Agent roles and transaction types

This page provides some additional information on types of agents and the transactions with which they are usually associated.

Agent roles

Object of transaction - an individual (usually of unfree status) or religious institution (e.g.. a church, monastery, cell) transacted as a possession.

Agent roles responsible for flows of possession

Administrative authority - an agent with the authority to tax or levy.

Buyer - an agent who is the purchaser in a sale transaction.

Co-granter - used for an agent who appears in a transaction beside the main granter but is not explicitly said to grant the possessions in question.

Debtor - the recipient of a possession in a loan transaction.

Exchanger - an agent (or several agents acting together as a single party) involved in a transaction of exchange.

Granter - an agent who donates property in a grant transaction or leases property in a lease transaction.

Holder - an agent who is an owner or tenant who is mentioned in a charter as possessing property.

Labourer - an individual (free or unfree) who is required in a transaction to provide labour services.

Lender - the granter of possessions in a loan transaction (NB the agent giving property in a lease is a granter).

Levy payer - an agent required to pay any kind of tax, toll or levy.

Litigant - an agent who is involved in a dispute.

Precarial granter - a granter specifically giving precarial land; see precaria in glossary.

Precarist - the recipient of a precarial grant.

Recipient - a beneficiary who receives property in a grant or a lessor who receives property in a lease.

Vendor - a seller in a sale transaction.

Agent roles responsible for charter production

Dictator - an agent who either provides a scribe with a draft (dictatum) of a document or reads aloud (ex ore) the provisions of a document.

Issuer - an agent not otherwise involved in a charter's proceedings who plays a role in the drawing up of a document.

Recognitor - an agent explicitly described as recognising (recognosco) a charter.

Scribe - an agent explicitly said to have written a charter.

Witness - any individual who witnesses a charter, whether designated explicitly (as a testis), shown as signing a document, or simply listed at the end of a charter without qualification. NB An agent who has another role in a charter (e.g. granter, precarist, exchanger, scribe) is not included as a witness.

Agent roles present at transactions

Confirmer - an agent who confirms possessions or transactions in a confirmation transaction.

Consenter - an agent who is explicitly described as consenting to a transaction, but cannot be considered a co-granter.

Dispute witness - an agent who gives evidence in a dispute transaction, but is not declared to have sworn an oath (cf. oath-swearer).

Executor - an agent in a testament who is appointed to execute the testator's will.

Judicial authority - an agent who has the authority to transfer others' possessions in a confiscation, restoration or dispute; or sometimes an agent who appears as an actor in a dispute with a non-specific role.

Oath-swearer - a participant in a dispute who testifies on a litigant's behalf and swears an oath.

Party - an agent involved in an agreement transaction, used when no more specific role can be deduced.

Petitioner - an agent who requests or intercedes on the behalf of a granter or recipient in the business of a transaction.

Surety - an agent who acts as a guarantor for a party in any transaction. Includes sub-category 'hostage'.

Witness of transaction - an agent who is said to have witnessed only certain transactions contained within a charter.

Agent roles not linked to locations

Addressee - a named agent to whom a charter is addressed, but who plays no direct role in the transaction.

Manager - an agent who orders or supervises farm labour.

Mentioned in charter - an agent who is named but otherwise plays no role in a document's proceedings.

Object of transferred rights - an agent who plays a purely passive role in a charter, such as a woman over whom rights of mundium (see glossary) are transferred.

Spiritual first-party beneficiary - used when an agent specifically states that a transaction has been carried out for the good of his/her soul.

Third-party beneficiary - a third-party agent who receives material or spiritual benefits from a transaction.

NB A number of agent roles (administrative authority, buyer, granter, precarial granter, holder, litigant, recipient, exchanger, recognitor, scribe, witness of charter, judicial authority, confirmer and petitioner) are included in both (acting) and (represented) forms. This distinction is necessary to indicate when, for example, an institution is the recipient of a grant, but its abbot or bishop has been the individual who has acted on behalf of the institution. Alternatively, some charters include a judgement on Charlemagne's authority that has been handed down by an agent acting on his behalf. Browsing for specific agent roles in the database can be restricted to the 'acting' and 'represented' sub-categories, or you can include both by browsing for (e.g.) all granters or judicial authorities.

Transaction types

Agreement - distinguished from a dispute by its lack of a third-party overseer (a judicial authority or other mediator). An 'Agreement' transaction indicates the parties involved but does not list the associated possessions, while an 'Agreement outcome' (grant or possession) shows the results.

Confirmation - an endorsement or renewal of a previous transaction or pre-existing possession, agreement or other right.

Confiscation - used to show a judicial authority taking away a possession from a holder.

Dispute - any kind of transaction which is explicitly contested by another party, and for which a charter records a judgement being made in the case. The main transaction type 'Dispute' states the parties (litigants) and the possessions involved. For the various claims made by the different parties, these are 'Alleged' transactions. 'Dispute outcome' transactions give the results of the process as recorded by the charter.

Exchange - a trade of possessions between two exchangers; distinguished from a sale because it involves the return of land rather than moveable objects.

Grant - a transfer of material or immaterial possessions from one party to another.

Lease - a granter transfers property to a recipient with restricted rights of possession. Distinguished from a precarial grant by a lack of evidence that the property had previously belonged to the recipient.

Loan - an agent (lender) lends a possession to a recipient (debtor), with a security as a return.

Manumission - a formal act releasing an unfree person from servitude.

Possession - normally used in 'also mentioned' transactions showing an agent (holder) holding property.

Precarial grant - see precaria in glossary; 'Precarial grant (initial grant)' shows the transfer of the possessions from a granter to the recipient, and 'Precarial grant (leaseback)' records the transfer of the possession back from the recipient (precarial granter) to the granter (precarist).

Restoration - used to show a judicial authority returning a possession to a holder.

Sale - used to show an agent (vendor) transferring possessions to a recipient (buyer) and then receiving a one-off return of money and/or moveables.