Wanted: Latin translators – no pay, all glory

For a layman there is never enough translated material. There is little more frustrating than jumping to the notes in some scholarly volume, and finding a reference to some obscure source that requires a lifetime of Latin to access. While there is a surprising amount of primary source material available in English, there is much that needs to be done. This is an initial survey of what else from the eighth century needs a translator’s touch:

  • Lesser Narrative Sources1.To use P.D. King’s slighting phrase. – these are the annals that aren’t the Royal Frankish Annals. Most of my notes below are straight from Wikipedia, which seems like a good enough source for this effort. Note that some of these annals quote from each other, so not every annals needs translating. Based on what I’ve learned, I would say that the Annals of Moselle, Moissac, and the sancti Amandi should cover the bulk of the material.
    • Annals of St. Gall (Annales Alamannici): “covers the years 709 through to 799. … They are notable for their short, cursory style and limited narrative. To the modern scholar, they might appear to be incomplete, and for that reason, of limited value.”2.Wikipedia
    • Moselle Annals (Annales mosellani): ‘The entries do not obviously derived from any other source, and the chances are that they are in fact contemporary.”3.King, p.19 The years 768-98 have been translated in full by King.
    • Lorsch Annals (Annales laureshamenses): covers 703 – 803. King has translated 785 – 803. “The Lorsch annals for the years up to 785 are almost identical with the Annales mosellani.”4.Wikipedia If true, then we don’t need the Lorsch Annals!
    • Moissac chronicle (Chronicon Moissiacense): “an Aquitanian source which covers the period from the fourth century to 818, presents a number of problems which cannot be mooted here.”5.King, p.20
    • Earlier Annals of Metz (Annales Mettenses priores): we only need section 1, which covers 687 – 895, which was composed in 805 or 806. The entries for 687 – 742 are extracted from Fredegar. The RFA is used from 742 – 768, although “Throughout we can also find traces of the Annales Petaviani.” Fouracre and Gerberding translate 688 – 719.6.Fouracre and Gerberding, Late Merovingian France, pp.330-34.
    • Guelferbytan Annals (Annales guelferbytani): “cover the years 741–805… For the years up to 751 the AG share a source with the Annales nazariani and the Annales alamannici in the lost so-called “Murbach Annals” from Murbach Abbey.”7.Wikipedia
    • Annales Petaviani: “The first entry in the Annales Petaviani is for the year 687 and records the Battle of Tertry. There is then a gap until 708, when the annals begin again and continue to 799…  Those entries through to 771 were compiled from earlier annals, such as the Annales sancti Amandi and the Annales mosellani, and do not comprise an independent source. Together with the Annales sancti Amandi, the Annales Petaviani are the primary source of the entries for 741–88 in the Annales laurissenses maiores.”8.Wikipedia
    • Annales sancti Amandi: “the annals appear to be the product of three different Carolingian authors, the work of the first covering the years 687–770… The work cannot have been intended to create a history for the monastic community; its main concern is with turbulence and conflict in the secular realm.”9.Wikipedia
  • Capitularies – “translation has been from the texts given in A. Boretius, Capitularia regum Francorum…; nothing is more necessary in the field of Carolingian scholarship than that this edition, often seriously defective, should be replaced.”10.King, p.21.
    • King starts with Boretius 18, so there must be 17 others that precede that one.
    • Dutton, and Loyn and Percival have also translated some capitularies, but always from Charles’ reign.
  • The Caroline code (Codex Carolinus)
    • “The single known manuscript of the Codex Carolinus dates from the late ninth century and contains ninety-eight papal letters (and one precis of a damaged letter) sent over a period of half a century. There are no imperial letters and only two papal letters to Charles Martel.”11.King, p.36 Fifty-four letters are to/from Charles… Must be many for Pepin.
    • The letters are not dated.
  • Deeds of the holy fathers of the abbey of St Wandrille
    • “This work is the earliest extant Monastic history. It covers the years 649-850, with some gaps.”12.King, p.39.
    • St Wandrille was in Normandy.
  • J. F. Boehmer, Regesta Imperii: Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den ersten Karlingern, rev. E. Muhlbacher, 2d ed. J. Lechner. Innsbruck, 1908. Not sure what this is, but it gets mentioned in the RFA notes a lot.
  • Vita – saints lives are always a mixed bag, but sometimes fascinating bits of economic, social, and political history slip in, if you keep a share eye out.
    • Amandi – (c. 584 – 675), commonly called Saint Amand, was a bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht and one of the great Christian missionaries of Flanders. He is venerated as a saint of France and Belgium.13.Wikipedia
    • Ansberti – (died 695) was a Frankish Benedictine abbot, bishop and Catholic saint.14.Wikipedia Translated but apparently unpublished.
    • Arnulfi –  (c. 582 – 640) was a Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian court of Austrasia, who retired to the Abbey of Remiremont.15.Wikipedia
    • Eucherii – (Orléans, c. 687–February 20, 743 AD), nephew of Suavaric, bishop of Auxerre, was Bishop of Orléans.16.Wikipedia
    • Lamberti – mentioned by Bachrach when commenting on Peppin the Elder’s control of local magnates. (c. 636 – c. 700) was the bishop of Maastricht (Tongeren) from about 670 until his death.17.Wikipedia
    • Rigoberti – (died 743) was a Benedictine monk and later abbot at Orbais who subsequently succeeded St Rieul as bishop of Reims in 698.18.Wikipedia

As we say in the corporate world, there is no shortage of opportunities for improvement. Now we just need some brave souls who have already toiled over the years to learn their linguistic craft, to step up and put it to good use for the betterment of humanity. Especially layman…

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. To use P.D. King’s slighting phrase.
2. Wikipedia
3. King, p.19
4. Wikipedia
5. King, p.20
6. Fouracre and Gerberding, Late Merovingian France, pp.330-34.
7. Wikipedia
8. Wikipedia
9. Wikipedia
10. King, p.21.
11. King, p.36
12. King, p.39.
13. Wikipedia
14. Wikipedia
15. Wikipedia
16. Wikipedia
17. Wikipedia
18. Wikipedia

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