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The Fontes Organisation and Staff

The project is run by a management committee whose current officers are:

Chairman: Professor Joyce Hill, University of Leeds
Director for Old English: Professor Donald Scragg, University of Manchester
Director for Anglo-Latin: Dr Rosalind Love, University of Cambridge
Director of the Database: Professor Malcolm Godden, University of Oxford
Database Editor and Research Associate: Dr Rohini Jayatilaka, University of Oxford
Hon. Secretary: Mr Peter Jackson, Oxford

Other members of the Committee are:

Professor Janet Bately, King's College, London
Professor Mary Clayton, University College, Dublin
Dr Susan Irvine, University College, London
Professor Jane Roberts, King's College, London
Dr Christine Rauer, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Dr Susan Rosser, University of Manchester

The Committee is helped by an international Advisory Board whose current members are:

Professor Fred Biggs, University of Connecticut
Professor Helmut Gneuss, University of Münich
Professor Tom Hall, University of Illinois at Chicago
Professor Tom Hill, Cornell University
Professor Michael Lapidge, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Professor Andrew Orchard, University of Toronto
Professor Paul Szarmach, Medieval Institute, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo
Professor Gordon Whatley, Queens College, New York
Professor Charles D. Wright, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

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Aims of the Project

The Register aims to identify all written sources which were incorporated, quoted, translated or adapted anywhere in English or Latin texts which were written, or are likely to have been written, in Anglo-Saxon England, including those by foreign authors. It will also identify the written sources used by authors of texts written abroad if those authors are certainly or arguably Anglo-Saxons, and by foreigners who were drawing mainly on materials which they had obtained, or are likely to have obtained, in Anglo-Saxon England. Anglo-Saxon England is defined as England up to 1066, but a text will be sourced whether it is extant in a pre-1066 copy or only in a later one. A text written after 1066 will be included in the project only if it is of a type characteristic of England before 1066. An identifiable source will be recorded whether or not it is extant. Oral sources and booklists are excluded.

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History of the Project

The initial impulse for a large-scale project to study and record the written sources of Anglo-Saxon authors came at a one-day conference on sources at the University of Leeds in March 1984, organized to publicize a proposal made at the Symposium on the Sources of Anglo-Saxon Culture held in conjunction with the 1983 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University to revise J. D. A. Ogilvy's Books known to the English, 597-1066 (Cambridge, MA, 1967). At the Leeds Conference, J. E. Cross and Malcolm Godden gave papers on the sources of some of the Vercelli homilies and of Ælfric respectively, and in the discussion which followed, the desirability of establishing a rather different project, along the lines of Fontes Anglo-Saxonici, was agreed by all present. A small steering committee was set up, which met subsequently on a number of occasions at King's College, London, during the summer of 1984. At some of its meetings representatives of the informal group of American scholars concerned with the 'revised Ogilvy' project (subsequently named Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture) were also present, and the separate aims and objectives of the two schemes were clarified. The steering committee established an Executive Committee for Fontes with Peter Clemoes as Director, Joyce Hill as General Secretary, Michael Lapidge as Executive Secretary for Anglo-Latin, and Donald Scragg as Executive Secretary for Old English.

Planning and setting up the project in every detail necessarily formed a lengthy initial stage, but since then a substantial body of material has been assembled. First of all, the Executive Committee, on the basis of work done by various subcommittees, approved guidelines for the submission of entries to a computer database, housed at the University of Manchester. Then followed the recruitment of a body of scholars worldwide. Next the database was created by Dr Marilyn Deegan, whose work during a one-year full-time appointment as a Research Assistant to the project was funded by the University of Manchester's Research Support Fund. Processing of the contributions received from scholars and their incorporation in the database were achieved to begin with by the half-time appointment for two years of Mrs (now Dr) Wendy Collier as a Research Assistant, funded by the University of Manchester Research Support Fund. Subsequently continuation of Dr Collier's work was supported by grants from the British Academy. From 1991 onwards advances on the Old English side of the project were greatly assisted by a succession of appointments of research associates funded by the British Academy and its Humanities Research Board, and subsequently by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

These research associates compiled material for a substantial range of material:

1992-3 Dr Joan Hart (now Joan Hart-Hasler): King Alfred's version of the Regula Pastoralis, the Old English Bede, Canons of Edgar, Apollonius of Tyre

1995-7 Dr Mark Atherton: anonymous homilies and saints' lives; Ælfric's De Temporibus Anni; as well as processing work from outside contributors

1995-2002 Dr Rohini Jayatilaka: Ælfric's Supplementary Homilies and Saints' Lives; Wærferth's translation of Gregory's Dialogues; Old English Orosius; Old English Benedictine Rule

1997-8 Dr Christine Rauer: Lives of St Machutus and Chad; the Old English Martyrology

1998-9 Dr Daniel Anlezark: Old English Daniel and Azarias; Old English Exodus

1999 Dr Brad Bedingfield: Ælfric's homilies Assmann 5 and 6; Ælfric's Interrogationes Sigewulfi in Genesin

Work on the Anglo-Latin side was substantially advanced in 1996 by the appointment of Dr Rosalind Love as Humanities Research Board Institutional Fellow at Robinson College Cambridge, to work on the project; she has so far covered the Latin charters, the Latin saints' lives and the works of Bede (in progress). Following Dr Love's appointment to a lectureship in the Department of Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic at Cambridge, Dr Katherine Scarfe-Beckett succeeded to the HRB Institutional Fellowship and is currently working on the sources for Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica.

Other material has been contributed by members of the project, and by scholars elsewhere. [See list of 'Texts included in the Database']

In 1995 the database was moved from the mainframe computer at Manchester to a PC-base using the Paradox database system, and Dr Orchard became database manager. In 1998 the main database was relocated at Oxford, with Dr Jayatilaka as database editor and Professor Godden as database director, and work began on creating a web-mounted version, with the help of Paul Groves of the Humanities Computing Development Team at the Oxford University Computing Service. This was made available to the public for the first time on 1 August 1999.

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Spin Offs

In the course of its development the project has produced a series of research tools:

M. Lapidge, Abbreviations for Sources and Specification of Standard Editions for Sources (Centre for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, SUNY, Binghamton, 1988).
M. Lapidge and R. Love, A Handlist of Latin Texts written in Anglo-Saxon England (currently being revised)
J. Bately, Anonymous Old English Homilies: a Preliminary Bibliography of Source Studies (Centre for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, SUNY, Binghamton, 1993)
J.Bately, J. Roberts et al., Archive of source-studies and source materials located in the Department of English, King's College London

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The project gratefully acknowledges support from the following institutions:

British Academy: grants for running costs and research assistance, 1986-96
Humanities Research Board: grants for research assistance and an Institutional Fellowship, 1996-9
Arts and Humanities Research Board:
University of Manchester: grants for research assistance, 1987-90, and institutional support
University of Leeds: institutional support
University of Cambridge: institutional support
King's College London: grant for research assistance 1988-90, and institutional support
University of Oxford: grant for hardware and web development 1997-9, and institutional support

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The Future

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About the Database

Currently the database covers about 1135 Anglo-Saxon texts, over 500 in Old English and over 600 in Latin. For the full list see 'Texts included in the Database' (or to see the list of authors covered so far, go into the database and scroll down the list under Anglo-Saxon Authors). Many others are in active preparation - see the list of 'Texts in Progress'. Nearly a thousand source-texts have been so far cited, from Abbo to Wulfstan. We intend to cover all relevant Anglo-Saxon texts in time. If you would be willing to contribute material to the database, whether from published material or your own research, please contact the relevant director (Professor Scragg for Old English texts, Dr Love for Latin texts).

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Acknowledging the Database

The records for each text were compiled by the individual contributors named in the general information for that text, using either their own unpublished research or published work by themselves or others as noted in the bibliographical information provided with the records, or a combination of the two. Any user wishing to employ material drawn from the database in their own publications should acknowledge the Fontes database and, where appropriate, the individual contributor and the published work cited in the bibliographies.

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What can I do with the database?

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Features of the Database

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The current version is the first to be on general access, and both the database structure and the forms of citation are inevitably provisional. We need feedback to make the project more useful: please let the database editor know if:

Please let the relevant director (for Old English or for Latin) know if:

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A Fontes Bibliography

J. Hill, 'Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literature: Writings Known by Authors in Anglo-Saxon England', Old English Newsletter 19.1 (1985), 23.

J. Hill, 'Fontes Anglo-Saxonici: A Register of Written Sources Used by Authors in Anglo-Saxon England', Medieval English Studies Newsletter 21 (1989), 35-37.

D.G. Scragg, 'An Introduction to Fontes Anglo-Saxonici', Old English Newsletter 26.3 (1993), Appendix B, 1-8.

D.G. Scragg, 'The Hunt for Sources and the Project Fontes Anglo-Saxonici', Medieval English Studies Newsletter 29 (1993), 10-13.

D.G. Scragg, 'The Bible in Fontes Anglo-Saxonici', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 77.3 (1995), 199-203.

D.G. Scragg, 'Source Study', in Reading Old English Texts, ed. Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 39-58.

Peter Jackson, 'Fontes Anglo-Saxonici, 1993-97: Prospecting and Retrospecting', Medieval English Studies Newsletter 37 (1997), 31-37.

R. Jayatilaka, 'Fontes Anglo-Saxonici on the World-Wide Web', Medieval English Studies Newsletter 41 (1999), 11-39.

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Page created 24 May 2001