121). In the case of royal documentation, the Court’s presence in the city of Évora may also clarify the extent to which these written acts were written in the city by the king’s clerks.
In fact, despite the various institutional affiliations of the desks that issued all these written acts, and the insignificant number of documents given by the municipal magistrates (as opposed to royal documentation, for example), the truth is that many of these desks were physically located in Évora, or in its orbit, at the time of writing these documents, a fact that seems to enrich the reflection on the nature of the archive. Indeed, the archive was not just a repository of exogenous documentation received by the city council, as the composition of the inventory could apparently indicate. In fact, the archive was above all a space for conserving the city’s documentation, in lato sensu.
The global study of the inventoried documentation allowed us to make contact with the documents that the city council resolved, at different times, to keep, organize and rewrite, due to its importance and, above all, its usefulness. In fact, the written objects contained in this inventory, when contemplating various subjects and agents, allow access to a very wide range of areas of activity that the city was part of, and that were regulated by writing. However, the knowledge that we may have of the dynamics expressed in these documents is strongly conditioned by the description that the material author of this inventory makes, the registrar João Afonso. As we will try to analyze later26, the elements that we have to identify and characterize the subjects, the agents and even the legal affairs present in each written act are variable and very dependent on the degree of detail that João Afonso prints in his descriptions. The scarcity of data on some of the documents prevents us, for example, from reliably assigning a topical and chronological date to written acts, from clearly defining document types and even from trying to fit them into areas of activity dedicated to the urban world , such as Justice, Finance and Administration. In this sense, a reflection on these documents from their diplomatic nature proved to be unproductive early on, organizing them for example by documentary types already established27, given the disparity of information available on the internal and external characteristics of each document. Concomitantly, the diversity of entities producing written acts present in this inventory also makes it difficult to jointly analyze these documents, and to assume common denominators with regard to their diplomatic types.
In view of this situation, we tried to find affiliations between documents, transversal to the production entities, and beyond the typological dimension, namely in the field of the areas of activity on which their contents fell. If, for convenience and effective adequacy, we recovered some already established areas such as Finance and Justice, we tried to establish others based on information available in each document, thus creating areas such as the General Regulation, the Regulation of Economic Activities (therefore distinct from Finance) ), Exemptions and Obligations due to inherent positions, functions or social conditions, Territorial Identity, Officers’ Competences, and Cortes28.