Thomas DESWARTE

2020-2021

Lucienne Domergue fellow

Université d'Angers

False Charters and Forgers in the Astur-Leonese Kingdom (8th -12th century)

After teaching Medieval History at the University of Poitiers, Thomas Deswarte has been working at the University of Angers since 2011. He has been a member of the National Committee for Scientific Research since 2012. He defended his thesis in 2000 at the University of the Sorbonne and then, in 2007, his Habilitation at the University of Bordeaux. He is a member of the Editorial Committee of the Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, Xe-XIIe siècles and of the Scientific Committee of Memoria y Civilización. Anuario de Historia. His work focuses on the political and religious history of the early Middle Ages, the history of ideas and written culture in the Iberian Christian worlds. He co-directed (with K. Herbers) between 2012 and 2016 the Franco-German ANR-DFG programme: EPISTOLA. The letter in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Latin West: legacies and transformations of a literary genre (Ive-XIth c.). More recently, he gathered an international team to edit and comment on the introductory folios of the Antiphonary of the Cathedral of Leon (10th c.).

Research project

After the Arab-Berber invasion of 711, the gradual structuring of the new Asturian (later Astur-Leonese) kingdom was accompanied by a remarkable expansion of the written documentation. The latter includes many false or suspect documents, particularly before a better structured royal chancellery was set up and the notarial public was systematized during the 12th and 13th centuries. It is important to resume this study of false or suspect acts from a three-pronged diplomatic, cultural and historical perspective. My approach, at the intersection of the "linguistic turn" and the "nouvelle érudition", will consist in considering charters as objects of study in themselves in their material and scriptural dimension, and in studying their text as discourses. This study aims to better understand the principles of the discrimen veri ac falsi, the porosity between the techniques used to carry out 'original', rewritten and falsified acts, and the emergence of this diplomatic narrativity in cultural terms, putting it in resonance with the great mutations experienced by Leon and Castile, when they open up to men and ideas from the world beyond the Pyrenees from c. 1050 onwards.

Selected Publications

- « Isidore of Seville and the Hispanic Order of Grades. Considerations on the De ecclesiasticis officiis and the Epistola ad Leudefredum », Sacris Erudiri, LVIII, 2019, p. 361-375. 

- « Une satire politique. La lettre de Paul à Wamba », Epistola 1. Ecriture et genre épistolaires (IVe-XIe siècle), dir. Thomas Deswarte, Klaus Herbers, Hélène Sirantoine, Madrid, Casa de Velázquez, 2018, p. 129-136. 

- « Liturgie et royauté dans les monarchies asturienne et léonaise (711-1109) », Cahiers de Civilisation médiévale, 58-3 : La liturgie hispanique (I), dir. Thomas Deswarte, 2015, p. 279-290.

- Une Chrétienté romaine sans pape. L’Espagne et Rome (586-1085), Paris, Classiques Garnier [Bibliothèque d’Histoire médiévale, 1], 2010.

- De la destruction à la restauration : l’idéologie du royaume d'Oviedo-León (VIIIe?XIe siècles), Turnhout, Brepols [Cultural encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, 3], 2003.

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