100 words) from Toulouse France, dated year 1672. My paid help has given up, so I am appealing to you!

Scans of the actual document, plus the translation effort so far, can be found on my webpage:

The absolute latest translation text is found in italics immediately preceding the large picture. (Adding English text to that picture in GIMP is a chore, so I don't do it often.) My webpage shows all the information I have, but I will add the last 2 lines might refer either to "double copies" or to "double payment" as in double-or-nothing. Just a guess, tho.

I will try to update my webpage in a timely manner. All input is welcome!
posted by 2ears1mouth0brain to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My own french is in no way up to doing this but I'll send it to all my francophone friends in Belgium. One or other may be able to help, though it may take a while to get any kind of response.
posted by IncognitoErgoSum at 4:33 AM on February 1

I don't have time to puzzle over this for long, but I'm pretty sure that line 2 begins "a Tolose" (Toulouse) and that line 9 ends "fait a Tolose le". The family name in the third line is "Robert" (early modern French hands often omit the cross on the letter t), and I'm also fairly certain that the third line begins "contraindre," not "convaincre." "Condé du Roy" makes no sense (the Montagut family were not related to the Condés, of the house of Bourbon); I'd guess that the line above the last letter indicates that it's an abbreviation, possibly for "Commis." I can make out some other words here and there, but not enough to make complete sense of the text. The texts I work with are usually much better written than this, and I work with scientific manuscripts, not legal ones. I'll see whether any of my social historian friends can make heads or tails of it.
posted by brianogilvie at 9:38 AM on February 1

I can't decipher the handwriting either, but espices would be the épices, which was money you had to pay to a judge, so 19 l. 10 d. for that.

"fait en double" would refer to two copies made. It's a pretty common way to end a legal/official document.. "fait à [place] ce [date]".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:10 PM on February 1

Ooh, some responses already - thank you! I agree the handwriting is very difficult to read. Aside from being a nicely-framed art piece, I am keen to discover more about the actual determination - which requires the translation, of course.

I also note a reference to sum "19 l. 10 s. + 6 s. 8 d." on the obverse - so a few more words to hunt for.

I'll attempt to redo my homepage image to make adding the translation text inline easier.
posted by 2ears1mouth0brain at 11:12 PM on February 1

The last word of line 6 is "ce jour d'hui", ie "aujourd'hui".

Try finding a board for "paléographie" to ask for help. You'll find one on, but it's mostly for genealogical documents, though you can try.
posted by snakeling at 4:09 AM on February 3

Thanks for the hint.
P.S. Line 9 might contain Orleans??
P.P.S. A source told me there could be some Latin words present (line 1 perhaps??)
posted by 2ears1mouth0brain at 10:46 PM on February 3

I see I have opened for myself a can of worms..
posted by 2ears1mouth0brain at 12:58 AM on February 4

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