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'Some Reflections on the Historical Value of the So-Called Acta Lanfranci'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/2004
JournalHistorical Research
Journal number196
Volume77
Number of pages20
Pages141-160
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article offers the first extended discussion of Acta Lanfranci, a Latin continuation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that is often taken as a reliable narrative because of its close proximity to the events it describes and its transmission within the Parker Manuscript (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 173). By drawing attention to inconsistencies between the Acta’s narrative and that required by other historical records, to the selective nature of its reportage and to the palaeographical and internal data that require a somewhat later dating than is usually assumed, this article questions this position. It argues that Acta Lanfranci is better understood as propaganda produced in defence of the attempts of the archbishops of Canterbury to establish a patriarchate of the British Isles at a time when that position was beginning to unravel. Since the Parker Manuscript was recycled so that it could accommodate the Acta, the article also casts new light on aspects of the reception and re-use of the A-text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.