As soon as the capitulary was composed, it was sent to the various functionaries of the Frankish empire, archbishops, bishops, missi dominici and counts, a copy being kept by the chancellor in the archives of the palace. The last emperor to compose capitularies was Lambert in 898.
These capitularies make provisions of a most varied nature; it was therefore found necessary at quite an early date to classify them into chapters according to the subject. In 827 Ansegisus, abbot of St. Wandrille at Fontenelle, made such a collection. He embodied them in four books: one of the ecclesiastical capitularies of Charlemagne, one of the ecclesiastical capitularies of Louis the Pious, one of the secular capitularies of Charlemagne, and one of the secular capitularies of Louis, bringing together similar provisions and suppressing duplicates. This collection soon gained an official authority, and after 829 Louis the Pious refers to it, citing book and section.
After 827 new capitularies were naturally promulgated, and before 858 there appeared a second collection in three books, by an author calling himself Benedictus Levita. His aim was, he said, to complete the work of Ansegisus, and bring it up to date by continuing it from 827 to his own day; but the author not only borrowed prescriptions from the capitularies; he introduced other documents into his collection, fragments of Roman laws, canons of the councils and especially spurious provisions very similar in character to those of the same date found in the False Decretals. His contemporaries did not notice these spurious documents, but accepted the whole collection as authentic, and incorporated the four books of Ansegisus and the three of Benedictus Levita into a single collection in seven books. The serious historian of today, however, is careful not to use Books Five, Six, and Seven for purposes of reference.
Early editors chose to republish this collection of Ansegisus and Benedictus as they found it. It was a distinguished French scholar, Etienne Baluze, who led the way to a fresh classification. In 1677 he brought out the Capitularia regum francorum, in two folio volumes, in which he published first the capitularies of the Merovingian kings, then those of Pippin, of Charles and of Louis the Pious, which he had found complete in various manuscripts. After the date of 840, he published as supplements the unreliable collection of Ansegisus and Benedictus Levita, with the warning that the latter was quite untrustworthy (see Pseudo-Isidore). He then gave the capitularies of Charles the Bald, and of other Carolingian kings, either contemporaries or successors of Charles, which he had discovered in various places. A second edition of Baluze was published in 1780 in 2 volumes folio by Pierre de Chiniac.
The edition of the Capitularies made in 1835 by Georg Pertz, in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (folio edition, vol. I, of the Leges) was not much of an advance on that of Baluze. A fresh revision was required, and the editors of the Monumenta decided to reissue it in their quarto series, entrusting the work to Dr. Alfred Boretius. In 1883 Boretius published his first volume, containing all the detached capitularies up to 827, together with various appendices bearing on them, and the collection. of Ansegisus. Boretius, whose health had been ruined by overwork, was unable to finish his work; it was continued by Victor Krause, who collected in vol. II the scattered capitularies of a date posterior to 828. Karl Zeumer and Albrecht Werminghoff drew up a detailed index of both volumes, in which all the essential words are noted. A third volume, prepared by Emil Seckel, was to include the collection of Benedictus Levita. To satisfy modern critical requirements so a new edition has been commissioned by the Monumenta Germaniae Historica to Hubert Mordek and to Klaus Zechiel-Eckes; the edition of the Collectio Ansegisi is superseded by the one published in the Capitularia Nova Series vol. 1 (ed. Gerhard Schmitz, 1996).
The merit of clearly establishing these distinctions belongs to Boretius. He has doubtless exaggerated the difference between the Capitula missorum and the Capitula per se scribenda; among the first are to be found provisions of a general and permanent nature, and among the second temporary measures are often included. But the idea of Boretius is none the less fruitful. In the capitularies there are usually permanent provisions and temporary provisions intermingled; and the observation of this fact has made it possible more clearly to understand certain institutions of Charlemagne, e.g. military service.
After the reign of Louis the Pious the capitularies became long and diffuse. Soon, from the 10th century onwards, no provision of general application emanates from the kings. Henceforth the kings only regulated private interests by charters; it was not until the reign of Philip Augustus that general provisions again appeared; but when they did so, they bore the name of ordinances (ordonnances).
There were also capitularies of the Lombards. These capitulanes formed a continuation of the Lombard laws, and are printed as an appendix to these laws by Boretius in the folio edition of the Monumenta Germaniae, Leges, vol. iv.
Admonitio Und Praedicatio. Zur Religios-Pastoralen Dimension Von Kapitularien Und Kapitulariennaben Texten (507-814)
Jan 01, 1999; Admonitio und Praedicatio. Zur religios-pastoralen Dimension von Kapitularien und kapitulariennahen Texten (507-814). By Thomas...