Framing the manuscript-group
- The 'dynamic' edition: Key Concepts
- Understanding 'dynamic' text
- Using the dynamic edition
The Declaration of Arbroath
- Methodology for the new edition of the Declaration of Arbroath
- The manuscripts of the Declaration
- Translating the Declaration of Arbroath
A model of a dynamic edition of Regiam maiestatem
- Historical Introduction
- Description of the manuscripts
- Translating Regiam
- 'Dynamic' Symbols: An Aide-Memoire
- How to Cite
Alice Taylor explains how the manuscript-groups were defined for their model of a dynamic model of Regiam and thus how version- and work-texts were generated.
From the concepts
It will be remembered that:
" A group of manuscripts whose singular manuscript-text of a work have a distinctively common form, structure, content or shared context so as to constitute a Version. The commonality that defines a manuscript-group could be significant similarity of content or a similar context of occurrence. A manuscript-group is not primarily defined by shared readings, although the extent of shared readings contribute to an editor’s judgement about the extent of commonality between manuscript-texts. It is therefore not to be confused with recension. A manuscript-group refers to the physical manifestations (in manuscript) of the version."
Dynamic edition: Key Concepts
How then did we define a manuscript-group for Regiam?
We adopted three points to look into:
- The number of books/chapters in an individual manuscript-text of Regiam
- The presence of chapters / paragraphs in some manuscript-texts but not in others
- And, if relevant, the structure of the codex as a whole.
Books and parts in the Regiam corpus
There has always been some debate about whether Regiam was originally a three-book work or a four-book work (e.g. MacQueen, 1993, 2016), or, even, whether the parts were imposed at a later date.
The earliest manuscripts divide it into both three and four parts.
For example, in C, which contains a four-part Regiam, the division between books 2 and 3 is rendered as follows:
'explicit secunda pars.
Incipit tercia pars'
The chapter title then follows immediately 'de debitis placitandis'.
Bute MS (C), fo. 46v
By contrast, CH, which is contemporary or a bit later than C does not have a division between books 2 and 3. Here, the chapter on land boundaries is followed immediately by a chapter on a layman's debts, which in C commenced book 3. There is no suggestion that there was a book division.
Harvard Law Library MS 164, fo. 44r.
Although not in date the earliest manuscript, it is generally agreed (and research by John Reuben Davies has confirmed this) that F (BL Additional MS 18111) contains the earliest known circulating text of Regiam. In F, there is indeed a book or part division between books 2 and 3. Indeed, that the text was originally designed to be divided into four books (although it was not finished) is suggested by the fact that one of its literary models, Justinian's Institutes, was also divided into four books.
BL Additional MS 18111, fo. 46r
Incipit tercia pars de debitis placitandis in curia.
What we have then, is a different structure in place. Some manuscripts (e.g. CH, D, E, G, I, J in our model) have a three-book Regiam; others have a four-book (C, F, H, S, K, O, R).
This is not enough to divide between our sample manuscripts; it is, however, a useful starting point. In order to further prod it, let us look at some example chapters.
Chapters and additional content in Regiam
In order to show how comparing groups of chapters and additional content help to frame manuscript-groups, we'll use an example.
The last four chapters of Regiam are famous in their own right as they are thought to constitute the text known to historians as Leges inter Brettos et Scotos. I have written lengthily about this elsewhere (as have many other people) so now is not the time to go into this text.
In manuscripts C and F, the 'leges' section contains four chapters, right at the end of book 4. In F they are the final four chapters of Regiam.
- On life values, determined by rank
- compensation for breach of peace, determined by rank
- compensation for breach of kelchin, probably a payment for insult
- compensation for spilling blood
In manuscripts CH, D, E, G, H, I, J, K, O, R, S, however, a further chapter is found, which uses a similar ranking system.
- On merchets (payments for marriage) of a woman
This chapter, therefore, seems to have been added to Regiam at a later point, because, presumably, it was thought to agree in subject matter and style with the four chapters above.
In manuscripts KOR, however, one further chapter has been added to this group, and constitutes the last chapter in that section.
- On compensation for injury, ranging from loss of life to bruising and blows.
What we can see, then, is that these LBS-chapters constitute four chapters in C and F; five chapters in CH, D, E, G, H, I, J, S and six chapters in K, O, R
If we combine our frames of number of books and group of chapter analysis, then the following groups emerge:
- four-books; four LBS chapters: C F
- three books; five LBS chapters: CH D E G I J
- four books; five LBS chapters: H, S
- four books; six LBS chapters: K O R
Many more examples of additional chapters and additional material have been compared, leaving us with a rather broad 'second group', with a great deal of variation, and two smaller, more stable groups.
- Manuscript-group1: C F
- Manuscript-group2: CH D E G H I J S
- Manuscript-group3: K O R
Anomalous MSS and the flexibility of the manuscript group
Manuscript-groups, it must be remembered are not the same as recensions. That is, they do not only encompass those manuscripts which can be shown to descend from a (hypothetical) archetype of revision to that archetype.
Rather, our manuscript-groups are based on broad similarities between the manuscript-text of a work, rather than determining relationships between them.
The manuscript group, because it produces the version-text is there only to capture some degree of textual movement at a lower level than what constitutes the work as a whole.
The point of a dynamic edition, remember is to view the work from the point of view of each manuscript instantiation, and vice-versa. Only the manuscript-texts are not wholly artifical!