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Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
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Hatty
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If you google 'MS Augustus II' it comes up as Magna Carta. I didn't know Magna Carta had been lumped together with sundry other charters. It's always spoken of so reverently that I'd assumed it was a special, singular document.

Only four copies of Magna Carta survive even though numerous copies were made and distributed throughout the country

Four of those 1215 manuscripts survive to the present day, one of which is owned by Lincoln Cathedral, another by Salisbury Cathedral and the other two being held at the British Library in London.

One of the two British Library copies was badly damaged by fire and is unreadable, it's also the only one of the four surviving copies to have the royal seal attached

Sadly, the Canterbury Magna Carta (Cotton Charter XIII 31A) was damaged by fire in 1731, and still further by a restoration attempt at the British Museum in the 1830s. It is the only 1215 Magna Carta still to have the Great Seal of King John attached, though its text is now largely unreadable with the naked eye


It is surely significant that the MS Augustus II is Canterbury-centric; perhaps Matthew Parker, the Archbishop of Canterbury and founder of the Parker Library, was responsible for putting Magna Carta in, or interpolating as manuscript specialists say. Either way, the Canterbury Magna Carta has a very strange history, or provenance as the British Library says.

Until now, the medieval provenance of the two British Library manuscripts of the 1215 Magna Carta has been less certain. One was reputedly found in a London tailor's shop in the 17th century, and then given to Sir Robert Cotton (d. 1631) as a New Year's gift on 1 January 1629 (now British Library Cotton MS Augustus II 106); the other was sent to Cotton by his friend, Sir Edward Dering (d. 1644), lieutenant of Dover Castle, in 1630 (now British Library Cotton Charter XIII 31A). It has previously been assumed that Dering's Magna Carta must have been that sent to the Cinque Ports in 1215. However, new research by Professor David Carpenter of King's College, London, has demonstrated conclusively that the Dering Magna Carta had in fact been kept at Canterbury Cathedral in the Middle Ages, and that it must now be re-designated the Canterbury Magna Carta.

http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2015/01/the-canterbury-magna-carta-a-new-discovery.html
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Mick Harper
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Questioning the Magna Carta, dear, will get you put in the Tower for lèse-majesté. Salisbury and Lincoln though would seem to be the key. The other two are clearly not worthy of your talents. We can communicate by raven.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Several years ago I suggested that Thomas Jefferson forged the Magna Carta as part of a pro-US Independence propaganda campaign masterminded from France.
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Ishmael


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Today, I wonder who forged Thomas Jefferson.

(kidding)

(I think)
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Hatty
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Junilius 'the African' is the father of Christian chronography (oddly echoing Bede and his On the Reckoning of Time)

Julius Africanus is the father of Christian chronography. Little is known of his life and little remains of his works. He is important chiefly because of his influence on Eusebius, on all the later writers of Church history among the Fathers, and on the whole Greek school of chroniclers


A fire-damaged copy of a biblical exegesis text by Junilius Africanus has survived. The copy was "made in 7th/8th century Anglo-Saxon England" according to the British Library. At some point his name got changed to Julius, more Roman-sounding perhaps.

As the first Christian attempt at a universal history, and as the source of all later Christian chronography, this work is of great importance. Eusebius made it the foundation of his chronicle. It is the source of all later Byzantine writing of history, so that for centuries the Christian world accepted the dates and epochs calculated by Julius.

It's interesting that Byzantine histories focus on the period between the end of the (western) Roman Empire and the beginning of the Islamic Empire.

But in any case, despite the influence of Junilius's history
Only fragments of this work are now extant.
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Hatty
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A medievalist has tweeted about the wall paintings in All Saints Claverley being based on a Roman poem. All Saints is a Norman church and the wall paintings are c 1200 according to Historic England.

The Psychomachia (Battle of spirits or soul war) by the Late Antique Latin poet Prudentius, from the early fifth century AD, is probably the first and most influential "pure" medieval allegory, the first in a long tradition of works as diverse as the Romance of the Rose, Everyman, and Piers Plowman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychomachia

The poem celebrates Christianity defeating pagan idolatry, 'cheered on by a thousand Christian martyrs'. Wiki is a little more circumspect

The work was extremely popular, and survives in many medieval manuscripts, 20 of them illustrated. It may be the subject of wall paintings in the church at Claverley, Shropshire, England.

It's most unexpected to read that a Roman work is the inspiration for the best-known medieval romances. Not much is known about Prudentius but he's surmised to have lived and probably died in Catalonia.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Hatty wrote:
Junilius 'the African' is the father of Christian chronography (oddly echoing Bede and his On the Reckoning of Time)


Julius Africanus is the father of Christian chronography. Little is known of his life and little remains of his works. He is important chiefly because of his influence on Eusebius, on all the later writers of Church history among the Fathers, and on the whole Greek school of chroniclers


His is a go to..... travelogue guide, for the discerning ancient traveler, it later informs Christian chronology and pilgrim trails. You have to be in Africanus or Orosius for people to know where they are to stop off, and take in the sights, waters, relics and history. No doubt a fee was charged for entry into Africanus.......

Of course he wasn't a christian.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Looking through the Saxon west door and porch, down the nave to the chancel and east window. Traces of carving survive but they are not easy to make out. The Venerable Bede would have, and other Saints, regularly passed through this door as part of his monastic training and education prior to his work as priest, teacher and author of important books on all subjects.


Strewth, Bede passed this doorway, it's an Anglo Saxon doorway. It's Britain's oldest church.

http://www.docbrown.info/docspics/northeast/nutpage28.htm


wiki wrote:
Ecgfrith of Northumbria granted Benedict land in 674 for the purpose of building a monastery. He went to the Continent to bring back masons who could build a monastery in the Pre-Romanesque style. Benedict made his fifth and final trip to Rome in 679 to bring back books for a library, saintly relics, stonemasons, glaziers, and a grant from Pope Agatho granting his monastery certain privileges. Benedict made five overseas voyages in all to stock the library.[8][9]

In 682 Benedict appointed Eosterwine as his coadjutor and the King was so delighted at the success of St Peter's, he gave him more land in Jarrow and urged him to build a second monastery. Benedict erected a sister foundation (St Paul) at Jarrow. He appointed Ceolfrid as the superior, who left Wearmouth with 20 monks to start the foundation in Jarrow. Bede, one of Benedict's pupils, tells us that he brought builders and glass-workers from Francia to erect the buildings in stone.[9][10]

In 685, Ecgfrith granted the land south of the River Wear to Biscop. Separated from the monastery, this would be known as the "sundered land," which in time would become the name of the wider urban area.[11]

Benedict's idea was to build a model monastery for England, sharing his knowledge of the experience of the Church in Europe. It was the first ecclesiastical building in Britain to be built in stone, and the use of glass was a novelty for many in 7th-century England. It eventually possessed what was a large library for the time – several hundred volumes – and it was here that Benedict's student Bede wrote his famous works. The library became world-famous and manuscripts that had been copied there became prized possessions throughout Europe,[12] including especially the Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Bible in the Latin Vulgate version.


Eh hang on.... according to Bede he has used foreign masons and glass workers in the style of European churches......in fact Biscop (surely it's a reversal, err, Benedict Bishop) was always travelling to Rome, (on at least 5 occasions we are told). So the church is built in a style that aped Roman, used Roman materials, and later finished off in a Romanesque style.
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Hatty
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Just found out that a Latin - Tironian dictionary exists.

http://www.mgh.de/datenbanken/varia/tiro/

The connection between Tironian and Monumenta Germaniae Historica is unexpected and unexplained. MGH was written about 1500 officially but published in the nineteenth century, in 1826.

I hadn't realised that 'Tironian' is reserved for so-called Carolingian manuscripts and in use for only a century. No reason is given for its absence during the preceding four hundred years (say, 400-800 AD)

This system of shorthand is attested in the ancient world, but was adapted and used extensively among the esoteric intellectuals at the courts of Charlemagne and his Frankish successors. Large numbers of manuscripts written partially or sometimes entirely in Tironian notes survive from this period (roughly 750-900 CE). Carolingian court scholars and bureaucrats seem to have been attracted to this writing system’s facility for writing everyday documents, but entire books were composed in it.


Where are these 'entire books'? Anyway I was just thinking the whole thing is strangely reminiscent of Anglo-Saxon when I read a bit further on that Tironian was used in A-S texts too. Tironian is only found in late medieval monkish scribblings and it seems the blogger is uneasy, starting the article by referencing the Voynich Manuscript, deemed to be a forgery of undated but relatively late composition.

Although knowledge and use of Tironian shorthand disappeared rapidly during the decline of Carolingian court culture in the tenth century, aspects of the system were preserved in part by incorporation into the standard long-hand forms of writing Latin. The Tyronian note looking like ‘7’ was frequently employed in normal Latin writing to represent the word ‘et’ (‘and’). In England especially, Tironian ‘7’ was so popular for writing the Latin word for the conjunction that scribes even used it for the native English word meaning the same in Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts.

https://sites.nd.edu/manuscript-studies/tag/script/

The surviving fragments of Tirnonian shorthand are displayed in France's national library. The previous owner of the fragments was a 17th century Burgundian councillor, Philibert de la Mare, best known for his history of Burgundy published 1689, and of course a collector of books and manuscripts, though Burgundy was rather annihilated by then (see the Treaty of Nijmegen 1678)
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Wile E. Coyote


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Hatty wrote:
Just found out that a Latin - Tironian dictionary exists.

http://www.mgh.de/datenbanken/varia/tiro/

The connection between Tironian and Monumenta Germaniae Historica is unexpected and unexplained. MGH was written about 1500 officially but published in the nineteenth century, in 1826.

I hadn't realised that 'Tironian' is reserved for so-called Carolingian manuscripts and in use for only a century. No reason is given for its absence during the preceding four hundred years (say, 400-800 AD)




Ortho position is that abolition of shorthand, occurred during the Middle Ages as it was considered cryptography, diabolical, black magic and witchcraft etc. Apparently the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian, forbade its use after 534 AD, as it had come to be seen as a secretive code. It suddenly makes a comeback around 1180 AD when Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, encouraged research into Tironian shorthand. No wonder he had to be killed.


http://thecircular.org/the-long-slow-death-of-shorthand/


Shorthand Sue teaches teeline.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-Vd-lV1PJg

It does make you think if you get to 3.56.........
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Hatty
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Becket of Bec did time as a clerk and surely made use of, even invented, an abbreviated writing form. In his position as head honcho it's only natural for lower ranking scribes to follow his example. This is of course the period when Canterbury went looking for 'precedents' to bolster its authority and the Age of Forgery was in full flow.
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Mick Harper
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It does make you think if you get to 3.56.........

Mine only got to 3.40 but if your point is that T-line (new to me by the way, I only did Speedwriting which is based on syllables rather than letters) is better in all kinds of ways than the Latin alphabet then we return to a point made in Forgeries that all these cursive scribal tricks are clear smoking guns if only our own wretched scribes would just cease for a moment treating them all as historiography.

The Tironensians, as we have observed before, are the key to the unravelling of the whole of (European) history before c 1100 AD. Lovely that it appears for a bit, disappears for a longish bit, then appears for a bit, then disappears for a longish bit and the whole thing accepted as 'just one of those things' by the dorks of academe. Will nothing shake their faith?
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Mick Harper
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I thought I might take a bog standard charter that the Anglo-Saxonists are celebrating at the moment -- under the title Best name ever: Badanoð Beotting! -- and give it the once over in light of what we know or suspect. It is (but of course) a Cotton Library production of a (but of course) Christ Church, Canterbury production which everybody insists is authentic c 845 AD.

I, Badanoth Beotting, declare and write

How curious for a ninth century non-cleric. And how convenient.

how it is my wish that my heritable land (which I acquired and bought from King Æthelwulf with full freedom in perpetual inheritance)

No less. You can’t argue with that in a court of law.

should go after my day and that of my heirs, namely my wife and my children.

No question of the Church turfing out the kiddiewinks to get their filthy maulers on it.

First I wish to give myself up to God Almighty in the foundation at Christ Church, and to place my children there, and entrust my wife and children to the ‘lord’ and to the community and to the foundation after my day, for peace and protection and ‘lordship’ in the things that they need. And they shall enjoy the estate during their lifetime, and entertain the community with a feast at my anniversary, as best they can afford.

What, they may not be able to afford a din dins in exchange for an entire estate? I expect they could. For a bit. Not now prolly.

And the community shall commemorate us in their divine services, as shall be beneficial for us and charitable in them. And after the lives of my wife and children, I command in the name of God that that estate be given to the community for their ‘table’ as a perpetual inheritance, to use as shall be most pleasing to them.

Yes, yes, we get the picture.

And I request the community, for the love of God, that the person to whom the community bestows the estate shall fulfil the same condition for providing a feast on my anniversary, as my successors may have instituted beforehand and for divine benefit for my soul.

This is very significant. Lots of people bequeath stuff to institutions ‘in perpetuity’. It’s part of the deal what with death coming up and all. Think of all those Turners going to the Tate to be shown in perpetuity. But it can be a right nuisance to the institutions. Think of the Tate with far too many Turners on their hands and no chance of selling, swapping or even putting them in storage. It can require an Act of Parliament to change the terms of a will. Unless the possibility is envisaged in the original will!

Then it is my wish that there should be two of these documents the same: one the community shall keep one with their charters, the other my heirs for their day.

Guess which one survived.

Further, of the estate which I grant to the community, there is sixteen yokes of arable land

That is one helluvalot of land. Something to do with how much an ox can plough in a day times sixteen.

and of meadow [some words deleted]

This is most mysterious. Not that anyone can be bothered to get the old luminescence-o-scope out to discover what they were. Maybe because it could be a smoking gun. The land itself is nowhere identified, which it ought to be if it was genuine, but if this is an all purpose late medieval forgery, that could be applied to any parcel of land in need of a bit of legal protection ("Yes, your honour, King Aethulwulf himself") then these words might be pretty important.

all both to be enjoyed as a perpetual inheritance in my day and afterwards, so to be applied as shall be best advised and dearest to me. + Ceolnoth, archbishop writes and confirms this with the mark of Christ’s cross. + Ealhhere, dux, write and approves this + Bægmund, priest [and] abbot, writes and approves this + Hysenoth, priest, writes and approves this + Wigmund, priest + Badenoth, priest + Osmund, priest + Swithberht, deacon + Dyddel + Cichus + Sigemund + Æthelwulf + Tile + Cyneberht + Æthelred + Badanoth

Are you sure you need quite so many dignitaries to be lined up for an obscure real estate transaction? Oh well, the more the merrier I suppose.

Taken from Dutch Anglo-Saxonist @thijsporck Dr Thijs Porck. Teaching and researching Old English, Middle English, Tolkien and Medieval Studies @ Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society https://twitter.com/thijsporck/status/1031284887767207936
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Hatty
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Turns out the same scribe penned a couple of land charters also held by Canterbury. One of them features the same personnel, but the scribe's endorsements were written in the 12th century (1194). How so?

S 296.... A.D. 845 (Wye, Kent, 16 Nov.). Æthelwulf, king of Wessex and Kent, to Badanoth, his apparitor; grant of land near Canterbury, in return for 15 mancuses of gold. Latin

The text is in Latin but the names are prominently Old English e.g. Aeðeluulf.
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Mick Harper
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but the scribe's endorsements were written in the 12th century (1194). How so?

This highlights the AE aspect of all this. If early medieval manuscripts were the objects of proper scrutiny -- even proper academic scrutiny -- things like this would be seized upon with great glee and a quick monograph written, dispatched and published in an accredited organ. But early medieval manuscripts are the raw material of early medieval history, they are often times the only raw material of early medieval history, so if you want an academic study of early medieval history to exist at all in any meaningful way, you have to accept the existence of genuine early medieval manuscripts.

Thus the answer to "How so?" in this case could be any of the following
1. A commentary about how scribal endorsements are often not necessarily contemporaneous with the original.
2. This is a copy of an original -- as demonstrated by the presence of a twelfth century hand -- a common enough occurrence
3. This is a forgery, as many such land agreements of the time are known to be.

All fair enough. But the problem with (3) is that there are shared characteristics with at least two other manuscripts, so they will have to be jettisoned as well. And now there are a whole tribe of notables that are known to be used by forgers to authenticate documents, and those same people turn up in a great many other documents .... well, you can see where that's going.

But it's OK, one of the other two documents is known to be authentic so only (1) and (2) need be considered. Phew.
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