Inks, papers, calligraphic styles




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England referred to as an "Inspeximus" from the initial word of the

dispositive clause). Charters were discontinued in England in 1516 after a

period of decline, their function being increasingly taken over by letters

patent.


*Litterae patentes* or "letters patent" were so called because they were

open (or "patent") for all to read, as distinct from "letters close"

(*litterae clausae), which were sealed closed so that only the recipient

would read them (since the seal had to be broken to get at the text).

Letters patent differed from charters in the form of address, the manner

of sealing, the formula of the Injunction, and the manner of attestation.


"Writ" is the English translation of the Latin term "breve", more

literally "brief" (surviving in Scots law as "brieve"). It refers to an

official letter of instruction from an office of government to a particular

person, typically a government official, to take some action. It survives

as such primarily in the legal system, in the form of an instruction from

a court. Commonly encountered writs in the English-speaking world are the

writ of Habeas Corpus, requiring that someone be either brought to trial

or released; the writ of mandamus, through which a higher court modifies

the actions of a lower; and the writ of summons to parliament, which in

England is used to initiate elections and assemble the peers for a

parliamentary session. The traditional "forms of action" of English Common

Law depended upon the "original writs" from the King's Chancery that were

avalailable to any subject for the initiation of legal actions in the

King's Courts.


A "capitulary" is an abbreviated record of legal documents relating to a

certain subject, so called from the fact that it was arranged by "headings"

or "chapters". The term generally refers to compilations of ordinances

issued by the Frankish kings during the early parts of our Period.


To Haj Hossein's excellent bibliography recently posted I should like to

add some other titles that people working with medieval diplomata,

especially those just starting out, might find useful:


= The standard law dictionaries: Black's for the U.S. and Jowett's for

Britain. One can often plainly see the skeleton of medieval practice

underlying the structure of modern legal uses of certain terms.


= Hubert Hall, *Studies in English Historical Documents* (1908) and its

companion the two-volume *Formula Book of English Historical Documents*

(1908). The latter was reprinted in 1969; I can't seem to find my set,

otherwise I'd post details.


= Pierre Chaplais, *English Royal Documents King John - Henry VI

1199-1461* (1971) is, I think, the best starting place for an SCA

researcher without prior exposure.


= Arthur Giry, *Manuel de Diplomatique* (1925), especially nice for its

coverage of seals and sealing methods.


= Cesare Paoli, *Diplomatica* (1942), deals extensively with Italy and

especially the Papal chancery, which was the model for all medieval

chanceries.


= Harry Breslau, *Handbuch der Urkundenlehre fuer Deutschland und Italien*

(1889), which I believe was reprinted in 1958.


= Ludwig Rockinger, *Ueber Formelbuecher vom XII biz zum XVI Jahrhunderts

als rechtsgeschichliche Quellen* (1855) and *Ueber Briefsteller und

Formelbuecher in Deutschland waehrend des Mittelalter* (1861) deal with

the formula books that medieval chanceries themselves used in the

preparation of documents.


Further more detailed information may be had from my article "Medieval

Official Document Forms" in the Proceedings of the Known World Heraldic

Symposium (Ansteorra 1990), which is still available if I'm not mistaken.


Tadhg, Hanaper


* Origin: Herald's Point * Steppes/Ansteorra * 214-699-0057 (1:124/4229)


From: Jeff Lee

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: scrolls.....

Date: Mon, 5 Jul 93 11:08:08 EDT

Organization: Wyvernwood, Trimaris (Tampa, FL)


Greetings from Godfrey!


Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester writes:

> I DREAM of having a correctl-done charter-type scroll,

> in scrawly thirteenth-century notary hand, with absolutely no illumination

> or decoration save a pendant wax seal.


Period legal documents were not necessarily text-only. The East Kingdom

standards manual shows a few examples of period legal documents:


o A grant of arms to the Worshipful Company of Tallow

Chandlers, England 1456. Very large illuminated capital,

with a fairly wide illuminated border (including the arms)

down the left side.


o Arms scroll, Sigismund of Germany, 1460. Mostly text, with

decoration around the escutcheon.


o Diploma, Jean of France, 1400's. Large historiated initial.


o Petition by the Fugger family of Augsburg to Pope Alexander

VI ca. 1500. Large illuminated capital, elaborate border

(including several escutcheons) on the top and both sides.


o Scroll of Emperor Frederick II of Germany, 1270. Very large

illuminated capital, a lot of text, and a large seal.


o Scroll of Emperor Alexins III Ceanenus, Constantinople, 1200's.

The text is dwarfed by the painting of one haloed and crowned

figure handing a scroll to another haloed figure.


Although the depictions in the standards manual are simple line-drawing

representations of the originals, some of them appear to be at least as

elaborate as most of the `book-of-hours scrolls' that Tadhg denigrates

with such enthusiastic bombast.


(No, I'm not defending the fact that many of our scrolls are inauthentic.

Then again, neither are most of our awards!)


> One real problem with the "surprise" factor is that award recipients

> are never given a chance to perhaps comission a scroll from a talented friend

> who really knows their tastes.


When I lived in the East Kingdom, the Tyger Clerk (who gave scroll

assignments to the scribes) attempted to assign scrolls to scribes who

lived in the same area as the recipient, if possible; scribes could also

request assignments (for example, `If XXX gets an award, I'd like to do

the scroll').


One thing that I was taught was that, if I was assigned a scroll for

someone I didn't know, it was best to call the seneschal of that

person's home group and find out some things about the person (when

and where their persona was from, what colors they liked, &cetera).

That makes for a much more personal scroll.


> Ah, well, I should talk. None of my scrolls are colour xerox

> copies with the name written in......


And with any luck, neither will anyone in Trimaris ever receive such

scrolls again!


*sigh* This is all personal opinion, and should not be construed as

an official statement from the Office of the Trimaris Chart Herald, the

Kingdom of Trimaris, or the Society for Creative Anachronism, Incorporated.


===== Jeff Lee / jlee at smylex.uucp / jlee%smylex.uucp at tscs.tscs.com =====

===== SCA: Lord Godfrey de Shipbrook, Trimaris Chart Herald =====

===== Per pale azure and argent, a clarion counterchanged or and gules =====


From: greg at bronze.lcs.mit.edu (Greg Rose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: scrolls.....

Date: 6 Jul 1993 01:26:00 -0400

Organization: MIT LCS guest machine


Lord Godfrey writes:

>Period legal documents were not necessarily text-only. The East Kingdom

>standards manual shows a few examples of period legal documents:

>

> o A grant of arms to the Worshipful Company of Tallow

> Chandlers, England 1456. Very large illuminated capital,

> with a fairly wide illuminated border (including the arms)

> down the left side.


Commissioned by the Company from a private artist and not produced in a

chancery.


> o Arms scroll, Sigismund of Germany, 1460. Mostly text, with

> decoration around the escutcheon.


This is an artist achievement, not a chancery document.


> o Diploma, Jean of France, 1400's. Large historiated initial.


No one ever said that you don't occasionally see an elaborated initial

in some chancery documents. However, it is almost never of the sort

one associates with book hands and it is _only_ the initial. Occasionally

one sees enlarged, but not elaborated letters in the first line of a

charter, usually in the second half of a chirograph -- with the cut

through the enlarged letters.


> o Petition by the Fugger family of Augsburg to Pope Alexander

> VI ca. 1500. Large illuminated capital, elaborate border

> (including several escutcheons) on the top and both sides.


Again, not a chancery document.


> o Scroll of Emperor Frederick II of Germany, 1270. Very large

> illuminated capital, a lot of text, and a large seal.


An outlier par excellence -- look at Bresslau's _Handbuch der

Urkundenlehre fuer Deutschland und Italien_ to see the central tendency

of HR Imperial diplomatics.


> o Scroll of Emperor Alexins III Ceanenus, Constantinople, 1200's.

> The text is dwarfed by the painting of one haloed and crowned

> figure handing a scroll to another haloed figure.


Maybe the document exists, I don't know. I do know that there was

never a Byzantine emperor by that name. It's either Alexius II Comnenus

(1167-1883) or Alexius III Angelus (1195-1203), but it isn't Alexins III

Ceanenus. What "kind" of a scroll -- a diploma, a charter, what? Was

it chancery-produced or monastic?


>Although the depictions in the standards manual are simple line-drawing

>representations of the originals, some of them appear to be at least as

>elaborate as most of the `book-of-hours scrolls' that Tadhg denigrates

>with such enthusiastic bombast.


I just posted an introductory bibliography of sources in diplomatics and

facsimiles of notarial/secretarial-hand documents. Tadhg has also posted

references to such sources (although not that recently). It really chaps

me to have some half-assed SCA publication quoted as evidence that

Tadhg is wrong. Remember the biblical passage about the blind leading

the blind and both falling into the ditch? It characterizes a large

percentage of the "information" in SCA publications, particularly things

like the manual you cite.


Read Koch's book on the Holy Roman Imperial chancery in the 12th and

13th centuries and tell me that the East Kingdom standards manual knows

more about the palaeography and diplomatics of HRE documents. Read

Giry or De Bouard and tell me that that manual knows more about

French chancery practices.


The ability to cite outliers tells you nothing about the central tendency.

By the logic of "it happened once somewhere in the middle ages, it must be

period" the marginal note I once saw in a bible from the Abbey of Lorsch

("Abbas cum Hlothario nefas fecit") implies that every bible produced in

every scriptorium in Europe had some scribe's accusation of the abbot's

sodomy scrawled in the margin. There's a rules-lawyerly fascination

with the oddity which permeates the SCA's approach to the middle ages

and documentation which I find unfathomable.


>(No, I'm not defending the fact that many of our scrolls are inauthentic.

>Then again, neither are most of our awards!)


The less genteel version of this attitude is: we do some things in a

half-assed way, therefore we should allow everything to be done in

a half-assed way. I don't buy it.


Hossein/Greg


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)

Subject: Re: scrolls.....

Organization: University of Toronto - Semi-Employed Alumni

Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1993 12:11:07 GMT


Remember, Greg, that the East Kingdom standards manual was not

designed to give a good, general representation of chancery documents

of the Middle Ages. It started from the position of an existing

style, the SCA scroll, and worked backwards to include the appropriate

mediaeval documents.


Note the preponderance of commercial documents amongst the works

cited. Robert S. Lopez would be pleased to see expensive illumination

being paid for by the Fuggers and the Tallow Chandlers instead of by

noblemen. Proof that money caused Protestantism...


Aryk Nusbacher


Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Arval d'Espas Nord)

Subject: Re: scrolls.....

Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1993 19:45:59 GMT

Organization: IBM T.J. Watson Research


Greetings from Arval! Hossein made two comments in his reply to Godfrey

that brought question to my mind:


> >Period legal documents were not necessarily text-only. The East Kingdom

> >standards manual shows a few examples of period legal documents:

> >

> > o A grant of arms to the Worshipful Company of Tallow

> > Chandlers, England 1456. Very large illuminated capital,

> > with a fairly wide illuminated border (including the arms)

> > down the left side.

>

> Commissioned by the Company from a private artist and not produced in a

> chancery.


Why should we take chancery documents, as opposed to private documents, as

the models for our scrolls?


> The ability to cite outliers tells you nothing about the central tendency.

> By the logic of "it happened once somewhere in the middle ages, it must be

> period" the marginal note I once saw in a bible from the Abbey of Lorsch

> ("Abbas cum Hlothario nefas fecit") implies that every bible produced in

> every scriptorium in Europe had some scribe's accusation of the abbot's

> sodomy scrawled in the margin.


Come on Hossein, you know that doesn't hold water: There is a difference

between saying "We can take this evidence as the basis for a re-creation"

and "Everything we re-create must follow this model."
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