Archives de catégorie : Écritures du passé / Writing the Past

The Charters of William II and Henry I

The Charters of William II and Henry I

Responsable du projet/Project leader :

Richard Sharpe (

Établissement principal/Main institution :

University of Oxford

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

The overall aim is to collect, edit, and interpret the royal acts issued in the names of two English kings, William II (reigned 1087 to 1100), and his brother Henry I (reigned 1100 to 1135), who was also duke of Normandy from 1106 until 1135. Royal acts, mainly charters but also writs and other letters, are the prime documentary source for the period, providing the means to understand the workings of the realm in a way not possible from chronicles and other narrative sources.

This edition differs from previous work on documents of this period by treating beneficiary archives as a unit. Although the king issued documents for his own reasons in many circumstances, for example royal proclamations, treaties, royal letters, and writs concerning fiscal administration, these rarely survive. What remains, therefore, is very largely the material in whose preservation someone had a direct interest. Most documents, even those representing the exercise of the king’s power such as the appointment of bishops or abbots, survive through the archive of the beneficiary who received and retained the documents. Different beneficiary archives tell different stories. The organization of the edition presents, for the most part, beneficiary archives with a headnote to explain the background, including the motivations behind seeking the king’s seal and the reasons for preservation.

When complete, the edition will include several hundred beneficiary archives. The acts are not distributed evenly between them: almost half are contained in just thirty archives. The files currently available on this site represent about an eighth of the material to be included in the final edition, which will be published as a multi-volume book.

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Osborne Emily, Thinking outside the hall: the conceptual boundaries of Skaldic verse

Osborne, Emily, Thinking outside the hall: the conceptual boundaries of Skaldic verse, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. J. Quinn, University of Cambridge)

Royal courts, ships, battle-fields, farms, forests, churches, prisons – in the Icelandic and Norwegian sagas, a myriad of locations provide the backdrop in which skalds perform complex poetry for diverse audiences. Skaldic verses are generally framed as verbal responses to actual events: events which not only medieval sagas, but also modern scholars, have attempted to re-construct. This dissertation considers the discourse of performance employed in skaldic verses, yet looks beyond the familiar relationship between skald and royal patron, exploring instead the ways in which skalds engage various performance contexts both real and imagined, as well as multiple audiences who are present and absent, male and female, past and future, human and divine. Many non-encomiastic verses from the tenth to twelfth centuries communicate beyond the literal occasion to which they ostensibly respond by invoking absent, female and future audiences. Chapters One and Two consider ways in which lausavísur: associate audiences with specific locations by means of verb tense, apostrophe, deixis and periphrasis; reveal the skald’s concern for the preservation and dissemination of his verse within an oral poetic community; and are incorporated into retrospective, and often discrepant, narrative re-performances. Analysis of this dynamic discourse of performance and re-performance is informed by theoretical discussion, both medieval and modern, of deixis, apostrophe, oratorical solecism and narratology. After the twelfth century, the increasing influence of Christian devotional culture significantly altered the relationship between skald and audience. Religious poems were used for meditative reading and spiritual instruction in addition to (or in lieu of) public performance. Christian hermeneutics reframed medieval understandings of the relationships among the spoken, written and performative word. Chapters Three and Four consider ways in which traditional skaldic rhetoric, including deixis and periphrasis, was adapted to the ethnographic discourse of prayer, which negotiates among audiences human, divine, absent, prospective and immanent. Analysis in these chapters of the evolving discourse of performance and re-performance focuses on another female audience who is simultaneously present, absent and prospective – the Virgin Mary.

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Marchlewski Ann-Katrin, St. Cnut of Denmark, king and martyr

Marchlewski Ann-Katrin, St. Cnut of Denmark, king and martyr: his Lives, their authors and the politics of his cult (c.1086-1200), Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. P. Hayward, Lancaster University)

Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available.

Languages, Myths and Finds

Languages, Myths and Finds

Responsable du projet/Project leader : Judith Jesch (, Erin Goeres (

Établissement principal/Main institution : University of Nottingham, University College London

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

LMF is an AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Programme, running from 2013-14. The programme brings together graduate students and full-time researchers from across the UK and Ireland to explore the translation of Norse and Viking cultures into the modern day. Programme participants are working with local partners in five communities with Norse heritage: the Isle of Lewis, Cleveland, the Isle of Man, Dublin and Munster (Cork and Waterford). The programme also draws on the work of the British Museum and participants will draw on the Museum’s ‘Vikings: Life and Legend‘ exhibition as part of their engagement with local communities.


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Alexander Alison, Annalistic writing in Normandy, c. 1050-c. 1225

Alexander Alison, Annalistic writing in Normandy, c. 1050-c. 1225, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. E. van Houts, University of Cambridge)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis provides an analysis of annalistic writing in Normandy between c. 1050 and c. 1225. It examines three principal groups of texts which were written and copied in religious institutions throughout the duchy from the mid-eleventh century, before being transmitted beyond its borders into France and England. Its purpose is to address a significant gap in modern scholarship by establishing the origin, development and purpose of annalistic writing in Normandy and to consider the contribution of the texts to our understanding of Norman history in this period.

The thesis consists of three main parts, followed by two appendices. Part I addresses the annals of Rouen, which were first written in Rouen cathedral chapter c. 1054/5 and which subsequently became the base text for one family of Norman annals. It presents a model of composition, outlining stages of redaction, sources used in its production and textual development down to c. 1225. The text is also examined within the context of institutional and historiographical developments in the cathedral chapter of Rouen in the same period. Part II addresses the monastic annals of Normandy, outlining patterns of dissemination around the duchy and analysing each text in turn. Part II A considers the Rouen family of annals, Part II B the Bec family and Part II C the ‘Fécamp’ family. Finally, Part III considers the contribution of this analysis to modern scholarship. It examines what the annals can tell us about the nature and purpose of historical writing in Norman religious communities; and discusses how the texts can be used to enhance our knowledge of Norman history at both the institutional and the duchy-wide level. The thesis also includes a general introduction and conclusion, a bibliography, several diagrams and two technical appendices which provide an overview of the manuscripts in which the Norman annals are now preserved.

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Winkler Emily, Royal responsibility in post-conquest invasion narratives

Winkler Emily, Royal responsibility in post-conquest invasion narratives, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (dir. L. Ashe, C. Wickham, University of Oxford)

Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available

Zori Davide Marco, From Viking chiefdoms to medieval state in Iceland

Zori Davide Marco, From Viking chiefdoms to medieval state in Iceland: The evolution of social power structures in the Mosfell Valley, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. Byock, University of California, Los Angeles)

Résumé/abstract :

This dissertation presents the results of an interdisciplinary regional study of medieval Icelandic society, beginning with the 9th century settlement of the island and concluding when independent sociopolitical development halted in AD 1262. The nature of the power of medieval Icelandic chieftains has attracted scholarly attention from both historians and anthropologists, who have been drawn to the unusually rich corpus of information in the Icelandic sagas. These chieftains maintained power for several centuries without institutionalized taxation or the development of territorial polities. My research contributes to the understanding of this chiefly power by analyzing separate sources of social power and charting temporal change in the power structures with an interdisciplinary micro-regional study of the Mosfell Valley in southwest Iceland.

Methodologically, I employ multiple lines of evidence, including medieval texts, place names, oral traditions, and archaeological data from regional surveys and excavations. Previous scholarly investigation has relied on textual sources to investigate Icelandic social structure and chiefly power. This is therefore the first regional study of long-term change at the local scale that integrates archaeological and textual sources, providing a detailed and nuanced understanding of the micro-processes in a specific medieval community.

Structured in part by a network of kinship alliances, the settlement of the Mosfell Valley progressed rapidly, with at least three farms established in the first generation. By the early 11th century, the Mosfell chieftains reached their apex of power through the articulation of economic, ideological, military, and political sources of power. The chieftains employed diverse strategies to advance their positions, including mobilization of the subsistence economy for investment in the chiefly political economy, control of a local port and access to prestige goods, and the use of materialized pagan and Christian ideologies to centralize wealth and authority. Although the Mosfell chieftains shifted their strategies with the increasing stratification of Icelandic society, the region became marginalized as neighboring chieftains consolidated territorial power. Nevertheless, and in contrast power interpretations of 13th century conditions, the agency of local leaders caused power in the Mosfell region to remain tired to personal authority and less dominated by territoriality than in neighboring regions.

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Sarah Baccianti, Telling stories in the medieval north: historical writing and literary artistry in medieval England and medieval Scandinavia

Sarah Baccianti, Telling stories in the medieval north: historical writing and literary artistry in medieval England and medieval Scandinavia, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, University of Oxford)

Résumé/abstract :

The primary aim of this study is to highlight the importance of the narrative structure in four texts written in medieval England and Scandinavia: Historia Anglorum, Heimskringla, Historia regum Britanniae and Breta Sögur. These are prose texts written in Anglo-Latin and Old Norse-Icelandic, and all contain some features characteristic of medieval historical writing: interpolation of verses and passages of dialogue, authorial interventions, the use prologues and written sources. These common features show that the medieval historians/chroniclers of medieval England and Scandinavia, in spite of following the dictates of medieval historical writing, nonetheless apply their own particular characteristics, as the chapter on Breta Sögur shows.

The thesis is organised in chronological order, using the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, throughout the work, as work of reference/comparison and of paramount importance to the medieval historians. It begins with Henry of Huntingdon’s Historia Anglorum, which provides a history of England in a continuous narration and in a heavily moralistic tone. It then moves into a discussion of Heimskringla, which also offers a continuous narration of the history of Norway. However, unlike Historia Anglorum, history is depicted through the life of each king and not the various battles and events. Breta Sögur, on the other hand, is an excellent example of how the Scandinavian redactor of the saga adapted and reworked Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia, corroborating the idea that the use of common sources/texts does not necessarily mean that the final result is identical. This thesis explores the ways medieval historians in northern Europe conceived of and transmitted historical facts, but most importantly how the role of the historian, his auctoritas, and his audience shaped the perception of the past, and influenced its modes of perception.

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Smith Angela Marion, King Æthelstan in the English, Continental and Scandinavian traditions of the tenth to the thirteenth centuries

Smith Angela Marion, King Æthelstan in the English, Continental and Scandinavian traditions of the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. M. Swan, A. Hall,  Université de Leeds)

Résumé/abstract :
Using close textual analysis, this thesis has identified similarities and differences in the ways in which the Anglo-Saxon king, Æthelstan, is depicted in narrative sources from England, the Continent and Scandinavia during the tenth to the thirteenth centuries; how historical, cultural, and literary contexts influenced their writers and their patrons and how literary analysis might contribute further to historical understandings of Æthelstan and his reign. Central to my analysis are the concepts of the sources as textual and visual narratives, deriving contemporary meaning from their intertextuality with other sources and fulfilling a function of recording and creating social memories for their own time and for the future. The thesis does not argue for the historical veracity of any one version over another but for the individual narrative ‗voices‘ to be heard and understood as part of their own historical, national and contemporary backgrounds. Based on my literary analysis of the texts I have questioned some generally held historical interpretations, suggested some alternative interpretations of my own and identified further areas for research. The thesis demonstrates that there are similarities but also significant differences in the way Æthelstan is depicted both between and within the English, Continental and Scandinavian traditions. It identifies a number of narratives within the sources that provide the basis for further research on Æthelstan: his Carolingian ambitions, his role as foster-father to Hákon of Norway, the possibility that he had a second coronation to confirm his claim to be King of all Britain and the depictions of him as a king-maker and a friend and ally of the Vikings.

Fujimoto Tamiko, Recherche sur l’écrit documentaire au Moyen Âge

Fujimoto Tamiko, Recherche sur l’écrit documentaire au Moyen Âge : le
cartulaire de l’abbaye Saint-Étienne de Caen
, Thèse de doctorat soutenue le 21 décembre 2012, (dir. V. Gazeau, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie)

Compte rendu par Grégory Combalbert (24/01/2013) sur le forum de Tabularia

Le vendredi 21 décembre 2012, à l’Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Tamiko Fujimoto a soutenu sa thèse de doctorat intitulée « Recherche sur l’écrit documentaire au Moyen Âge. Édition et commentaire du cartulaire de l’abbaye Saint-Étienne de Caen (XIIe siècle) », devant un jury composé de Pierre Bauduin, professeur d’histoire médiévale à l’Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, président du jury ; Laurent Morelle, directeur d’études à l’École Pratique des Hautes Études, rapporteur ; Benoît-Michel Tock, professeur d’histoire médiévale à l’Université de Strasbourg, rapporteur ; David Bates, professorial fellow, University of East-Anglia et Véronique Gazeau, professeur d’histoire médiévale à l’Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, directrice de la thèse.

Continuer la lecture de Fujimoto Tamiko, Recherche sur l’écrit documentaire au Moyen Âge

Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident Regards croisés sur les dynamiques et les transferts culturels des Vikings à la Rous ancienne

P. Bauduin et A. Musin (dir.), Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident : regards croisés sur les dynamiques et les transferts culturels des Vikings à la Rous ancienne, Presses universitaires de Caen, Publications du CRAHAM, 2014, 504 p., ISBN : 978-2-84133-499-5, 45 € (Eastwards and Westwards : Multiple Perspectives on the Dynamics and Cultural Transfers from the Vikings to the Early Rus’/ На Запад и на Восток : сравнительное исследование динамики культурного обмена. От викингов к Древней Руси)


Contact et information

Issu d’un projet de recherche franco-russe (CNRS-Académie des Sciences de Russie), ce volume présente les avancées de la recherche récentes sur les Vikings dans une perspective pluridisciplinaire et comparatiste largement ouverte à l’Europe orientale. Il confronte les vues de chercheurs de plusieurs disciplines travaillant sur différentes sources et qui se rattachent à des méthodologies ou à des traditions historiographiques diverses plus ou moins marquées idéologiquement.

L’ouvrage propose de réfléchir sur les dynamiques des échanges culturels analysées comme un processus d’interactions qui franchissent les groupes ethniques ou sociaux, les pays, les croyances et les pratiques religieuses, les générations, les genres. Il s’agit de s’interroger sur les particularités de ces processus et sur les transformations mutuelles des fondations scandinaves ainsi que des sociétés locales (franque, anglo-saxonne, slave, finnoise). Une large part est accordée aux acteurs de ces changements (élites, marchands, hommes d’Église, artisans, femmes, scaldes, historiographes….), ainsi qu’aux lieux ou aux espaces où celles-ci interviennent. La signification de la mémoire historique relative à la présence scandinave dans le passé régional ou national en Europe et l’impact mémoriel sur la formation des représentations de l’autre, des identités et des historiographies médiévales ou modernes sont également abordés. Le volume participe ainsi à une réflexion plus large sur les notions débattues d’acculturation, de transferts culturels, de middle ground dont l’intérêt heuristique dépasse largement le phénomène de l’expansion scandinave à l’époque viking.

The result of a Franco-Russian Research project (CNRS – Russian Academy of Sciences), this publication presents the latest advances of recent research on the Vikings in a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective across Eastern Europe. It confronts the views of researchers from several disciplines working on different sources which reflect diverse methodological or historiographical traditions that have been, to some extent, marked ideologically.

The volume proposes a reflection on the dynamics of cultural exchanges analysed as a process of interactions that have traversed ethnic or social groups, countries, religious beliefs and practices, generations, genders. Questions concerning the specificities of these processes and the reciprocal transformations of Scandinavian settlements and local societies (Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, Slavic, Finnish) are posed. A large part of the volume is devoted to the actors involved in these changes (elites, merchants, ecclesiastics, artisans, women, skalds, historiographers….), and the places or areas where they took place. The significance of historical memory in the European regional or national past concerning the Scandinavian presence and the impact of this memory on the creation of representations of the other, identities and medieval or modern historiography are equally discussed. This publication thus participates to the broader reflection on the notions discussed concerning acculturation, cultural transfers and the “middle ground” whose heuristic interest goes far beyond the phenomenon of Scandinavian expansion during the Viking era.

L’historiographie médiévale normande et ses sources antiques (Xe-XIIe siècle)

Actes du colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle et du Scriptorial d’Avranches (8-11 octobre 2009)

publiés sous la direction de Pierre Bauduin et Marie-Agnès Lucas-Avenel

2014, 16×24 cm, broché, 380 p., ISBN : 978-2-84133-485-8

Presses universitaires de Caen

30 €

Les Normands au Moyen Âge se sont passionnés pour l’histoire. Soucieux de faire œuvre de mémoire, les auteurs médiévaux relatent les origines du duché et la destinée des Normands ; ils célèbrent les exploits de leurs ducs et des chevaliers partis conquérir l’Angleterre et l’Italie du Sud. Lecteurs assidus de la Bible, ils se sont aussi inspirés des œuvres de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine et chrétienne.
Comment, en revendiquant l’héritage des Anciens, ces auteurs ont-ils fait une œuvre originale ? Issu d’un colloque interdisciplinaire qui a réuni des spécialistes français, anglais et italiens à Cerisy-la-Salle et à Avranches, ce volume apporte des réponses à cette question, à partir de l’examen renouvelé des bibliothèques normandes et au travers de l’analyse des modèles littéraires ou des stratégies d’imitation mises au service de projets historiographiques différents.