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'Nicolaus Notarius Parserini': A supplement to knowing about the institution of the nomik in medieval Serbia

Author(s): Bubalo Đorđe

Journal: Zbornik Radova Vizantološkog Instituta
ISSN 0584-9888

Volume: 2008;
Issue: 45;
Start page: 231;
Date: 2008;
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The sources that refer to nomiks, the notaries of medieval Serbia, are scarce. Therefore, any new item of information discovered about them is invaluable. (All the known data about the nomiks and their documents have been collected and analyzed in the study by Đ. Bubalo, The Serbian Nomiks Special Editions of the Institute for Byzantine Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Bk. 29, Belgrade 2004) A document in Latin from Kotor (1368), which I obtained through the kindness of academician Sima Ćirković, mentions Nicolaus notarius Parserini and his instrumentum publicum. The instrumentum of Nikola the 'notary' is a court ruling pronounced by the Serbian king, Vukašin, in a dispute between two inhabitants of Kotor regarding an unpaid debt. The verdict was pronounced in Prizren on November 1, 1367. In Latin and Italian sources, there is only one instance of a Serbian nomik being called a notary, in a Dubrovnik document dating from 1403 - notar de Nouaberda. Nicolaus notarius Parserini would be the other known case. It is very likely that Nicolaus notarius Parserini was the same person as the Namikâ Nikolañd Matéré Božií prizrénâské (nomik Nikola of the Blessed Virgin of Prizren), known to scientific circles from 1872, when the only surviving document by him was published. The fact that the name, the town and the period are identical, and that the person was a notary, supports this assumption. Nikola was the nomik of the Prizren Metropolitanate. The data in the Kotor document indicates that church nomiks wrote out documents dealing with legal affairs not only connected with the Church but also where the participants were laymen. Before the discovery of this document, by analogy with the competences of the Byzantine church nomiks, the aforesaid was only assumed to be a possibility. The people of Kotor were strictly forbidden by their city statute to take their mutual disputes to the court of the Serbian ruler. That is why the person found guilty in the court of King Vukašin presented a lawsuit against his compatriot in Kotor. The principal evidence of culpability was the verdict pronounced by the court of King Vukašin, which was written in Prizren by the nomik, Nikola. It is known that the documents of the Serbian nomiks had no weight as evidence in the Adriatic coastal communities, where the western type of notary prevailed. Similarly, the people of Kotor were forbidden in their mutual disputes to present Serbian documents as the means of proof. The use of a document written by a nomik, as evidence in the dispute between the two inhabitants of Kotor, did not represent a violation of this ban. The ruling by the court of King Vukašin in this case, did not serve the party in the dispute to prove his rights. Here, it was a kind of corpus delicti, 'an object' that proved culpability.
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