CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

The Secret Life of Writing: People, Script and Ideas in the Iberian Peninsula (c. 900-1200)

Project description

Uncovering medieval manuscripts of lay people

Most medieval manuscripts preserved were those that were of interest to the powerful but there are other manuscripts that have also survived and show a different side of medieval society. The EU-funded PeopleAndWriting project aims to explore this common people-writing pairing to uncover what writing meant for lay communities and how it modelled their daily life. As an interdisciplinary study, it will apply a novel method combining approaches from manuscript studies to anthropology to uncover the hidden history of the people who wrote, signed, read and kept this material. The project will focus on the unmapped corpus of manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula. It will be made available to the general public.

Objective

As a rule, only those medieval manuscripts that were of interest for the powerful have been preserved. Extant codices were cherished throughout centuries as tangible signs of cultural pre-eminence and carriers of the sacred word; charters were kept as custodians of patrimony and witness to the history of institutions, proclaiming the reasons why monasteries and cathedrals should be revered. But against this rule, other manuscripts that did not directly serve the purposes of high-status minorities were created and are still around. Codices that, belonging to an ecclesiastical rite that was suppressed, should not survive today, but were kept as guardians of tradition. Charters that, intermingled with royal diplomas, have survived without an apparent reason for they do not relate to privileges granted. These sources show us a different side of medieval society in which non-powerful individuals outside central institutions played a crucial role in understanding the implications of written communication, shaping their social memory and that of their past by fully integrating writing in their lives. PeopleAndWriting aims at exploring this common people-writing pairing to uncover what writing meant for lay communities, how it modelled their daily life, and how the use of writing individualised people within their group. From the interdisciplinary study of theses sources that defy the rule, the project proposes a novel method combining approaches from Manuscript Studies to Anthropology to, based upon the graphical, textual, and historical analysis of the sources, reveal the hidden history of the people who wrote, signed, read, and kept handwritten material. Moreover, by focusing on a hitherto unmapped corpus of manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula, which will be made openly available to the general public, the project aims to integrate Iberia in the recently opened general debate on Medieval Communication, exploring new avenues of research on Written Culture.

Host institution

UNIVERSIDAD DE SALAMANCA
Net EU contribution
€ 995 040,00
Address
CALLE PATIO DE ESCUELAS 1
37008 Salamanca
Spain

See on map

Region
Centro (ES) Castilla y León Salamanca
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 995 040,00

Beneficiaries (1)