Chartae Latinae Antiquiores:
Facsimile-Edition of the Latin Charters prior to the Ninth Century

Projet Volterra II database

by Benet Salway




The Projet Volterra ChLA database is *not* a digital version of the Chartae Latinae Antiquiores (desirable as that would be). It reproduces neither of the two key features of each entry: the image and the transcription, although online editions of the texts of the Latin papyri can be accessed free of charge at the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri. However, the addition of hyperlinks to online critical editions is contemplated for the near future, as well as the inclusion of simple searchable texts within the database itself. The Projet Volterra ChLA database does not provide a complete index to all aspects of each entry. However, it is intended to complement (and in certain respects to update) the printed volumes, the earliest of which are now over half a century old. The Volterra database incorporates all the categories of information offered by the The Urs-Graf Verlag/Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen ChLA Datenbank but in addition adds information on, amongst other things, the palaeography, literary genre, and principal actors in each document. These categories are designed to enhance the value of the database to palaeographers, philologists, and historians alike.


Design and contents

The database comprises a series of fully searchable fields that cover the identification, typology, creation, and transmission of each document. The fields and data are closely modelled on the structure and content of the original entries in ChLA, though Roman numerals have generally been rendered into Arabic in order to facilitate mechanised ordering. Aside from reproducing the basic factual information, the aim has been to report the subjective descriptions and judgements of the editors (e.g. on palaeography, status, and dating) with as little interveneing interpretation as possible. The database is meant to be a guide to what is to be found in ChLA not a re-examination of each entry.

Database structure:

Field name


Typical value(s)

Part/number ID

Unique identifier by Part and ChLA artefact number in format 000.0000


ChLA Part

number of Part in complete series (in range 1-49 for first series); reference to 48 indicates the existance of corrigendum in Part XLVIII for the entry

“3”, "4/48"

Country series

name of country and number subseries

Great Britain 1”

ChLA number

individual ChLA artefact number (arabic numeral in range 1-1468 for first series)



location of current preservation (usually name of city)



name of archive, library, etc in which preserved

“British Library”

Catalogue No

individual number in local catalogue

“Additional Charter 19789”


medium on which text written

“parchment” or “papyrus”


status of artefact

“original”, “contemporary copy”, “later copy”


palaeographical description of script

“old Roman cursive”, “Anglo-Saxon minuscule”

SGSA Dokument

categorisation in Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen “Dokument” field

“Authentica”, “Herrscherurkunde”, “Papsturkunde”, or “Privaturkunde”


literary genre

“legal instrument”, “letter”, “memorandum”, “exercise”, “relic label”


wording of editors' description of content transcribed from heading of ChLA entry

“Grant by the brothers Eanberht, Uitred and Aldred, with the consent of Offa, king of Mercia of land at Onnanforda, to abbot Headda”


internal self-description of document type

“chartula”, “donatio”, “epistula”, “litterae”, “testamentum”


dating information: year, month, day (as available) in the format 000.00.00; range of dates represented by hyphen (i.e. 000-000), alternatives by slash (i.e. 000/000), and approximation by (c.) following date; dates on later (but still pre-800) copies between square brackets

“736”, “759.02”, “572.07.03”, “793-796”, “700.07/715.07”, “150-250 (c.)”, “[704.06.13]”


location of dating if named, and orthography as named in original (modern vernacular equivalent in parentheses, if obscure); in square brackets if certain but only by implication

“Clofeshoh”, “[Alexandria]”, “civitas Doroverni (Canterbury)”


location of medieval, early-modern archive: usually equivalent to P(reserving) A(rchive) siglum of ChLA

“Worcester”, “Oxyrhynchus”

Principal persons

principal persons named in text (and description): main actors (as named) with any titles and with description of role(s) (e.g. author, authority, beneficiary, donator, grantor, petitioner, recipient, scribe, signatory); identifications with standard prosopographies indicated in square brackets

“Eanberht regulus (donator; signatory) [PASE Eanberht 5]; Uhctred regulus (grantor; signatory) [PASE Uhtred 2]; Aldréd regulus (grantor; signatory) [PASE Ealdred 5]; Offa rex Merciorum (authority; signatory) [PASE Offa 7]; Headda abbas (beneficiary) [PASE Headda 9]”


standard publications of this text: cited by author and/or short title, papyrological editions according to J. F. Oates et al., Checklist of Editions of Papyri etc.

“Kemble 105”, “P.Oxy. VIII 1114”


Notes to the Projet Volterra ChLA database Great Britain table

This draws together material from Parts III and IV, along with Addenda from Part 47 and reference to Corrigenda in Part 48 (where relevant); that is material currently preserved in British repositories. This material was chosen for the pilot stage not just because of its local interest but because the material, which includes a wide variety of papyrological documents as well as native charters (incorporating Anglo-Saxon characters in their Latin script), presents the range of challenges needed to test the database design. In the interest of clarity, since they are now more obviously distinct institutions on separate sites, references to "British Museum" have been superseded by "British Library". In order to keep the information up-to-date, the opportunity was also taken to insert references to the now standard repertorium of the Anglo-Saxon charters (that of Sawyer).

PASE = Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England, available online at:
PLRE 1 = The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. I. A.D. 260-395, by A. H. M. Jones, J. R. Martindale, & J. Morris. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.
PLRE 2 = The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. II. A.D. 395-527, by J. R. Martindale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980.
PLRE 3 = The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vols IIIA-B. A.D. 527-641, by J. R. Martindale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Bibliography (Publications):
Editions of papyri are cited according to the system of abbreviations established by John F. Oates, Roger S. Bagnall, Sarah J. Clackson, Alexandra A. O'Brien, Joshua D. Sosin, Terry G. Wilfong, and Klaas A. Worp, Checklist of Greek, Latin, Demotic and Coptic Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets.
Birch = Walter de Gray Birch, Cartularium Saxonicum: A Collection of Charters Relating to Anglo-Saxon History, 3 vols. London: Whiting & Co., 1885-1893.
Kemble = John M. Kemble, Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici: Chartae Anglosaxonicae, 6 vols. London: English Historical Society, 1839-1848.
Sawyer = P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography. London: Royal Historical Society, 1968. A revised, augmented, and updated, version of which, by S. E. Kelly (eSawyer 1999) is available online at: See also KCL Anglo-Saxon charters database.

Electronic Texts:
Documentary Papyri: available online at Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri.
Anglo-Saxon Royal Charters: available online at

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Last edited: RWBS 03/07/2010