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Research Projects of the University of Cologne‘s Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Manuscript with the beginning of the Capitulare legibus additum Charlemagne (803) (Wolfenbüttel, Library of Duke August the Younger, Cod. Guelf. 299 Gud. Lat., fol. 34v)

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Edition of the Frankish Capitularies

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Karl Ubl | Chair of Medieval History

Funded by the German Academies‘ long-term Programme / North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts

This project is preparing a new edition of the decrees of the Frankish rulers. These texts - known as capitularies because of their subdivision into chapters - are amongst the most important sources for the history of the Frankish kingdoms that covered large parts of Western and Central Europe during the 6th-9th century CE.
The new edition of the Frankish capitularies aims to take their unique history of transmission into full consideration. While capitularies originated as individual texts from deliberations and assemblies at court, they were transmitted exclusively in collections produced locally by royal agents. The edition will therefore pursue two goals in a joint process of exploration and editing: (1) each capitulary will be edited and translated as an individual text, reconstructing its original form, to be published in print; (2) each collection will be published as a digital edition online, making it easier for scholars everywhere to study the way in which capitularies were enacted locally and passed on. The digital edition, with its transcriptions of the various collections from almost 300 manuscript witnesses, not only provides the material for the printed edition, but is meant as its permanent counterpart. For historical research, it is not only the reconstruction of original texts that is interesting but also the (re-)combination and (re-)ordering of the texts as well as the actual wording in which they were transmitted, read and used. The combination of digital and printed edition highlights the process of the texts developing from individual manuscripts to critical texts while respecting the historical value of each collection. At the same time, the project’s website provides the possibility to combine and present new findings on the content and transmission of capitularies.
The project is part of the German Academies’ longterm Programme and as such organised by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. Its technical realisation is being undertaken by the Cologne Center for eHumanities (CCeH).

Text: Dr. Sören Kaschke

onta (Kopie 1)


Chair of Medieval History
Prof. Dr. Karl Ubl

Researchers: Patrick Breternitz, Semih Heinen M.A., Dr. Sören Kaschke, Dr. Britta Mischke, Dominik Trump M.A.

E-mail karl.ubl(at)