Journal Article

The Chancery and Charters of the Kings of Sicily (1130–1212)

G.A. Loud

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXIV, issue 509, pages 779-810
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI:
The Chancery and Charters of the Kings of Sicily (1130–1212)

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This article examines the surviving documentation from the chancery of the kings of Sicily, and the personnel and practices of the royal chancery. Despite the reputation of the Sicily as one of the most administratively precocious of medieval kingdoms, disappointingly few royal documents now survive, and the proportion of forgeries among purported royal documents is alarmingly high. The article examines the surviving documentation, and the evidence that this is indeed part of what was once a much larger corpus, looking at evidence for deperdita, the work of individual notaries, and types of document that may have been produced in large numbers but survive today only in isolated examples. It examines the change from most documents being produced in Greek (as they were under the counts of Sicily before the creation of the monarchy in 1130) to the dominance of Latin in the chancery, a development that was certainly linked with Maio of Bari, the effective director of the chancery from 1144 and chief royal minister 1154-60. It then examines the continuity both of personnel and practice in the Latin section of the chancery, which was marked even after the replacement of the Norman dynasty by the new Staufen rulers in 1194. Then it discusses evidence for the early loss of royal documents, and how this may be linked with the plethora of forgeries written during the thirteenth century. Finally, some case studies for the forgery of royal documents are briefly examined—yet even these are important evidence for the preoccupations of, in particular, churchmen at the time when they were written.

Journal Article.  17090 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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