Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Diploma of Charlemagne of AD 781 (Marburg, K. Preussisches Staatsarchiv). (All images from Steffens 1929, Plate 41 )
This diploma records a grant of land by Charlemagne to the abbey of Fulda. The script is Merovingian chancery script, a cramped and elongated script that is particularly difficult to read. While the subject of the grant is identified in the simplest terms as a field called Unofelt, the business is encased in rather florid and portentous language. The document incorporates a number of complex graphic elements which form part of the authentication. It would seem that it was more important to be able to validate the document with reference to this embedded code of signs than to actually read it. The document formerly bore the royal seal, evidently derived from the king's ring, on the lower right of the page, but this has vanished.

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Click on each of the above to walk your way through the text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 24/4/2005.