JCJC SHS 3 - JCJC : Sciences humaines et sociales : Cultures, arts, civilisations

Digitalized edition of the AA9 manuscript of the Archives Municipales de Montpellier known as "Le Petit Talamus" – TALAMUS


Scientific and electronic edition of the manuscript AA belonging to the Archives Municipales of Montpellier, called «Le Petit Thalamus«, through a multidisciplinary approach using the expertise of historians, philologists, art and law historians.

A founding principle of urban memory

Beyond the realization of the editon and the restitution both to scholars and to the general public of such an important text, the main objective was to question the relationships established between the town itself and the «Petit Thalamus« which appears to be the changing receptacle of its own memory. In other words, trying to understand how was built up and developped this urban memory at the historical, linguistic and juridicial level. <br /><br />http://mediatheque.montpellier-agglo.com/action-culturelle-/conferences-enregistrees/video-de-vincent-challet-10-05-2012-212937.khtml?RH=1170340252774

The method followed is the one of a methodic exploration not only of the AA9 manuscript but also of all the manuscripts of the same type which are preserved in order to be able to trace the manuscript tradition of the «Petit Thalamus«. It has to be completed by a questioning on the structure of the different parts of this text (urban chronicle, oaths, customs, urban laws).

The first results clearly showed that the AA 9 manuscript is a composite one and allowed us to define the different levels of elaboration. Furthermore, by putting in connection the different manuscripts, it has been possible to lead a reflection on the sources of this urban chronicle. It helps us to understand how the writers used and reused the elements included in the oldest manuscripts and recompose them to elaborate a new history of the town which is linked to new circunstances. For instance, what appeared fundamental under the Aragonese kings rule was quite clumsy under the French’s ones and completely diseappeared in the AA9 manuscript. Such a process can also be seen in the juridical sections as the law corpus is not always the same in the different manuscript. Endly, the integration to the whole project of the French chronicle written in the XVIth century, after a gap of 80 years, lead to the question of the stability and useness of such a model.

There are numerous perspectives of research. Indeed, the «Petit Thalamus« is the oldest register of its type written in vernacular language for the whole Western Europe. Its study and its restitution will alow to understand the deep originality of the consulate of Montpellier and, besides, will enlighten this kind of written texts shared by numerous towns of Western Mediterranean lands. The use of the TEI technology enables a comparison between the manuscripts, a precise study ot the evolution of the occitan language in Montpellier and an inquiry on the links between law, consulate and population in Montpellier and its influential area. This first global study of such a manuscript could then be used as a model for a possible enlargement of this project that could include this kind of urban production in a area from Northern Spain to Northern Italy and including the whole Languedoc as well as Provence.

Publications (V. Challet, «Le Petit Thalamus de Montpellier: un monument-document de l'histoire montpelliéraine«, Bulletin Historique de la Ville de Montpellier, décembre 2009, n° 34, p. 24-37; on line : halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00837615
V. Challet, «The Petit Thalamus of Montpellier: moving mirror of a urban political identity«, communication présentée lors du colloque «En formato de identidad. Identitades Politicas Urbanas en la Edad Media« (Madrid, 27-28 septembre 2012), publication prévue dans J. A. Jara Fuente (éd.), «On (Political) Identity. Urban Sameness and Otherness in the Late Middle Ages«, Turnhout, Brepols
H. Lieutard, «Toponims estrangièrs dins lo Pichòt Talamus«, 6en obrador
internacional de lingüistica occitana, Tolosa 2- Lo Miralh, (http://olo6.tumblr.com/)
G. Russo, «The making of collective memory in the South of France«, GCMS Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Reading, sous presse
G. Russo, «Usage linguistique et identité urbaine. Le cas des annales occitanes de Montpellier«, colloque «Les Identités urbaines dans le Midi de la France (XIIe-XVe siècle)«, Montpellier, sous presse
B. Beys, « L’image de Vincent Ferrier dans les livres d’heures de la fin du Moyen Âge » in Pratiques religieuses et livres d’heures dans les sociétés d’Europe méridionale, 16-17 septembre 2011 in Journée d’études internationales organisée par le CIHAM – UMR 5648 (Université Lumière Lyon 2, CNRS, EHESS, ENS Lyon, UAPV), sous la dir. de Christiane Raynaud et de Paul Payan, Paris, Éditions du Léopard d'Or ( à paraître).

The papers already published or to be published shows the fundamental multidisciplinary approach of the project (philology, art history, history) and the interest of a systematic comparison of the different manuscripts.

The “Thalamus” project is an interdisciplinary project involving medieval historians, philologists and historians of law working together to create a scholarly, digitalized edition of a manuscript found in the Municipal Archives of Montpellier and known as “le Petit Thalamus”. This manuscript, started in 1333 and continued until the 1450’s, is the last of a series of similar manuscripts redacted under the authority of the consuls (municipal authorities) starting in the 1260’s; seven complete manuscripts and some fragments still survive. Masterpiece of the vast effort of memorial reconstruction on the part of the consulate, “Le Petit Thalamus” includes the privileges granted the city (the customs), the texts of a legislative nature produced by the consuls, the oaths of municipal officers, toll rates, along with a chronicle tracing the list of consuls.
This document is exceptional because few towns took it upon themselves to recount their own history and memory from the very beginning of the consulate (with the exception of Genoa). Writing the history of the city, moreover, remained in most medieval towns an effort on the margins of public life, undertaken most often by the great patrician families. The existence in Montpellier, therefore, of historical annals under the direction of the consular power constitutes a specificity that invites speculation. Studying the “Petit Thalamus” is all the more interesting in that there remain several manuscripts written down between 1260 and 1333, making it possible to trace the process of recomposition of an urban historical memory which follows evolution of the town and reveals some significant lapses of memory. A conscious, constructed work on the part of a consulate going back to its origins, once its institutional integrity was assured, the Petit Thalamus does not only record the history of the town; in creating a collective memory, it created the town itself as a universitas, and thus played a fundamental role in the emergence of an urban consciousness. The exceptional character of the document is linked to the unique status of the consuls. Granted the power to issue regulations (potestas statuendi) as early as 1205, the consuls are relatively autonomous. Neither the customs of Montpellier nor the consular statutes are representative of the situation of the period, for they resulted from particular political and historical circumstances that resulted in an exceptional legislative dynamism. They bear witness to the influence that Roman law exerted on customary law and are seen as part of the development of a European ius commune. The choice of the Occitan language for the redaction is significant, making of the ms. AA9 a document testifying to the emergence of a linguistic consciousness. The switch from Latin to Occitan reminds us inevitably of the notion of scripta, recorded in the ms. AA9, which reflects three different chronological phases. The study of the scripta from the XIIIth to the XVth century will contribute to our knowledge concerning the history of the Occitan ; this linguistic study will be accompanied by a translation, a glossary and an index.
The Thalamus Project aims to undertake the complete study of the ms. AA9, to produce a scholarly edition of the text, accompanied by a translation and a presentation of a juridical, philological and historical nature. As well as a printed edition, an digitalized edition will make it available to the scientific community, as well as to the general public, via Internet, and will make it possible to consult the manuscript folio by folio, using the Text Encoding Initiative technique. The goal of the project is, then, twofold: the scientific goal is to render accessible a text fundamental for the history of Montpellier, and for the history of urban memoria ; the second goal is to allow the general public to appreciate an important phase of the town’s history, and thus to contribute to the constitution of a contemporary memoria.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Vincent Challet (UNIVERSITE PAUL VALERY - MONTPELLIER III) – vincent.challet@univ-montp3.fr

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.



Help of the ANR 120,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 48 Months

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