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Laboratory-based case confirmation is an integral part of measles surveillance programmes; however, logistical constraints can delay response. Use of RDTs during initial patient contact could enhance surveillance by real-time case confirmation and accelerating public health response. Here, we evaluate performance of a novel measles IgM RDT and assess accuracy of visual interpretation using a representative collection of 125 sera from the Brazilian measles surveillance programme. RDT results were interpreted visually by a panel of six independent observers, the consensus of three observers and by relative reflectance measurements using an ESEQuant Reader. Compared to the Siemens anti-measles IgM EIA, sensitivity and specificity of the RDT were 94.9% (74/78, 87.4–98.6%) and 95.7% (45/47, 85.5-99.5%) for consensus visual results, and 93.6% (73/78, 85.7–97.9%) and 95.7% (45/47, 85.5-99.5%), for ESEQuant measurement, respectively. Observer agreement, determined by comparison between individuals and visual consensus results, and between individuals and ESEQuant measurements, achieved average kappa scores of 0.97 and 0.93 respectively. The RDT has the sensitivity and specificity required of a field-based test for measles diagnosis, and high kappa scores indicate this can be accomplished accurately by visual interpretation alone. Detailed studies are needed to establish its role within the global measles control programme.
The formulas show us property transactions among laypeople that are fundamentally similar to those between laypeople and ecclesiastical institutions that we see in the extant charters. Laypeople sold or gave property to each other, or exchanged it with each other, and they used documents to do it. However, the formulas broaden our view of the sorts of transactions laypeople engaged in and who engaged in them. For example, different kinds of property changed hands: not simply arable but also vineyards, plots of land within cities, and even townhouses. People used property as security for loans. Laypeople also arranged to hold property as benefices, or as so-called precarial grants, not only from churches/monasteries or kings but also from each other. One person used a benefice arrangement with a king to pass property to a chosen heir, in much the same way as others did with monasteries. The evidence in the formulas for these sorts of arrangements suggests that the property arrangements between lay families and ecclesiastical institutions or kings that dominate the charter record reflect only part of a larger culture, in which a variety of people in the Carolingian world used property to create and maintain ties with each other.
This chapter works through the evidence that connects Paris 2123 and the Flavigny formulas to a real historical world; that is, the evidence that the scribes who copied the formulas understood the texts that they were copying and thought that they were important and relevant. It first takes up the evidence that connects Paris 2123 to Flavigny, and works through the manuscript’s entire contents to establish the context for the Flavigny formulas themselves. It then shows how scribes behind the Flavigny collection deliberately selected their formulas; that is, chose which to copy, which to discard, and how to arrange them, and how they merged and blended preexisting material to create the formulas that they wanted. It also demonstrates the care the scribes took in copying the formulas; that is, in organizing them and making them easy to refer to, correcting mistakes, clarifying obscure language, and so on. From this material the chapter works outwards to similar evidence in other formula manuscripts, in order to further demonstrate that the formulas are not disembodied texts, but in fact have a historical context that lets us anchor them in a real world and use them as sources to learn something about that world.
Many of the formulas dealing with conflict highlight formal courts and judicial processes. Others represent extrajudicial settlements. In this respect they match, though in an entirely lay context, the picture of early medieval dispute settlement visible in other sources. They make particularly clear, however, that judicial and extrajudicial settlements were points on a complex and intertwined continuum. They also tell us that people – both litigants and authority figures – could manipulate and abuse judicial processes for their own purposes. The formulas are particularly interested in interpersonal violence. We find men assaulting each other on the road and taking each other’s property. We find men killing others for a variety of reasons. Those who committed homicide not only negotiated the payment of the required blood price, but actually paid it – and had their payment recorded in a security that protected them from any further trouble. Women too are accused of homicide, sometimes by poison or sorcery but sometimes by more active means. In the end, the formulas suggest that a culture assuming a right to personal violence was alive and well in the Carolingian period, despite strenuous efforts especially by Charlemagne and Louis the Pious to regulate it.
This chapter works through the evidence that in the world envisioned by the Flavigny formula collection and its companions, lay people used documents and letters like those that the formula collections contain to do things that did not involve churches and monasteries, and explore how the formulas say that they used them. This evidence is considerable, and extends well beyond laypeople simply appearing as actors in transactions that were recorded in writing. It includes transactions assuming in principle that the actors involved would keep the records for future reference: laypeople presenting documents as evidence in disputes; provisions for laypeople to update their documents by erasing parts of them and then writing in new words; documents that refer to other documents; references to lay archives, particular some that had been destroyed and whose contents needed to be replaced. Socially document use ranges from members of the elites, to unfree acquiring documents giving them freedom or presenting documents as proof that they had been free to begin with, to lower-status people showing up in front of someone with higher status with a letter of recommendation, to merchants carrying copies of royal privileges with them.
This chapter pulls together the previous chapters’ conclusions about the early medieval laity. It then asks why new, Carolingian-style formula collections stopped being made in the course of the tenth century. After surveying possible answers offered by the scholarship, it suggests – while acknowledging that we will likely never know for certain – another, namely that they continued to be produced as long as scribes wanted to write their documents and letters like others were writing theirs, for a clientele whose interests could span very long distances. As the Carolingian world disintegrated in the later ninth and tenth centuries, this became less important. The chapter closes with the history of the manuscript Paris, BNF, ms. lat. 2123, as it disappears from view, surfaces in the early modern period, arrives at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and ends up in the hands of Karl Zeumer as he edited the formulas for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the MGH edition, the impact that Zeumer’s editorial methods had on the formula texts and their images of the laity, and the resulting dangers of treating this edition, rather than the surviving manuscripts, as a primary source.
This chapter introduces the formulas as a source genre and in particular the manuscript and formula collection that occupies the center of this study: Paris, BNF ms. lat. 2123 and the formulas from Flavigny. It also introduces the concepts “early medieval Europe” and “early medieval laity,” in order to frame the questions that shape the book. The chapter briefly describes how the category “lay” even came to exist; that is, how and when a category “clerical” distilled out of late and post-Roman Christian society and came by the Carolingian period to separate clergy and monks from laypeople. From there it moves into what we know about how lay people lived their lives in post-Roman and early medieval Frankish Europe, and what remains unknown that makes it worth writing a new book about. The chapter then sets the Flavigny formulas in the context of the other Carolingian formula collections, presenting it (and them) as a gateway into a different world. Finally, the chapter briefly outlines the steps we need to open the gate and to understand what we see on the other side, and the topics we will explore when we get there.
This chapter illuminates a key characteristic of lay society in the Carolingian period: it was built on personal relationships, such as those between lords and their followers, vassals, or unfree, between patrons and clients, between friends – in short, between those who could offer help and those who needed it. The importance of these relationships is revealed above all in formulas for letters, in which clients asked patrons for help or asked them to intercede with other powerful people to help them solve problems, or in which people with power wrote to an equal or superior on behalf of a supplicant. These letters reach very far down the social scale. Some deal with unfree who have gotten into difficulties and have asked a patron for help. Quite a few tell of unfree who have gotten in trouble with their own lord and run to another powerful person – such as the Carolingian courtier and lay abbot Einhard – to beg his intercession. They show us a society in which power appears to have flowed through these personal relationships as or perhaps more strongly than it did through lines that we might describe as connecting governing and governed, or ruling and ruled.
This chapter tackles two principal problems with connecting the formulas to a real world: their often difficult or incorrect (by classical standards) Latin, and the late Roman and early Merovingian legal language that has led to them being labeled as antiquarian fossils. The chapter argues that the idiosyncratic Latin of the formulas in fact communicated essential content in regions where the spoken languages were evolving into Romance, as well as (with the help of glosses and occasional vernacular words) where they were Germanic. The obsolete (or obsolescent) legal language reflects a legal culture in the eighth and ninth centuries in which – especially in western areas with strong Roman roots – references to Roman law and procedure still meant something. Roman legal language gave some documents an imprimatur of authority. Descriptions of antique procedures bore a recognizable relationship (though not necessarily an exact correspondence) to how those transactions were actually carried out. In short, the legal and formulaic inheritance of Rome in the western regions of the Carolingian world contributed to a normative framework that lent authority and legitimacy both to documents and to the legal procedures that they recorded.
The formulas not only tell us about how people in the formulas’ world understood family relationships, but also sometimes reveal hints of how they felt about them. The formulas focus above all on the nuclear family. A good number of them deal with inheritance, in a variety of permutations that reveal tension as well as concord within families. Others deal with different kinds of property arrangements among members of families, including people who had been adopted into families. Still others highlight the needs and emotions that could drive family behavior. A number of formulas deal with those who had lost their families, namely orphans. The formulas dealing with family matters have a great deal to say about the lives of lay women in this world. Women appear not simply as passive objects in the arrangements reached by their male relatives and husbands, but as active agents who participated fully in the documentary culture around them. Some of the formulas that involve them also reveal that while the dominant norms disadvantaged women in the inheritance of property, those norms could be and frequently were breached in practice, even when they were framed in terms of law.
The formulas describe unfree men and women with terms that are fluid and overlapping, and that encompass everything from what we would call chattel slavery to loose patronage. The unfree most often appear as the passive objects of the power and interests of their betters. They are not a closed group, however. Free people submitted themselves to servitude either voluntarily or by force of circumstance, in exchange for money or to make amends for some wrong. Unfree were freed or bought their own freedom. The unfree also display a significant amount of agency. They ran away. They sought help against their own lords from other powerful people. Sometimes they stole things, including marriage partners. They contested their status, often with success. Some even owned other unfree. In short, the formulas tell us that status at the interface between free and unfree was fluid, and that while they spent much of their lives as the passive objects of power, the unfree in this world had the capacity to act in their own interests, were fully aware of how power flowed, and could work the social and political system to their own advantage.