Remarks on Early Medieval legal charters — The legend of “dux Ingo” and his “carta sine litteris”

Nótári, Tamás (2009) Remarks on Early Medieval legal charters — The legend of “dux Ingo” and his “carta sine litteris”. Acta Juridica Hungarica, 50 (3). pp. 293-309. ISSN 1216-2574


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Enea Silvio Piccolomini in his work entitled De Europa written in 1458, tells an interesting story defined as a legend in terms of genre about a duke called Ingo, who lived during the reign of Charlemagne. This narrative claims that in 790 dux gentis Ingo held a feast for the inhabitants of his province where food was served to the peasants allowed to appear before him in golden and silver bowls, while to the dignitaries standing further away from him in bowls made of clay. The researchers’ attention is deservedly raised by the query how come that this parabolical story with biblical tone was included in Enea Silvio’s work; if it had been borrowed who the auctor might have been he borrowed it from. The answer seems to be very simple: from the Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum drafted regarding the lawsuit proceeded against Methodius. In the case narrated in the Conversio Ingo sent a charter or much rather a parchment without any writing, or letters on it (carta sine litteris) , which provided his legate with sufficient authenticity to demand obedience from the people.In this study-after having compared the two narratives and outlined the place of De Europa in Enea Silvio Piccolomini’s oeuvre and the circumstances of the drafting and tendencies of the Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum-the author attempts to answer the following questions. To what extent can duke Ingo, mentioned by Enea Silvio and not questioned in the literature for long centuries, be considered a real historical person? Does the Conversio refer to Ingo as a duke, and if it does, what is his existence as a duke and introduction in the literature as a duke owing to? What could the meaning of carta sine litteris referred to in Conversio have been, and why did Enea Silvio not take this item over although he could have put it forward as a further proof of Ingo’s dignity? To what literary prefigurations can the description of the feast held by Ingo be traced back to, and what role did it play in the Conversio? Regarding the borrowing of the Ingo story by Enea Silvio, what possible intermediary writing and author can be reckoned with?

Item Type: Article
Subjects: K Law / jog > K Law (General) / jogtudomány általában
Depositing User: xKatalin xBarta
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 12:34
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 12:34

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