Session Title

New Approaches to Carolingian Charters

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Dept. of History, King's College London

Organizer Name

Rachel Stone

Organizer Affiliation

King's College London

Presider Name

Thomas F. X. Noble

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Notre Dame

Paper Title 1

The Making of Charlemagne's Europe: A New Database for Charter Researchers

Presenter 1 Name

Rachel Stone

Paper Title 2

Databases and Diplomatic: Is Context Worth Anything?

Presenter 2 Name

Julie A. Hofmann

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Shenandoah Univ.

Paper Title 3

The Limits of Charlemagne's Charters

Presenter 3 Name

Jennifer Davis

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Catholic Univ. of America

Paper Title 4

Respondent

Presenter 4 Name

Thomas F. X. Noble

Start Date

11-5-2014 10:30 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 204

Description

Charters are one of the most important sources for early medieval history: tens of thousands of these records survive in some form from eighth and ninth century Francia. Such charters have been the subject of research for more than three centuries, but new research questions and methodologies are still being developed to make more use of these documents. This session highlights three aspects of such new approaches.

Firstly, the use of new technologies is explored. The Making of Charlemagne's Europe database aims to collect prosopographical and socio-economic data from all the charters produced during Charlemagne's reign (768-814), combining them into an internet-accessible database which will allow comparisons across regions in a way not possible beforehand. The paper will give an outline of the project and then demonstrate the research possibilities of the database.

The second paper in the session will bring a more theoretical and historiographical perspective to the use of information technology in charter research. How does the availability of charter material in new formats, such as the move towards databases, digitization etc, alter our perception and use of charters, as compared to the traditional approach of diplomatics? To what extent do new tools themselves affect historical practice and critical thinking about sources?

In the final paper, some of the best known Carolingian charters, the royal diplomas of Charlemagne, are analysed in a new light. Why were some types of charter used more frequently than others by Charlemagne? This paper argues that while charters were an important tool of rulership they were used in a more limited and precise set of contexts than has been previously appreciated. This targeting of royal diplomas can reveal more about how early medieval kingship was practiced.

The closing response will pull together common themes, exploring both the possibilities and the problems of new approaches to Carolingian charters.

Rachel Stone

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May 11th, 10:30 AM

New Approaches to Carolingian Charters

Bernhard 204

Charters are one of the most important sources for early medieval history: tens of thousands of these records survive in some form from eighth and ninth century Francia. Such charters have been the subject of research for more than three centuries, but new research questions and methodologies are still being developed to make more use of these documents. This session highlights three aspects of such new approaches.

Firstly, the use of new technologies is explored. The Making of Charlemagne's Europe database aims to collect prosopographical and socio-economic data from all the charters produced during Charlemagne's reign (768-814), combining them into an internet-accessible database which will allow comparisons across regions in a way not possible beforehand. The paper will give an outline of the project and then demonstrate the research possibilities of the database.

The second paper in the session will bring a more theoretical and historiographical perspective to the use of information technology in charter research. How does the availability of charter material in new formats, such as the move towards databases, digitization etc, alter our perception and use of charters, as compared to the traditional approach of diplomatics? To what extent do new tools themselves affect historical practice and critical thinking about sources?

In the final paper, some of the best known Carolingian charters, the royal diplomas of Charlemagne, are analysed in a new light. Why were some types of charter used more frequently than others by Charlemagne? This paper argues that while charters were an important tool of rulership they were used in a more limited and precise set of contexts than has been previously appreciated. This targeting of royal diplomas can reveal more about how early medieval kingship was practiced.

The closing response will pull together common themes, exploring both the possibilities and the problems of new approaches to Carolingian charters.

Rachel Stone