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Cistercian charters of the 12th century – CHARCIS

Submission summary

The publication of medieval charters is an important issue for the European diplomatics since a long time. A great work has been done since the first publications during the 17th century but there still is a great lot of work to be done. Even for the 12th cent. Many archives never have been systematically edited. So, the first stakes of CharCis is to relaunch the edition of medieval charters.

From the years 1970’, computer science has been applied to Human Sciences, on which it had a great impact. But, if there are today many databases of charters, in France and in Europe, there is a too big diversity in the making of these databases and of their query interfaces, although data grammars have been developed, like the TEI or the CEI, which is a kind of extension of the former, and although the generalization of the XML-language. So, the second stakes of the CharCis project, is to organize a new and generalized format of databases charters and to create a new query interface, efficient for thematic as for lexical queries, which could become a model adaptable for European diplomatics in its diversity.

Some years ago, a new kind of texts publication has been proposed: the idea that it should be possible to publish what should not be a critical edition in the usual meaning of the word, but a first step towards a critical edition. A simple transcription, from one single manuscript, without authenticity critics, without identification of the place and person-names, but published on the net in a database, so that it could be interrogated. The 3rd stakes of the project is the publication of a great lot (about 2,000) of unpublished charters; a simple publication, 1st step towards a critical edition, for giving a first access to the texts.

One of the most spectacular movements of the 12th century is the development of the Cistercian order. This Cistercian history seems to be well known, but actually, many parts of this tremendous expansion are only known on a simplifying way. This is because many Cistercian texts are still unpublished, and this is mainly true for the Cistercian charters. So, the 4th stakes of our project is, thanks to the publication of unedited Cistercian charters, to give way to a better knowledge of the Cistercian abbeys, and mainly of the growth of the order and of the uses of literacy among the Cistercian monasteries.

Finally, the aim of the project is to create a spur to action on the development of scientific research, and especially on the production of tools in two directions: the production of a system of text edition working following the rules of the CEI/TEI, which actually should be a ready-to-use system for the basis element but thanks to which the researcher could go further; the production of maps tanks to IGS, which localize with a maximal accuracy the historical datas, and give way to an analysis and representation. So the 5th stakes of the project is to create a spur to action for the production of new tools.

Project coordination

Benoît-Michel TOCK (Arts, civilisation et histoire de l'Europe) –

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CMJS Centre de médiévistique Jean Schneider
ARTEHIS Archéologie, Terre, Histoire, Sociétés
GRHIS Groupe de Recherches d'Histoire
ARCHE Arts, civilisation et histoire de l'Europe
IRHT Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes
CRAHAM Centre de Recherches Archéologiques et Historiques Anciennes et Médiévales

Help of the ANR 256,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2013 - 36 Months

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