Dr Emily Corran (Oxford University) and Professor David d’Avray (UCL) 
Full-day, from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

The course aims to introduce beginners to the ‘methodology’ of diplomatic, and especially of the ‘applied kind’, which is to say Diplomatic as a discipline that illuminates and helps to solve historical problems. The examples will be taken from the Diplomatic of English and, above all, papal documents of the medieval period. Topics covered will included forgery, the parts of a document, preambles as sources for mental attitudes, what documents can tell us about government at a distance, and formularies.


The best short introductions are

  • Leonard Boyle, 'Diplomatics', in James M. Powell (ed.), Medieval Studies. An Introduction (Syracuse, 1992 edn.), 182-113
  • Richard Sharpe, ‘Charters, Deeds and Diplomatics’, in F.A.C. Mantello and A. G. Rigg (eds.), Medieval Latin. An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide (Washington, 1996), 230-240
  • Olivier Guyotjeannin et al., Diplomatique Médiévale (Turnhout, 1993).

H. Bresslau, Handbuch der Urkundenlehre is an old classic, not superceded but too hard for most students.
Another old classic is A. Giry, Manuel de Diplomatique.
There is no real equivalent for England, but Hubert Hall, A formula book of English official historical documents (Cambridge 1908-09) seems unduly neglected though he does have a reputation for insecure scholarship.
For fuller bibliographies see Sharpe, ‘Charters . . . Diplomatics’; 239-40; Boyle, ‘Diplomatics’, 104-113; Guyotjeannin, Diplomatique, Ch. 1 D; Rabikauskas, P., Diplomatica Pontificia (Rome, 1998 edition), Cap. 1.