The chapter begins by testing the veracity of witnesses’ estimates of the cash value of their goods through various methods, which suggest that their appraisals were reasonably reliable reflections of the extent of their moveable property. Considerations of accuracy are not, however, limited to a discussion of the precision of witnesses’ accounts, which assumes an anachronistic distinction between quantitative and qualitative measures. The bulk of this chapter focuses on the ways in which the sums commonly cited by witnesses held wider cultural resonances. The monetary values declared by witnesses were at the heart of a qualitative frame of reference for the quantification of status, involving highly sophisticated forms of numeracy in relation to thresholds for office-holding, legal rights, and privileges; fiscal liability; sumptuary entitlement (in terms of the clothes people were permitted to wear); and the imposition of fines and penalties.
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