The Languages of Early Medieval Charters

Studies of literacy and society has long since demolished the assumption that reading and writing were skills reserved for a small and distinct clerical elite. Rather literacy was widespread in a the multilingual world of the Early Middle Ages. New book focus on the writing of charters

This is the first major study of the interplay between Latin and Germanic vernaculars in early medieval records. Building on previous work on the uses of the written word in the early Middle Ages, which has dispelled the myth that this was an age of ‘orality’, the contributions in this volume bring to the fore the crucial question of language choice in the documentary cultures of early medieval societies. Specifically, they examine the interactions between Latin and Germanic vernaculars in the Anglo-Saxon and eastern Frankish worlds and in neighbouring areas. The chapters are underpinned by an important comparative dimension on account of the two regions’ shared linguistic heritage and numerous cross-Channel links.


Stefan Esders, Albert Fenton, Robert Gallagher, Wolfgang Haubrichs, Charles Insley, Kathryn A. Lowe, Rosamond McKitterick, Rory Naismith, Janet L. Nelson, Edward Roberts, Annina Seiler, Marco Stoffella, Francesca Tinti, Kate Wiles, Bernhard Zeller.

List of Content:

The Lnguages of early medieval Charters CoverLatin and Germanic Vernaculars in Early Medieval Documentary Cultures: Towards a Multidisciplinary Comparative Approach
By Francesca Tinti

Charters, Languages, and Communication: Recent Work on Early Medieval Literacy
By Rosamond McKitterick
The Multilingualism of the Early Middle Ages: Evidence from Peripheral Regions of the Regnum orientalium Francorum
By Wolfgang Haubrichs

Germanic Names, Vernacular Sounds, and Latin Spellings in Early Anglo-Saxon and Alemannic Charters
By Annina Seiler

Language, Formulae, and Carolingian Reforms: The Case of the Alemannic Charters from St Gall
By Bernhard Zeller

Signalling Language Choice in Anglo-Saxon and Frankish Charters, c.700–c.900
By Edward Roberts and Francesca Tinti

The Endorsement Practices of Early Medieval England
By Robert Gallagher and Kate Wiles

Traces of Bilingualism in Early Medieval Northern Italy: The Evidence from Eighth- and Ninth-Century Private Charters
By Marco Stoffella

Languages of Boundaries and Boundaries of Language in Cornish Charters
By Charles Insley

Vernacular Writing in Early Medieval Manorial Administration: Two Tenth-Century Documents from Werden and Essen
By Stefan Esders

Royal Authority, Regional Integrity: The Function and Use of Anglo-Saxon Writ Formulae
By Albert Fenton

From Memorandum to Written Record: Function and Formality in Old English Non-Literary Texts
By Kathryn A. Lowe

Writing, Communication, and Currency: Dialogues between Coinage and Charters in Anglo-Saxon England
By Rory Naismith

By Janet L. Nelson