A Note About the Documents, with Selected Translations
The reconstruction of Benedetta Carlini's story is based in large measure on a file of documents entitled Miscellanea Medicea376, insert 28, found in the State Archive of Florence. The materials in this file consist primarily of abbreviated transcripts, letters, and summaries of documents that are no longer extant. Some of the file's contents have survived in more than one copy. Some are undated and can only be placed in the proper temporal and institutional framework from internal evidence. This is not unusual for premodern sources but it does raise difficulties, some of them insurmountable, in the use and interpretation of the documents.
Even with the greatest care, it is not always possible to determine the exact date of a particular document or for whom it was written. It is also difficult to discern the voices of the protagonists from transcripts that are not verbatim, but are filtered through scribes' efforts to convey the sense of a witness' statements. Sometimes it is obvious that despite a third-person rendering, a witness' words are captured verbatim or close to it. Sometimes in his hurry, a scribe might lapse into the first person, giving a closer sense of the sound of the original. This and the