Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2009 Abigail N. Agresta. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Medieval Studies Program

First Advisor

Stephen P. Bensch


In her thesis, Agresta analyses wills from Castello d’Empuries in 1286-1363, challenging the assumption that these wills represent the true, final concerns of the dying. Agresta argues that these documents blend the personal with the professional as a collaboration between a testator and their notary. She views the will not as purely spiritual or familial, but as the notary’s application of social norms and trends to the testator’s plan for salvation. This thesis looks at the repetitive nature of testaments as a contribution of the role of notaries in the will-making process uses this as a basis for reevaluating the meaning of wills and the importance of notaries, which increased over the time period.


Co-recipient of the Paul H. Beik Prize in History, awarded in 2009.