Legal Practice and the Written Word in the Early Middle Ages
Legal formularies are books of model legal documents compiled by early medieval scribes for their own use and that of their pupils. A major source for the history of early medieval Europe, they document social relations beyond the narrow world of the political elite. Formularies offer much information regarding the lives of ordinary people: sales and gifts of land, divorces, adoptions, and disputes over labour as well as theft, rape or murder. Until now, the use of formularies as a historical source has been hampered by severe methodological problems, in particular through the difficulty of establishing a precise chronological or geographical context for them. By examining Frankish legal formularies from the Merovingian and Carolingian periods, this book provides an invaluable, detailed analysis of the problems and possibilities associated with formularies, and will be required reading for scholars of early medieval history.
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