Charters and the Use of the Written Word in Medieval Society, ed. Karl Heidecker (Turnhout, 2000: USML 5), xii+253 pp. ISBN 2-503-50771-9.

There have been periods of growth and of decrease in the quantity of writing produced in the medieval centuries. The present volume is concerned with qualitative developments, asking: which developments can be distinguished in the roles played by writing in medieval societies? In which fields was writing used, and by whom? Why did these changes take place? When attempting to answer these questions, the scholar confronts basic questions about the sources at his disposal. Why were documents written? Why were they preserved and in what form? The volume pays special attention to charters, since these documents have been continuously present throughout the Middle Ages. They also had an impact on most layers of society.


Karl Heidecker, “Introduction”

Part I: Writing Charters

Mark Mersiowsky, “Towards a Reappraisal of Carolingian Sovereign Charters”

David Postles, “Country Clerici and the Composition of English Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Private Charters”

Philippe Depreux, “The Development of Charters Confirming Exchange by the Royal Administration (Eighth-Tenth Centuries)”

Herwig Weigl, “What to Write in Court: Literacy and Lawsuits in Late Medieval Austria”

Part II: “From Memory to Written Record” Revisited

Anna Adamska, “‘From Memory to Written Record’ in the Periphery of Medieval Latinitas: The Case of Poland in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries”

Eef Dijkhof, “Goatskin and Growing Literacy: The Penetration of Writing in the Former Counties of Holland and Zeeland in the Thirteenth Century in Relation to the Changes of the Internal and External Features of the Charters Issued­­”

Dauvit Broun, “The Writing of Charters in Scotland and Ireland in the Twelfth Century”

Ivan Hlaváček, “The Use of Charters and Other Documents in PÍemyslide Bohemia”

Part III: Preserving Charters

Georges Declerq, “Originals and Cartularies: The Organization of Archival Memory (Ninth-Eleventh Centuries)”

Laurent Morelle, “The Metamorphosis of Three Monastic Charter Collections in the Eleventh Century (Saint-Amand, Saint-Riquier, Montier-en-Der)”

Alexander Hecht, “Between Memoria, Historiography and Pragmatic Literacy: The Liber Delegacionum of Reichersberg”

Part IV: Using Charters

Franz-Josef Arlinghaus, “From ‘Improvised Theatre’ to Scripted Roles: Literacy and Changes in Communication in North Italian Law Courts (Twelfth-Thirteenth Centuries)”

Simon Teuscher, “Textualising Peasant Enquiries: German Weistümer between Orality and Literacy”