78. Main Ledger (campione or libro mastro), 2 January 1606 to 30 December 1609

Fondazione Monte di Bologna e Ravenna.
GENERAL INFORMATION: 42 x 32 x 24 cm.

This is a large, heavy tome on paper marked during the seventeenth century with the archival signature ‘P’. The book is bound in leather reinforced by five strips. It consists of folios numbered from 1 to 1,000 in the traditional mercantile double-entry bookkeeping format. The sheets marked with numbers between 988 and 1,000 are blank. The top edge is decorated with a pietà. This book is part of the series called master ledgers (campioni mastri), consisting of 57 registers (1473–74; 1504–19; 1548–1808). These ledgers are used in combination with the journals, in which the same operation is registered in different records, which are then cross-referenced by means of figures that denote the pages where they are registered in each of the respective books. They document and record each of the administrative, economic and financial activities of the mount of piety. In these registers, the accounting operations culled from the entries in the journals (libri giornali) were recorded in the general ledger (campionere maggiore), under various headings which described the different types of operations. All the operations are registered using the traditional double-entry bookkeeping format, with two different columns, one for debit and one for credit. Each item recorded in the journal is then also recorded in the general ledger, with information on the reason for the entry, with cross-references to each of the different books and the respective currency values recorded in lire, soldi and denarii. From 1548 to 1600, the balance of creditors and debtors appears at the end of each year in the libro mastro. From 1601 onwards, it was established that the annual accounts were to be drawn up in separate registers, as can be seen from the information taken from the libro mastro marked ‘O’ on page 593. Each ledger was preserved in the archives of the Monte di Pietà and the edge was marked by a letter of the alphabet which was then cross-referenced to the corresponding ledger, also marked by the same letter of the alphabet.

(Armando Antonelli)