Histoire & Sociétés Rurales 39 (2013), 1

RHN 80/2013 | Publication


Un homme et des paysages. Hommage à Robert Fossier (1927-2012)
Laurent Feller and Catherine Verna
pp. 7-16

Les négociants du Lauragais au début du e siècle au miroir des actes de la pratique
Marie-Claude Marandet 

pp. 17-42

Abstract: Through notarial records from Lauragais, we can rediscover a group of merchants who were active in Roussillon and in the Earldom of Empúries at the beginning of the 15th century, selling pastel to dyers. These traders also sold all kinds of goods, especially cloth, which they often put out to be woven with wool they had bought or gotten from their own flocks. They reinvested their capital in their own businesses, but also used it to buy landed property (houses, pastel mills, agricultural estates). They generally also profited from loaning practices ; the credit they extended was used by its beneficiaries as a survival tool in most cases, rather than in the course of trade. Their debtors sometimes cancelled their debts by setting up rents drawn from their lands and paid over to their creditors, but they also would simply sell over their holdings to the latter at a discount. All this explains why these merchants often held significant wealth, which can be quantified tanks to the religious and charitable bequests they made when writing their last will and testaments, and to the dowries they constituted for their daughters. Like jurists, these traders were consuls of their city, appraisers, leaseholders of township lands, baillifs of brotherhoods, and some of their trading families eventually gained access to the nobility a few decades later.

Les démêlés d’Olivier de Serres avec son imprimeur. À propos d’un contrat d’impression du Théâtre d’Agriculture et d’une édition pirate
Bernard Vidal
pp. 43-69

Abstract: The famous agronomist Olivier de Serres had a rocky relationship with Abraham Saugrain, who printed several of the Paris editions of Théâtre d’agriculture et mesnage des champs. The rediscovery of the publishing contract for the second edition of this work, and of a hitherto unknown pirated edition, bring to light in great detail the issues over which an author and a publisher could come to clash. Three other, different versions, also hitherto unknown and dated 1608, show how Saugrain maneuvered to protect his profit and avoid paying the author. We can thus offer a definitive account of the process through which the Théâtre d’agriculture was printed, and how costly and hazardous this process turned out to be.

Faire « mauvais ménage » au village. Les violences conjugales dans les campagnes poitevines (1650-1790)
Gwénaël Murphy 

pp. 71-95

Abstract: From the second half of the 17th century on, matrimony underwent a long, drawn-out process of secularization. Church courts slowly lost control over issues connected to it, which were transferred to lay jurisdictions, especially seigniorial ones. While the sacrament of matrimony remained almost impossible to dissolve up until the legalization of divorce in 1792, the civil contract between spouses could be terminated through a procedure of separation as to bodies and property. Such proceedings made up 1 to 2% of all judicial activities in the province of Poitou from 1650 to 1790, including both urban and rural seigniorial courts. The study of these proceedings disproves the idea, widespread in contemporary printed sources, that rural wives tolerated violent behavior and remained indifferent to « ill use » dished out by the husbands they wanted to be separated from. Besides, testimonies from wives and other witnesses outline a hierarchy, both in the violent attacks they were subjected to and in the causes of complaints, which did differ in town and country for sociological reasons. Lastly, these legal proceedings allow us to come closer to the emotions contained or expressed, sometimes turning into a public outcry, which were generated by husbands’ attacks and their progressive criminalization during the 18th century.

L’élevage des taureaux de combat dans la vallée du Guadalquivir. Une spécialisation économique (XVIIIe-XXIe siècle)
Antonio Luis López Martínez 

pp. 97-125

Abstract: In Spain, around 500,000 ha. are devoted to raising fighting bulls, which comes to over 3 % of the total cultivated land of the country, and almost 8% of its meadows and pastures. In spite of the lack of transparency of the industry, the amount of subsidy received can be estimated at some 2 million euros a year, generating tens of thousands of direct and indirect job creations. In spite of its weight, however, the economy of this particular branch has generated very little research at the University level. The Gualdaquivir valley hosts approximately a third of all pastoral farming businesses in Spain. Most of the most prestigious breeding farms were created there, a fruit of the long tradition of raising fighting bulls in the area. In spite of its antiquity, this tradition has undergone a series of transformations, either because of evolutions taking place in bullfighting itself, such as the development of the torero on foot or the process of regulation of corridas, or because of external elements such as the transformation of dry farming in the Andalusian latifundia, the selling of mortmain property, or the modernization of agriculture in the region.

Une mise au point delicate. Comment fabriquer une herse?
Jean-Paul Bourdon
pp. 127-144

Abstract: Building a harrow to cover wheat seedings in the North of France was not as easy as one would think. Building and perfecting the tool required highly elaborated materials, adjusted with a high degree of precision by the carpenter. The blacksmith had to make the teeth one by one, plant them in the frame, and, in a moment of truth, make sure the harrow was perfectly balance. To show the extent to which this animal-powered tool had reached a high level of sophistication over the centuries, one must retrace in detail every step of its construction, based on testimonies gathered in the late 1970s. Even in an area where agriculture was characterized by small, poorly productive landholdings, users could not content themselves with a harrow which would not perform as it was supposed to. Indeed, the way the harrow moves is highly specific; it does not merely follow whatever animal draws it, it progresses snake-like. The whole endeavour thus depended on the know-how of rural craftsmen.

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