This article draws upon legal sources and archival records from Barcelona, Venice, and Genoa to study the experience of scribes in the medieval Mediterranean. Just as Chaucer or Dante may have feared the scribe's power to alter compositions, so, too, did scribes excite apprehension among medieval agents of commerce. The weighty responsibilities assigned to scribes presented significant temptations for illicit enrichment, as well as risks, aboard the medieval ship. The dangers of a maritime venture were compounded, for the scribe, by risks incurred as keepers of the written record.

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