Anglo-Saxon Royal Diplomas: A Palaeography

November 2006
10 black and white, 2 line illustrations
198 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Pubns Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies
ISBN: 9781843832188
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

Anglo-Saxon Royal Diplomas: A Palaeography

Susan D. Thompson

Detailed palaeographical examination of important Anglo-Saxon documents provides important information on questions of authenticity and provenance.
`A substantial and important book... Well constructed and clearly argued, it offers a great deal of new information gathered from original sources'. PROFESSOR JANE ROBERTS, KINGS COLLEGE LONDON The 118 presumed original royal Latin diplomas enacted before 1066 do much to illuminate our understanding of the Anglo-Saxons. This book - the first to examine the palaeography of the complete collection - traces every aspect of their development and creates a chronological framework into which undated documents may tentatively be fitted, helping to verify the authenticity or otherwise of doubtful documents.

The core of the book comprises a history of Anglo-Saxon handwriting, followed by a detailed illustrated study of the script forms which appear in the documents. This is preceded by a discussion of the possible authorship of the charters, which addresses the thorny question of whether there was an Anglo-Saxon chancery, then examines in detail the external features and textual elements.

The second half of the book contains a complete analysis of four 'representative' diplomas spanning the period from the seventh to eleventh centuries in the light of the principles established in the earlier chapters; these are then applied to seven 'problem' charters to determine their authenticity. SUSAN D. THOMPSON is a former research fellow of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies.

Table of Contents

Who Wrote the Anglo-Saxon Charters?
Physical Features of the Diplomas
Layout of the Documents
The Script of the Documents
Summary of Features Important for Dating
Analysis of Representative Charters from Different Periods
Analysis of Some Problem Charters
Appendix: Chronological List of Manuscripts Consulted
Index of Charters Cited
General Index


Its chronological charting of the 'external' features of an important subset of the corpus of Anglo-Saxon charters is a valuable achievement. MEDIUM AEVUM
An excellent addition to the field of charter scholarship. RARE BOOKS NEWSLETTER

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