slideshow 1


The CORELPA project (Corpus électronique des lettres des papes), submitted to the ANR in 2006, consisted in finishing the digitization of the calendars and editions of 250.000 odd letters by the popes from the 13th to 14th c., kept today in the Archivio segreto vaticano (Regesta vaticana et avenionensia), and concerning all Europe.

Produced since the end of the 19th c. by scholars at the French School of Rome and the CNRS, these calendars and transcriptions have been progressively gathered since 1999 into a digital database named Ut per litteras apostolicas and distributed by Brepols Publishers. In four years (2007-2010), the challenge for the CIHAM-UMR 5648 was therefore to finish this digitization and to turn this database, which is of great historical interest, into a true corpus, usable by the whole scientific community. To achieve this, we intended to initiate, with the three other partners, some further research projects which would be able to shed light on the evolution of the diplomatic forms of the thousands of bulls kept, originals or copies (by the IRHT-USR of Orléans); the efficiency of papal grace regarding beneficial policies (by the LAMOP-UMR 8589 of Paris), the transformations of the papal government, especially in the territories controlled by the roman Church in Central Italy, in Avignon and in the Comtat Venaissin (by the EA 3152 of Avignon, which has merged with the CIHAM-UMR 5648 in 2010). The French School of Rome and Brepols Publishers were again closely associated with this project.

The most part of this programme has been successfully completed. In little more than four years, the CIHAM, thanks to the team of scholars led by Laurent Vallière and hosted in the Popes' Palace, in constant liaison with the French School of Rome and Brepols Publishers, has been able to add more than 100.000 letters to the database. The 4th edition, which will be published online and in CD-Rom at the end of 2011, will comprise about 250.000 letters (see the Brepolis website). A significant work on proofreading and data standardization, an attention paid to the needs of users and an improvement of the interface have made the corpus more accessible and more efficient. At the same time, the IRHT has been working at a workflow for the digital edition in XML-TEI of papa bulls, but above all it has been producing the first inventory of the French bullaries, wondering about the genre of the bullary and its specific diplomatic forms.

The LAMOP team, which was initially in charge of crossing the data of Ut per litteras apostolicas with those of the prosopographical database of the Fasti ecclesiae gallicanae. This project has been delayed for reasons independent of the programme, but this team seized the opportunity to revamp the code of the software powering the Fasti, then to build a spatial analysis of the effects of papal grace based on the 60.000 letters from the pontificate of John XXII (see the histoire de bulles website). The EA 3152 offered an effective edition of the famous Vitae paparum avenionensium by Baluze, which shed light on the characteristics of the papal government in Avignon, while two other research projects were also initiated, in collaboration with members of the CIHAM, on administrative letters and the letters of justice.

Today, the search engines show the large circulation, internationally, via Brepols, of the Ut per litteras apostolicas database. But the work of the various partners on the corpus, as well as the individual academic thesis (PhDs, "habilitations") which have been sparked off by this programme bear witness to its potential, and give the direction of the next stages of the enrichment of the database (which will receive, in one form or another, all the secret and curial letters of John XXII, and the common letters of Clement VI, still unpublished).

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer