I am a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the manuscripts and contexts of the early-medieval, barbarian laws, particularly those of the Anglo-Saxons (the subject of my doctorate) and the Lombards (or Langobards.) My research considers the book-cultures and scribal practices, and their implications for legal literacy through the codicological investigation of manuscripts of these laws produced and used throughout the early medieval period and up until, at least, the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. More than just an ‘auxiliary science’ providing data on the date, location and manner of production of a given manuscript, I consider codicology to be a means for disrupting static interpretations of law-texts and law-books, and for prioritising a non-homogenous, material and immediate interpretation of early legal literacy, embedded in scribal agency.
Since October 2012 I have been affiliated with the Institut für Mittelalterforschung (IMAFO) of the Austrian Academy of the Sciences, in Vienna, Austria. During that time I’ve been awarded a number of scholarships and research grants, beginning as a junior postdoc with the OeAD ‘Ernst-Mach’ international mobility stipend that first brought me to the Institute. From May 2014 to April 2016 I researched as a postdoc on a ‘Lise-Meitner’ scholarship from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), project no. M1698-G21, in which I focused on the production and use of Lombard Law-books in the ‘long’-eleventh century. I’m currently writing up a monograph on that subject (for the Kismet press), and am editing a collection of articles on the theme Law|Book|Culture in the Medieval West for Brill’s ‘Explorations in Medieval Culture’ series.
I have just been awarded a senior postdoc scholarship for a Standalone project from the FWF (project no. P29968), which will move the focus of my research on Lombard Law-books and Book Culture, ca 850-1025. That project is scheduled to begin in May 2017. Keep watching the blog for updates about this project and my previous research.
I started to write this a blog in April 2014, and after a rocky start returned to it in August 2015. Since then I have tried, and mostly succeeded, to upload one post a month, although I will admit I have missed a few. The blog was primarily intended as a means for updating about how my research is progressing, and hopefully expanding my network of contacts in the fields of early medieval law and manuscript culture. In this way I hope to inform, and get feedback, more regularly than the occasional publication of an article or presentation at a conference allows – although I will of course continue to do these. The majority scope of my posts, however, seems to have become a point for exploring the contents of specific clauses, themes and laws, and sometimes the law-books themselves. These comments are usually preliminary thoughts and observations as I expand my grasp on the laws and lay foundations for ongoing research. I also use this website as a place to host the descriptions of the manuscripts I have been working with (currently all drafts, with the exception of Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, MS Plut 89 sup 86). These manuscript descriptions are which available for use on creative commons license, and those relating to the eleventh-century Liber Papiensis version of the Lombard laws should also be included as an appendix in the forthcoming monograph.
Thank-you for very much for reading, and I hope you find the subject matter of the blog interesting. I can also be found on twitter, posting under the rubric of @booksoflaw.
Thom Gobbitt, January 2017