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The latin consecrative inscriptions in prose of churches and altars in Rome 1046-1263. Edition with translations and a commentary on language and palaeography

Doctoral thesis
Authors Anna Holst Blennow
Date of public defense 2006-10-28
Publisher Göteborg University
Place of publication Göteborg
Publication year 2006
Published at Department of Religious Studies and Theology
Language en
Keywords Medieval Latin epigraphy, Medieval Latin palaeography, 11th century, 12th century, 13th century, diplomacy, chronology, consecrations
Subject categories Latin language


In Rome during the mid-11th to the mid-13th centuries, a great number of churches were newly built or rebuilt. This called for consecrations of both the churches and the altars contained in them. The consecrations were performed by the Pope or a bishop. Often, an inscription was made to commemorate the event. The present study contains an edition of the 44 consecrative inscriptions in prose which are extant or preserved in transcriptions. The inscriptions are edited according to the standards developed by the Italian project Inscriptiones Medii Aevi Italiae. A number of inscriptions previously, though wrongly, attributed to the chronological period of the study are listed separately after the edition catalogue. The edition is followed by a commentary on the language and palaeography of the inscriptions. Type alphabets of the extant inscriptions are presented in an Appendix. An index to the content of the inscriptions is given, divided into Index nominum, Index locorum and Index verborum. The main information contained in the inscriptions consists of the date for the consecration, the name of the consecrator and his assistants, and the relics contained in the church or altar. Additional information on patron saint, administrator of the consecration and donor is sometimes given. Indulgence notices are given a few times in the 12th century, and become a fixed element of the inscriptions in the first half of the 13th century. Influences on the language of the inscriptions derive mainly from the tradition of the papal chancery, due to the fact that the inscriptions must be seen as modelled on a document concerning the consecration, though in abbreviated form, usually lacking the initial and concluding features characteristic of the documents. The palaeography of the inscriptions in the 11th and 12th centuries shows both the Romanesque epigraphical style and a more classically inspired style. In the late 12th century, the first traces of a development towards a Gothic style can be seen, and the palaeography of the inscriptions of the 13th century is characterized as Early Gothic.

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