Fodale, Salvatore: L’attività notarile di un “clericus” di Magonza a Catania. Johannes Riess, “secretarius” del vescovo Simone Del Pozzo, in Panarelli, Francesco et al. (Hrsg.): Von Aachen bis Akkon: Grenzüberschreitungen im Mittelalter. Festschrift für Hubert Houben zum 70. Geburtstag, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2023 (Online-Schriften des DHI Rom. Neue Reihe: Pubblicazioni online del DHI Roma. Nuova serie, Band 9), S. 289–304. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.1094.c15078

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-96822-178-6 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-179-3 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-180-9 (PDF)




Salvatore Fodale

L’attività notarile di un “clericus” di Magonza a Catania. Johannes Riess, “secretarius” del vescovo Simone Del Pozzo

Abstract The heterogeneous society of Sicily in the Late Middle Ages can be studied through an analysis of the oldest volume of „Tutt’Atti“, preserved in the Diocesan Historical Archives of Catania. It comprises the period from August 1381 to September 1392, and allows us to examine the nature and range of activities carried out by the notary Johannes Riess. He was a clericus of Mainz and worked as secretary of the Dominican bishop Simone Del Pozzo, crossing not only geographical but also institutional borders. He is known for his role during the schism as a supporter of the popes of Rome and for his opposition to the Aragonese reconquest of Sicily. Riess does not appear to be the only foreign notary being called upon to draw up episcopal acts: in Catania the acts of Bishop Marziale had been drafted by a clericus of Tournai, and in Messina Archbishop Lampugnani had in the same period used another German, from the diocese of Speyer. As secretary of the bishop, among the collations of benefices Riess mainly draws upon the bestowal of Benedictine priories, due to the monastic nature of the Catanese Church. Among the sinecures, the notarial activity relating de requie benefices in the city and in the diocese is of particular interest. The bishop exercised his ordinary authority, but was bound by the right of patronage. The endowment of these benefices was linked to the management of a huge episcopal estate, made up, in the city, of houses and shops, and in the territory of a vast landed estate, for which the notary drew up numerous emphyteusis contracts ad plantandum vineam, which implemented an agricultural policy of more intense viticulture and wine production. Episcopal concessions required Riess to record the minutes of convent assemblies, which constituted the cathedral chapter (receipts for tax collections, approval of reports, excommunications). Simone Del Pozzo issued them as general collector of the Apostolic Chamber for the whole of Sicily or as specially appointed apostolic executor. Due to his professional specialization, Johannes Riess was called upon to carry out occasional notarial activities for the bishops of Malta and Syracuse, and for the Dominican convent of Palermo. Riess’s involvement in a sphere that transcends the exclusively ecclesiastical setting is evidenced by his connections with Count Manfredi of Alagona, gran giustiziere and vicar general of the  Kingdom of Trinacria, who turned to him on important occasions, and judges of the Magna Curia, leading figures from the court of the Alagona family and the city of Catania.