This book offers the first full English translation of two major sources for the Merovingian kingdoms: the formularies of Angers and Marculf (sixth and seventh centuries). These collections of model legal documents, compiled by scribes as an aid to the composition of future documents, constitute an important source of evidence on government, legal practice and social life during the Merovingian period, both at the local level (for Angers) and at the level of the kingdom’s elite and the entourage of the king (for Marculf). They illuminate aspects of life which would often have been considered too trivial to be worth mentioning in narrative sources, and can include instructions dealing with subjects as diverse as appointing a bishop, making a gift, borrowing money, divorcing, selling an infant child, confiscating property from a rebel, writing Christmas greetings, and settling disputes over murders, thefts or kidnappings. As well as presenting the translations, the introduction also gives a brief outline of the characteristics of this type of source as a whole, with the aim of putting these texts into perspective and providing a methodological handle for them.
Rio has given us here is not only a set of translations, but also a work of scholarship that makes the formulae vastly more accessible to students and to professionals.
Warren Brown, Early Medieval Europe 19 (2)