Friday, March 26, 2010

Final thoughts on invocation and address

Sorry to keep beating this horse, but I've also been wondering about the still more obvious question: From the perspective of the forgers, what kind of sense does it make to give a shout-out to Lothar in your prefatory invocation? The fiction is that Pseudo-Isidore predates the Carolingian period, after all. How was this supposed to work? Was it a deliberate declaration of allegiance? Or is this better explained as a mistake? Has one of the forgers been trained in Lothar's chancery, and is this him screwing up and letting his slip show?

The same goes for the Isidorus Mercator of the address. Yeah, Isidore of Seville was an authoritative church father from Spain (significant because of the relationship between the decretals and the Hispana) and Marius Mercator was a widely known translator of Greek texts (significant because the Pseudo-Isidore claims to be presenting new translations of some of the Greek church councils, as we'll see shortly). But what kind of sense does it make to blend the two figures together? Wouldn't that just seem like a stupid joke -- and a clear fiction -- to anybody who knew both authors?

Forging the decretals was obviously deadly serious business for all involved. I guess it's just odd to find our team playing funny games like this.

1 comment:

  1. Re. the name Isidore Mercator. I don't think this questionable. The goal would be to find something familiar --- not quite this, not quite that, but read on: should be interesting. What you have to assume is a non-critical audience. Nobody knows where things come from. The attitude a priori is acceptance rather than doubt. WG