Corrections and Glosses in Textus Roffensis: The Kentish Laws and the Laws of Alfred and Ine


Мikhail V. Zemlyakov

National Research University “Higher School of Economics”


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For citation: Zemlyakov, Mikhail V. Corrections and glosses in Textus Roffensis: The Kentish laws and the laws of Alfred and Ine // Graphosphaera. 2021. Vol. 1. P. 41–56. URL:

DOI: 10.32608/2782-5272-2022-1-41-56

Abstract: The paper is dedicated to Textus Roffensis, the manuscript copied c. 1122 x 1124 and containing one of the most important collections of Anglo-Saxon laws. The author studies corrections, emendations, glosses, and other signs in the main text and in the margins of the two earliest legal texts included into Textus Roffensis: the laws of 7th-century Kentish kings Æthelberht, Hlothhere and Eadric, and Wihtred, and the law-code of Alfred of Wessex (the late 9th century) which, in turn, had incorporated the laws of Ine (the late 7th century). The analysis of those corrections and glosses as well as the comparison with the text of the laws of Alfred and Ine in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 383 leads the author to a conclusion that the editorial work of the scribe was mainly of two kinds: the scribe either copied archaic word-forms and then emended them to more up-to-date ones, or re-read the laws in order to find mistakes or lapses. Due to this, the concentration of corrections differs much in different pages of Textus Roffensis. The most significant difference is between the Kentish laws and the laws of Alfred and Ine. The latter contain much more corrections and glosses than the former, and that may reflect their perception as somewhat actual for the legitimization of the Anlgo-Saxon clergy in early 12th-century England.

Key words: Anglo-Saxons, Kent, Wessex, Textus Roffensis, Æthelberht, Alfred the Great, laws, Norman Conquest, palaeography, codicology, Old English language

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Published on  December 12th, 2023