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Studies in Merovingian Latin Epigraphy and Documents


This dissertation is a study of the subliterary Latin of Gaul from the fourth to the eighth centuries. The materials studied consist in epigraphic and documentary sources.

The inscriptions of late antique and early medieval Trier and Clermont-Ferrand receive a statistical, philological and comparative analysis, which results in 1) fine-grained decade-by-decade mapping of phonological and morphosyntactic developments, 2) comparative discussion of forms of importance to the chronological and regional development of Vulgar Latin, and, 3) isolation of sociolectal characteristics. Particular attention is paid to the issue of inscription dating based upon linguistic grounds.

This dissertation also approaches papyrus and parchment documents as material culture artifacts. It studies the production, the use, and the characteristics of these documents during the Merovingian period.

This dissertation examines the reception that the Merovingian documents received in the later Middle Ages. This is tied to document destruction and survival, which I argue are the offshoot of two processes: deaccession and reuse. Reuse is tied to the later medieval practice of systematized forgery. Systematized forgeries, in turn, shed light upon the Merovingian originals, thanks to the very high level of systematic interplay between base (the Merovingian documents) and output documents (the forgeries).

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