In the Carolingian period (ca. 750–900), scribes in churches and monasteries from across Frankish Europe assembled and copied a large number of documentary formularies: collections of model documents for recording legal transactions. Their efforts most likely reflect a new emphasis on written documentation by successive Carolingian regimes and a concomitant institutionalisation of documentary practices in churches and monasteries. The formula collections are remarkably similar in the kinds of documents they contain. The similarity stems in large part from the fact that the formulas travelled. Complete formula collections, or bits and pieces of formula collections, moved from one place to another, often over very long distances. They were either reproduced intact, or copied partially; they were often reshuffled, modified, combined with other collections, and incorporated into new collections. The formulas’ spread both reflected and helped forge a set of common assumptions about the situations in which documents might be necessary and the proper ways to record such situations in writing. At the same time, the ways that formula collections and individual formulas were adapted, altered, and copied into individual manuscripts let us see local scribes assembling new formula collections to meet their own particular and often idiosyncratic needs and interests. The surviving formularies therefore reflect not only the spread of Carolingian documentary culture but also the ways that local document producers and consumers responded to it.
Brown, Warren C.
"Old Media Put to New Uses: Legal Form Books in Carolingian Europe,"
The Medieval Globe: Vol. 3
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/tmg/vol3/iss1/6