This essay examines how the availability of a set of digital tools (including a complete digital edition and an instrument for textual comparison through a complex textual tradition) can help us in the study of ITS language. This paper is based on the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César, an early 13th French universal chronicle. This is the core text of The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages, an ERC-Advanced Grant based at King’s College London (PI, Simon Gaunt). The digital edition of the complete text of the Histoire ancienne is paralleled by the availability of a digital tool, Alignment, that maps the contents of the Histoire ancienne in its rich manuscript tradition. Alignment has proven an invaluable instrument in understanding the relations between the manuscripts of the Histoire ancienne. At the same time, we would not have realized the “competition-behavior” in language among the manuscripts without Alignment and the systematic study of the textual tradition. Section §2 illustrates how the digital edition and Alignment have been used as grounds for the study of the language of the Histoire ancienne’s textual tradition.


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pp. 33-56
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