How were people identified in the centuries before photography, finger prints and DNA analysis was discovered? How were they described so that others, who never had seen them before, would recognize them? “Signalment” and “passport” are terms from the Middle Ages. The history of these two documents is described in this book, along with hallmarks, portraits, papers and falsifications. In the documents that certificate who we are today, a lot of Middle Ages is still found. Quite literally, actually: The history of the identity papers, personal description and passes takes as back to the time from the 13th to 17th centuries. From writs of escort, seals, identifying letters and portraits, between travelling journeymen, impostors, and gypsies developed the modern recording system that now certificate the name and identity of a person officially and in black and white.
The book Der Schein der Person: Steckbrief, Ausweis und Kontrolle im Mittelalter [The Certificate of Person: Signalment, Identification and Control in the Middle Ages] by Valentin Groebner has been translated to Serbian (excerpt) by Meral Tarar-Tutuš under the title Potvrda ličnosti: poternica, lična isprava i kontrola u srednjovekovnoj Evropi, published by Karpos, Loznica.