Book Series Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, vol. 35

Ruling the Script in the Middle Ages

Formal Aspects of Written Communication (Books, Charters, and Inscriptions)

Sébastien Barret, Dominique Stutzmann, Georg Vogeler (eds)

  • Pages: viii + 545 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:100 b/w, 18 col., 36 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2017

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56743-3
  • Hardback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56744-0
  • E-book
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The twenty essays brought together in this volume explore a wide range of perspectives relating to the materiality and textuality of medieval scripts and documents.


“They are good pieces seen individually, and each fills its own gaps in the sense that it makes a worthwhile and interesting contribution to its own specialized field. I recommend the book for its diversity of interest (…).” (David Daintree, in Parergon, 35/1, 2018, p. 147)

“It is undeniable that the highly diverse and multidisciplinary contributions to the volume achieve this goal, highlighting the importance of combining literacy and communication studies with thorough palaeographical, codicological, or diplomatic analyses.” (Susanne M. Arthur, in Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 118/1, 2019, p. 132)


The textuality and materiality of documents are an essential part of their communicative role. Medieval writing, as part of the interpersonal communication process, had to follow rules to ensure the legibility and understanding of a text and its connotations. This volume provides new insights into how different kinds of rules were designed, established, and followed in the shaping of medieval documents, as a means of enabling complex and subtle communicational phenomena. Because they provide a perspective for approaching the material they are supposed to organize, these rules (or the postulation of their use) provide powerful analytical tools for structural studies into given corpora of documents.

Originating in talks given at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds between 2010 and 2012, the twenty papers in this collection offer a precise, in-depth analysis of a variety of medieval scripts, including books, charters, accounts, and epigraphic documents. In doing so, they integrate current developments in palaeography, diplomatics, and codicology in their traditional methodological set, as well as aspects of the digital humanities, and they bridge the gap between the so-called ‘auxiliary sciences of history’ and the field of communication studies. They illustrate different possibilities for exploring how the formal aspects of scripts took their place in the construction of effective communication structures.




"Et hec scripsi manu mea propria": Known and Unknown Autographs of Charles IV as Testimonies of Intellectual Profile, Royal Literacy and Cultural Transfer—MARTIN BAUCH

The ‘Empire of Letters’: Textualis and Cursiva in Pragmatic Manuscripts of Seville Cathedral, Thirteenth-Fifteenth Centuries—DIEGO BELMONTE FERNÁNDEZ

Official Rules of Writing in the North of France? The Writing of Notarial Documents in Normandy between Practices and Regulations—ISABELLE BRETTHAUER

The Practice of Writing in Regensburg: An Overview of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries—CLAIRE DE CAZANOVE

Structure et style: observations paléographiques pour l’étude des écritures cursives à Florence aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles—IRENE CECCHERINI

Revealing Some Structures and Rules of Book Production (France, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries)—ÉMILIE COTTEREAU-GABILLET

Structures of (Mutual) Inspiration: Some Observations on the Circulation of Repetitive Text Formulas in Charters from the Medieval Low Countries (Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries)—ELS DE PAERMENTIER

The Writing of Obedientiary Account Rolls at Norwich Cathedral Priory (1256-1344)—HARMONY DEWEZ

Charte de fondation et date de dédicace: témoignages narratifs et diplomatiques à l’abbaye Saint-Étienne de Caen—TAMIKO FOURNIER-FUJIMOTO

Masters of Micrography: Examples of Medieval Ashkenazi Scribal Artists—RAHEL FRONDA

Writing Angles: Palaeographic Considerations on the Inclinaison of the Script—MARIA GURRADO

Les actes épiscopaux en Bretagne aux XIe et XIIe siècles: une arme pour la réforme?—CYPRIEN HENRY

Königsfelden Abbey and Its First Cartulary: Dealing with Charters in the Fourteenth Century—TOBIAS HODEL

The Use of Vernacular and its Graphic and Material Shape in the Epigraphic Discourse: Three Case Studies from Western France—ESTELLE INGRAND-VARENNE

The Shape of the Letters and the Dynamics of Composition in Syriac Manuscripts (Fifth-Tenth Century)—AYDA KAPLAN

The Parchments of Marmoutier Abbey: Preparation, Shaping, Practices (Mid-Eleventh to Mid-Twelfth Century)—CLAIRE LAMY

Scribal Activity and Diplomatic Forms in Western Provence (c. 950-c. 1010)—JEAN-BAPTISTE RENAULT

Hand Spotting: The Registers of the Chancery of the Counts of Holland, 1316-1337—JINNA SMIT

Rule and Variation in Eleventh-Century English Minuscule—PETER STOKES

Princely Communication in the Late Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Century: A Diplomatic Study of the Charters of the Counts of Hainaut—VALERIA VAN CAMP

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