21/10/14 : Lena Rohrbach – Rewriting the Law

Lena Rohrbach (Université Humboldt de Berlin)
Rewriting the Law – Materialities and Textualities of Late-Medieval Icelandic Legal Manuscripts

Mardi 21 octobre 2014, 18h
Lieu : Palais universitaire, s. 124

More than one hundred medieval Icelandic legal manuscripts are handed down to us, and each manuscript is unique in its material and textual arrangement. The medieval Icelandic laws are not stable texts that are handed down unchanged over centuries, they were interpolated and later also rearranged in the form of digests, they were accompanied by illuminations with changing pictorial motifs and compiled with different legal and non-legal texts. Two in many ways outstanding manuscripts – Staðarhólsbók (AM 334 fol., c. 1260–1280), and the most splendid Icelandic legal manuscript, Skarðsbók (AM 350 fol., 1363) – seem to reflect culminations of Icelandic endeavours to rewrite the law. I will discuss the material and textual peculiarities of these two codices in the light of the history of written law and social and political developments in medieval Iceland.