The Values of French

The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages. ERC Advanced Grant at King's College London

Histoire ancienne

Editions of the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César

  1. Introduction
  2. Text Viewer
  3. Semi-diplomatic transcription
  4. Interpretive edition
  5. Reference Manuscripts
  6. Lemmatisation and Search Page

  1. Introduction

We are in the process of producing complete digital editions of two manuscripts of the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César. The first, Paris, BnF, f. fr. 20125 (2/2 13th c., Acre), is one of the earliest and the most extensive witness of the first redaction of the Histoire ancienne. The second, London, British Library, Royal 20 D I (1330s, Naples), is the earliest extant copy of the so-called second redaction, distinguished primarily from the first by its more exhaustive account of the Fall of Troy known as Prose 5 (see Jung 1996: 505-62).

The contents of the two manuscripts are listed below (using the sections identified by Jung 1996) :

Fr20125

  • Genesis (1)
  • Orient I (2)
  • Thebes (3)
  • Greeks and Amazons (4)
  • Troy (5)
  • Eneas (6)
  • Assyrian Kings* (6bis)
  • Rome I (7)
  • Orient II (8)
  • Alexander (9)
  • Rome II (10)
  • Conquest of France by Caesar (11)

Royal

  • Thebes (3)
  • Greeks and Amazons (4)
  • Prose 5 (5bis)
  • Eneas (6)
  • Assyrian Kings* (6bis)
  • Orient II (8)
  • Rome I (7)
  • Rome II (10)

(* We have added 'Assyrian Kings' as Jung counts this section as part of Rome I, but it does not always precede Rome I in the manuscripts.)

The following materials are now available online:

  • the complete semi-diplomatic transcription of Fr20125
  • the complete semi-diplomatic transcription of Royal
  • the interpretive edition of Eneas (6), Assyrian Kings (6bis), Rome II (10) and Caesar (11) in Fr20125
  • the interpretive edition of Eneas (6) and Assyrian Kings (6bis) in Royal

The edition is not in its final form. We have taken the decision to share work-in-progress online, partly to give scholars interested in the hitherto unedited portions of the Histoire ancienne immediate access to the texts, and partly in the hope that users will give us feedback enabling us to improve any aspects of the digital editions, whether these be substantive, presentational, or functional.

To leave feedback on the current version of the edition please email hannah.j.morcos@kcl.ac.uk.

2. Text Viewer
The text viewer divides the text into the narrative sections listed above. Alternatively, it is possible to consult individual paragraphs. Users are able to align and compare the contents of Fr20125 and Royal, as well as the semi-diplomatic and interpretive texts of each manuscript. New columns of text can be added by selecting the double-column icon in the vertical bar on the right.

Numbering and Segmentation
The referencing system of the edition is keyed to the paragraph division of each manuscript, which we have numbered sequentially from beginning to end. The segments of text in each paragraph are numbered according to strong breaks in the medieval punctuation. The same numbering is used for both the semi-diplomatic and interpretive texts, regardless of the modern punctuation.

Printing the text
It is possible to print whole sections or individual paragraphs by selecting the printer icon in the vertical bar on the right. You can also create a PDF by generating the print screen, selecting File and Print, and then 'Open PDF in Preview' (MacOS users) or 'Microsoft Print to PDF' (Windows 10).

3. Semi-diplomatic transcription
The semi-diplomatic transcription aims to replicate the word division, letter forms, capitalisation and punctuation of the manuscript (our encoding of punctuation includes where line breaks coincide with a strong break in the text, e.g. capitalisation). All expanded abbreviations are indicated between square brackets. We also highlight additions and deletions by medieval scribes, editors, or readers.

4. Interpretive text
Please note: this is not a critical edition of the text, but an edition of the text in a specific manuscript. We have therefore taken a very minimal approach to emendation, correcting the text where we have found cases of duplication, copying errors, and where a minimal intervention makes the text more intelligible (based on the readings of a select group of control manuscripts, see below). Details about lacunae or narrative inconsistencies can be found in the notes.

Punctuation: we have punctuated our interpretive edition lightly, often taking our cues from (but without following systematically) the medieval punctuation. Users will be able to see the medieval punctuation in our semi-diplomatic transcription.

Diacritics: these are kept to a bare minimum. Acute accents are used as prescribed by the guidelines of the École des Chartes, and we have used tremas only to enable the disambiguation of homographs that occur in the sections of the texts that we have edited (e.g. oir ‘heir’ and oïr ‘to hear’ (and all inflections of oïr); pais ‘peace’ and païs ‘country’). We welcome, however, feedback on this issue.

Notes: at the moment, the notes are not extensive and are limited to identifying sources, textual difficulties and unusual lexical forms. Different types of note are signalled by the colour of the note icon.

5. Reference manuscripts

The notes currently include readings from a small group of reference manuscripts. These have been selected to help to rectify the evident errors in the text and to give some insight into the wider manuscript tradition.

The choice of reference manuscripts is evolving for each section as our knowledge of the tradition increases and as more manuscripts become available in digital forms. The selection is also determined by the relative presence in the manuscripts of the narrative sections of the Histoire ancienne.

a) Fr20125

The reference manuscripts for the interpretive edition of Fr20125 are listed below:

Eneas (6) and Assyrian Kings (6bis)

  1. Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, 562 (2/2 13th c., Acre; ‘long’ version)
  2. London, British Library, Additional 15268 (2/2 13th c., Acre; ‘long’ version)
  3. London, British Library, Additional 19669 (3/4 13th c., N. France; abridged version)
  4. Paris, BnF, f. fr. 168 (14th c., N. Italy; ‘long’ version)
  5. Rennes, Bibliothèque municipale, 2331 (15th c., Brittany; ‘long’ version)

Rome II (10) and Caesar (11)

  1. Chantilly, Bibliothèque du Château (Musée Condé), 726 (late 13th c., S. Italy; abridged version)
  2. Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, 562 (2/2 13th c., Acre; ‘long’ version)
  3. London, British Library, Additional 15268 (2/2 13th c., Acre; ‘long’ version)
  4. London, British Library, Additional 19669 (3/4 13th c., N. France; abridged version)
  5. Paris, BnF, f. fr. 250 (4/4 14th c., Paris; abridged version)
  6. Paris, BnF, f. fr. 686 (mid 14th c., N. Italy; ‘long’ version)
  7. Paris, BnF, f. fr. 17177 (4/4 13th c., Soissons; abridged version)
  8. Paris, BnF, nouv. acq. fr. 3576 (3/4 14th c., Paris; abridged version)
  9. Rennes, Bibliothèque municipale, 2331 (15th c., Brittany; ‘long’ version)
  10. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 78 D 47 (3/4 13th c., N. France; abridged version)

The choice of variants provided in the notes serves to place the erroneous or difficult readings of Fr20125 in the widest possible context. Fr20125 provides the most extensive text of the ‘long’ (and original) version of the Histoire ancienne. While Rennes, Bibliothèque municipale, 2331, deriving from the same tradition as Fr20125, is closely comparable to the latter in terms of content, its language has been modernised according to the norms of 15th-century French .

The other reference manuscripts belong to two groups: (a) other witnesses of the ‘long’ version (copied in Acre or from an Acre-model); (b) a selection of witnesses of the abridged version, which represents the most widely read form and the ‘vulgate’ of the Histoire ancienne (see Baker 2017). The manuscripts of the abridged version have been frequently overlooked by editors of single sections of the Histoire ancienne. We have decided to include a range of them in the notes for two principal reasons. On the one hand, the manuscripts of the abridged version are actually conservative copies of those sections which are not abridged (e.g. Rome II and Caesar). On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that the model of the abridged version is closely related to that of Fr20125 and Rennes, Bibliothèque municipale, 2331 (see Rachetta, forthcoming in Francigena). The reference manuscripts of the abridged version are taken from different iconographic groups, produced in varied centres of production in the 13th and 14th centuries.

b) Royal

The reference manuscripts for the interpretive edition of Royal include copies of the first and second redactions. The second-redaction copies have been selected from Jung’s (1996: 506-07) two principal groups of Prose 5 manuscripts:

  1. Paris, BnF, f. fr. 301 (c. 1400, Paris; group A)
  2. Paris, BnF, f. fr. 22554 (late 15th c., France; group B)

According to Barbieri (forthcoming in Romania), the entire manuscript tradition of the second redaction derives from Royal, which is the preserved archetype. However, the other manuscripts are the result of a complex copying process, in which the (often faulty and imprecise) text of Royal has been collated with other manuscripts containing the sources of the second redaction of the Histoire ancienne. The testimony of the other second-redaction manuscripts therefore needs careful consideration when the objective is to clarify the text of Royal.

The first-redaction manuscripts all belong to the abridged family and include 13th- and 14th-century copies from northern France and Italy:

  1. Chantilly, Bibliothèque du Château (Musée Condé), 726 (late 13th c., S. Italy)
  2. Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, 3982 (late 13th c., Genoa-Pisa)
  3. London, British Library, Additional 19669 (3/4 13th c., N. France)
  4. Paris, BnF, nouv. acq. fr. 3576 (3/4 14th c., Paris)

The content in Royal shared with the first redaction derives from an Italian witness of the abridged version, closely related to Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, 3982.

The choice of reference manuscripts are intended to give a better sense of origins of the errors in Royal.

We will provide more detailed descriptions of these manuscripts in due course. The contents of a select group of these manuscripts is already available in our Alignment tool. More information about all of the manuscripts can also be found in the database compiled by the Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside of France project. Links to full colour digitisations are available here.

6. Lemmatisation and Search Page
The interpretive text is currently being lemmatised using a digital tool called Lemming, created by Marcus Husar and Stephen Doerr of the Dictionnaire étymologique de l’ancien français (DEAF).

The information from lemmatisation will be integrated into the edition’s search page, which will enable users to search for lemmas or forms and filter the results using a number of different facets. The first iteration of the search page will be published by the end of summer 2019. The entries in the final version will be linked to the DEAF.

An index of proper names will be published in the next 12 months.

August 2019