The Values of French

The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages. ERC Advanced Grant (no. 670726) at King's College London






Alignment is a digital tool designed with two main aims: 1. To map the contents of a selection of key witnesses of the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César; 2. To represent visually the variation of some selected textual features.

Alignment records the contents of each manuscript, numbered according to the paragraph division of Paris, BnF, f. fr. 20125, including information on rubrics, prose and verse form, material and non-material lacunae. This first version offers three different visualisations of the data, each designed for a different purpose.

Alignment is integrated with the digital edition of the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César: users can directly access the text of each paragraph in Paris, BnF, f. fr. 20125 and London, BL, Royal 20 D I from the visualisations by clicking on 'Read' or the relevant bar.

At the moment, Alignment displays data from six manuscripts:

  • Paris, BnF, f. fr. 20125 – the most complete witness of the first redaction. [see the reproduction]
  • London, BL, Royal 20 D I – the earliest and most authoritative witness of the second redaction. The alignment of Royal includes Prose 5, a section which is exclusive to the second redaction. [see the reproduction]
  • London, BL, Additional 15268 – an important representative of the ‘Acre’ group, i.e. one of the late thirteenth-century manuscripts produced in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, which disseminate the 'long' version of the first redaction. [see the reproduction]
  • London, BL, Additional 19669 – one of the earliest witnesses of the so-called ‘beta version’ of the first redaction, the abridged text produced in north-eastern France. [see the reproduction]
  • Paris, BnF, f. fr. 686 – a copy of the 'long' version copied from an Acre model, likely produced in the Veneto between 1350 and 1375. The manuscript also includes Li Faits des Romains (ff. 424r-455r), Lives of Chevaliers (ff. 445r-448r), Légendes des saints apôtres (448r-555v). [see the reproduction]
  • Paris, BnF, f. fr. 17177 – derives from the ‘beta version’ of the first redaction and provides a further abbreviated text; it represents one of the rare cases in which the Histoire ancienne is copied in a manuscript compilation. [see the reproduction]
  • Chantilly, Bibliothèque du château, 726 – the earliest witness to transmit the Histoire ancienne with the Faits des Romains; produced in Italy, likely for Charles I of Anjou (d. 1285), towards the end of the thirteenth century; shares the iconographic tradition (multi-compartment illuminations across two registers) with BL, Additional 19669 and BnF, f. fr. 17177. [see the reproduction]

User Guidelines

To navigate Alignment, go to the Settings menu, on the top right of the page.


Users can choose from three options for visualisation:

  • Table: this is the best option for users who need to locate a paragraph in one of the manuscripts or compare the contents or rubrics of a short range of paragraphs. The sequence of paragraphs will appear in a classic tabular presentation.
  • Bars: this is the best option for users who would like a synthetic view of larger textual ranges, such as entire sections or the whole text. It is also the most suitable solution for individuating patterns of variation.
  • Column: this is the best option for users who need both access to details concerning single paragraphs and an overall view.


Users can select which narrative units of the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César they want to be displayed.


Users can choose which manuscript(s) they want to be displayed.

Metadata fields

Users can select the information they want to be displayed:

  • locus = localisation of each paragraph in manuscripts (folio and column);
  • rubric = text of the rubrics; displacement of rubrics and additional ones, if any; where there is no information about rubrics, it means that the paragraph is copied continuously after the preceding one. The indication ‘Rubric: null’ appears in two cases:

1) when there is a blank space for a rubric in the manuscript, but no rubric,

2) when the beginning of a paragraph is part of a lacuna, hence the rubric may have been present originally;

  • verse = verse form of a paragraph; it is also signalled if the verses are lineated (abbreviated to ‘lin’) or continuously copied (abbreviated to ‘cont’);
  • variation = occurrence of a material lacuna (total or partial);
  • note = additional information necessary to understand the configuration of the alignment (i.e. information about non-material lacunae, displacement of folios after the manuscript was copied).

July 2020