Dealing With The Dead
Toward the end of September 1394, news arrived in Milan of the death of merchant Marco Carelli in Venice. Three years before, the brilliant businessman had named the Fabbrica - the administrative body of the Cathedral of Milan - as heir of his entire fortune, which was estimated at the astonishing sum of 35,000 ducats. When, in 1392, total Cathedral income failed to cover its building expenses, threatening the continuation of the work, the Fabbrica turned to Carelli and asked him to consider, given the urgent necessities, advancing at least a part of the promised inheritance. The wealthy merchant did more and agreed to donate immediately everything he owned, divesting himself entirely even while he lived.
Martina Saltamacchia, “A Funeral Procession from Venice to Milan: Meanings of a Late-Medieval Merchant’s Death Rituals.” in Dealing with The Dead: Mortality and Community in the Middle Ages, Thea Cervone, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 201-220.