In this post I will briefly explain a few things about this blog. I will first address its purpose and then I will explain its name.
A blog. Why?
The idea behind this blog is twofold. In the first place, it is a place to store (unfinished) ideas and a springboard for future research projects. At the end of October 2020, I handed in my dissertation on priests, books and compilative practices in the Carolingian period.1 From the research I have done for this project, I gathered a large collection of manuscripts containing expositions on the Lord’s Prayer. These texts originate from the 9th to 11th c. and were used during the religious instruction of clerics and laypeople. By examining this material, I intend to get a better understanding of how religious education took place in (early) medieval Europe. A huge undertaking that shaped the history of Europe in a profound way.
This brings me to my second aim, which is to experiment with digital editions. Some time ago, I found this beautiful edition of Vincent van Gogh’s letters made in TEI-publisher. This led me to do an online course in basic XML/TEI and learn something about how to work with TEI-publisher itself. In the coming months, I aim to create various small digital editions and facsimile of manuscripts and texts I worked with during my dissertation. Hopefully, this will provide me with both a new set of skills and research angles for the future.
Coming up with a name for this blog was more difficult than I thought. That is why I resorted to a well-known means of coming across as interesting, which is latinizing one’s last name. As my last name is ‘Waagmeester’, a Dutch word describing the master of the weighing house, I had to look for a historical official that was in charge of managing weights. The earliest example that I was able to find is mentioned in Plinius’ (23/24-79 A.D.) Naturalis historia as the ’libripendes’ who were weighing the coins for the wages of the soldiers.2 How this function was understood later on, can be gained from a 9th-c. glossary (see above), where it is explained as ‘he [who] weighs’.3 Much later, in a philosophical lexicon from the 17th c., it is described again as ‘he who weighs and is in charge of the weighing affairs’.4 As such, the name ’libripens’ seems to be fitting for this blog. To avoid any confusion with an Austrian IT-company I have chosen the genitive singular, which gives it something personal as well.
Paris, BNF, Lat. 7641, f. 40v. On the glossary (abavus maior) and the glosses for which it is known, see Rolf Bergmann and Stefanie Stricker (eds.), Die althochdeutsche und altsächsische Glossographie: Ein Handbuch (2009), pp. 929-937. The manuscript used here is not mentioned in the study. ↩︎