EARLY MEDIEVAL CHARTERS
Curated by Segolene Gence.
Welcome to our page dedicated to early medieval charters!
From the Latin carta, a charter is an official document that is a record of some type often related to sale, property, privileges, or ownership (such as deeds). Royal charters for example were also known under the term diploma. For a more detailed and complete understanding of what a charter is, you can read the introduction produced by the Making of Charlemagne's Europe project here. Visit also our Diplomatic page for more information on charters and the history of offical documents.
If you would like help with approaching the linguistic challenges that charters may present to you, please see the relevant sections of the Medieval Languages page, especially our page for Latin. If you would like to learn more about working with medieval documents such as charters, registries, etc., please visit our Manuscript Studies page, which contains curated information on Codicology and Palaeography to help you in your research and studies.
Simply click on the name of a resource to be taken directly to its website.
Charters from England
This section aims to offer you some guides to explore the documentary culture of early medieval England, starting with Anglo-Saxon charters.
For an introduction to early English charters, the introduction offered by the Languages of Anglo-Saxon Charters (LASC) (available here) is a fantastic resource which also explores the bilingual characters of pre-conquest documents in England. LACS more specifically offers a catalogue of Latin and Old English interactions in early English documents, available here.
If you would like to find pre-conquest charters, the Electronic Sawyer offers texts and summaries of all charters from England before 1066, including many translations.
For a more all-encampassing resource which extends slightly after the Conquest, you may turn to Documents of Early England Data Set (DEEDS) which is a database comprising of about 44,400 charters from the 9th-13th centuries, with the greater majority of them being from the British Isles while some are from France and german-speaking Europe. Among the charters available, DEEDS includes some full texts as well. Although it focuses on the years shortly after the end of the early medieval period, Charters of Anglo-Norman Landowners, which is part of the 'Land of the Normans' in England (1204-1224) project, makes available charters issued by members of Anglo-Norman families that held lands on both side of the English Channel until the 'loss of Normandy' in 1204.
Charters from Europe
Now moving towards the continent, this section holds some resources which either focuses on a particular region in Europe or are of general interest for our time period.
Of general interest:
Recently launched, the Cartae Europae Medii Aevi (CEMA) website is an incredibly comprehensive platform that brings together different resources for the cross-study of medieval charters on a European scale. It offers 270,000 full-texts charters, fully searchable individually and against co-occurrent documents, a catalogue of European diplomatic editions (still being compiled), as well as a library of diplomatic editions in image mode (somewhat similar to what the Internet Archives does) and a great many opportunities to create datasets.
Chartae Latinae Antiquiores Datenbank is a database of basic info for charters in the ChLA series, which provides facsimile and textual editions of all original charters in European archives up to the year 900.
Early Medieval France:
ARTEM is database of charters preserved in their original form in France from before 1121, including images of many.
Cartae Cluniacenses Electronicae (CCE) is a digital edition of the 5500 charters of the monastery of Cluny.
Carolingian Europe and its legacy:
The Making of Charlemagne's Europe is database of charters issued in the Frankish realm during the reign of Charlemagne (768-814). Includes an introductory guide to the study of early medieval charters.
Abbildungsverzeichnis der europäischen Kaiser- und Königsurkunden is a collection of images of royal and imperial charters issued by Frankish rulers and their successors up to c.1200.
Marburg Lichtbildarchiv is a bank of images of original medieval charters focusing on the Holy Roman Empire from before 1250.
Further European regions:
Monasterium.net is a database of medieval charters, focusing on Austrian archives, and including many images.
e-chartae comprises of digitised charters from the abbey of St Gall, the best preserved early medieval monastic archive north of the Alps.
(see also: e-codices, a digitised collections of Swiss archives, including the abbey of St Gall.)
Cathalaunia is a database of early medieval Catalan charters.
Codice diplomatico della Lombardia medievale holds electronic editions of charters from Lombardy, 8th to 12th centuries.
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Last updated by Segolene Gence - 01/02/2022