Friday, 11 October 2013

Introducing a Scroll Text: an Abcedary

Arianhwy Wen, Arianrhod Signet (outgoing)

Greetings.  I note with great pleasure that the calligraphic arts are spreading throughout the principality.  This makes me very happy as I turn the office—return the office—to Dame Geneviève, along with the wonderful blanks scribes have contributed.

Amongst you there are rank beginners and others who would like to know how to construct a (more period) text for a scroll.  I have linked to Baron Adhemar’s excellent article before, and I will link to it again: .

One thing to notice is that in period all writs, grants, and charters began with a salutation.  The shortest one I’ve seen is from the reign of Henry VIII and runs, Henricus rex ad quos, &c.  Salutem [King Henry to those to whom, etc., Greeting].  As the link above shows, some were much more elaborate.  Much of them centred around “Hey, I’m the ruler/principal herald.  Here are my titles, and I want you to feel that I’m addressing each and every one of you no matter what your rank may be, and I’m not ignoring those of you who are my equals.”  So a list might be “To all those unto whom these presents may come, dukes, counts, peers, barons, nobles, gentlemen and gentlewomen, greetings and commendation as it may apply.”  (He’s only commending himself to very high-ranking or those of equal rank.)
This can be turned surprisingly easily into texts beginning with almost any letter of the alphabet.  A list of exemplars follows—but don’t forget it is always acceptable to start a scroll with the ruler’s name, and that changes with reign.

These are by no means the only way to start a scroll.  But they might come in useful, and can serve as an example of how you can manipulate essentially the same bit of text to fit any initial.


·         Ad quos, &c. , X & Y.  Salutem.
·         Audite et adspicite verba X & Y [in Latin genitive].  [Hear and heed the words of…]
·         All peers, barons, nobles, barons, gentlemen and gentlewoman seeing or hearing these our present letters, greeting from X and Y…


·         Barons, nobles, gentlemen and gentlewomen seeing and hearing these our words and current writ, greetings.
·         Beatus rex/princeps [delete as app.] qui non abiit in consilio impiorum
·         Beati reges/principes [ditto] qui non abiunt in consilio impiorum

The last two are from the first Psalm (blessed the man who does not dwell in the advice of the wicked), and introduce service awards well, especially where counsel and good advice are mentioned.  And they’re always a good thing to mention!


Commendation as it appertaineth and greetings to all those…

Due commendation as it appertaineth and greetings…


Each and every subject hearing or seeing these our current presents know that we, X and Y…


Forasmuch as anciently from the beginning it hath been a custom to reward those who…


Greetings and commendation as it appertaineth to…


Humble recommendation and greetings…


·         In these isles the words of X and Y are as law.  Hear then…
·         Justice demandeth and reason ordaineth that those of virtuous disposition and action be rewarded…


Know all by these the presents of X and Y…


Lords, barons, peers, and all true subjects seeing or hearing…


Masters, mistresses, nobles, lords and gentlefolk all, greetings from…


Nunc audite verba & salutem X and Y principium… [Now hear the words and greetings of X and Y princes of…]


Omnibus veribus civibus X & Y principes, &c., Salutem. [To all true subjects, X and Y, Prince and Princess and so forth, greetings.]


Begin with “prince” or “princess”, e.g., “Prince Vitus and Princess Isabel to all and singular unto whom these our presents come, greeting.”


·         Recommendation and greetings from X and Y…
·         Rex/Regina [king/queen] X and Y…


·         Salutation & commendation as it appertaineth
·         Singulis & universis ad quos… [to all and singular unto whom…]


To all unto whom these or present letters come, greeting.


Universis et singulis, X and Y &c., Salutem [to all and singular, X and Y, and so forth, greeting]


We, X and Y, by right and grace Prince and Princess of these lands, send greetings to all and singular, be they dukes, counts, peers, barons, lords, nobles, gentlemen or gentlewomen….


Don’t.  Have you no pity?

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