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Betwixt centre and periphery. The episcopal principate of Trento (15th-18th centuries) via the Libri copiali


Coordinator: Cecilia Nubola
Collaborators: Cristina Belloni, Christian Bonazza, Claudio Ferlan, Marco Stenico.

The Libri copiali - 17 registers in Series I and 120 registers/volumes in Series II - contain documentation of the political, administrative and legal affairs of the Consiglio Aulico, the main organ of temporal government in Trento’s Episcopal Principate.
Series I of the Libri copiali records the early phases of the episcopal chancellery as it formed. The dates of Volume One (1488-1499) fall within the first phase when this was being set up and organised, while the later volumes cover much of the 16th and 17th centuries, albeit with broad gaps. The series is thus an important source showing how the episcopal principate developed politically and institutionally over a key period in its history. This marks a transition from a still markedly medieval structure to one that was closer in organization to a modern state; in parallel development, the organizations of government became gradually more structured.

Series II of the Libri Copiali contains the correspondence in and out of the Trento Consiglio Aulico from 1730 to 1801, as handled by the episcopal chancellery. Prominent and frequent among this documentation are confirmations of statutes, charters of rules and privileges for rural communities; the granting of privileges to the nobility, issuing of licences to practice professions (patenti di notariato), passports and safe-conduts; appointment of bailiffs and administrators acting for the bishopric, both centrally and peripherally; hunting and fishing regulations, public law and order, customs dues, price-calming tariffs, currency and military affairs. Files on legal activities enable one to trace the development of lawsuits. The documents also contain individual pleas and community petitions on controversial issues. On the history of the Principate’s “foreign policy” there is a voluminous correspondence with the Tyrolean jurisdictions situated in the Trentino, the Milan State, the Republic of Venice, the Gubernium of the Innsbruck Tyrol, the imperial Directorium of Vienna, the Regency (Regierung) of Innsbruck, organs and officials of the Tyrolean and imperial government, the Chamber and imperial courts, the Emperor-Empress.
This documentation provides matter for study and dissemination via seminars, meetings and publications. It covers the institutional history of the episcopal principate with its organs of government and local elites (Consiglio Aulico, the Prince-Bishop’s chancelleries, peripheral and local institutions). Analysis of the topics it includes will also enable a new social and material history of our territory to be written.

The 3-year project aims to inventory and appraise (for archival and historiographic content) the documents in the archive section Libri Copiali, Series I (1487-1671) and II (1730-1801) forming part of theTrento episcopal principate Archive, housed in the Trento State Archives.

Sunday, January 1, 2012 to Thursday, December 31, 2015

Soprintendenza per i beni librari, archivistici e archeologici della provincia autonoma di Trento, Archivio di Stato di Trento

Project financed by PAT