Das Rentengeschäft im spätmittelalterlichen Reval
This article examines the deeds establishing annuities in late-medieval Reval (Tallinn). In most cases, some clerical institution or the city council itself functioned as the debtor, promising a yearly rente to a creditor in exchange for a capital sum. Among the beneficiaries are numbered one or more natural persons as well as corporations such as churches. The deeds show that granting annuities was found to be useful in a number of different contexts. They could be employed to create a fixed annual income. They could also be used to gain spiritual merit, if a perpetual rent was created in order to benefit a church or hospital. They could be used as a form of payment for the life-time use of real property or to facilitate the distribution of an estate among the heirs. Of course, annuities were a risky proposition, a fact which generated a number of individual stipulations to cover various eventualities. The age and the number of beneficiaries may have influenced the level of the rente, which normally ranged between 6 % and 10 % of the capital invested.