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Benjamin Pohl (University of Bristol), 'Beyond letter forms: the scribal profile of Andreas of Marchiennes'

Scribal identification is one of the most complex and controversial aspects of palaeographical study. Most medieval scribes have remained anonymous, and even those who left us with clues as to their identities often wrote with varying levels of formality, in different scripts, and with a range of writing implements, always depending on the specific occasion and circumstances of the task at hand. What is more, some scribes were active over prolonged periods of time, sometimes into their old age, meaning that their handwriting developed and changed considerably over the course of their careers despite certain idiosyncratic habits. As a result, the study of letter forms and the traces that led to their appearance on the page - often perceived as the 'bread and butter' of palaeographers - only takes us so far in our efforts to ascertain the identity of a particular scribe and his/her autograph works, obliging us to explore and adopt additional approaches and methodologies.

This paper will present one such approach, that of scribal profiling, with a case study of Andreas of Marchiennes, a twelfth-century monk-historian who wrote, reluctantly, a history of his monastery at the command of his abbot. As I will show, the sole surviving manuscript of Andreas' Chronicon is not just its authorial presentation copy, but also the author's partial autograph.


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