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Sign Theory, Medieval And Modern

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Chapter Summary

The recurrent production of the king's image and script, however, rendered tangible and visible the mark of a distinct authority, translating notions of transcendental hierarchy into organizing principles of earthly domination. Symbolic in Merovingian times, documentary seal usage became official and instrumental in early Carolingian chanceries, formulaic in the kingdoms of the later Carolingians, the Robertians and the early Capetians, and institutional during the reign of Philip Augustus. In this chapter, the author analyzes this evolution from two perspectives: First, the extent to which variations in the production, form, content, and function of royal sealed documents testify to extensions and contractions of the king's authority, and Second the degree to which such variations articulate conceptual and practical engagements with literacy both as a form of communication and as a ritual of government.

Keywords:Capetians; Carolingian chanceries; distinct authority; king image; literacy; Merovingian times; Philip Augustus; Robertians



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