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Lexis of Cloth and Clothing Project

Cloth and clothing have been integral to life for every person since civilization began.

In the Middle Ages dress was an identifier of occupation, status, gender and ethnicity; textiles ranged through opulent, symbolic, utilitarian and recycled. Cloth production and international trade constituted a major sector of the economy of medieval Britain.

Evidence for medieval textiles and clothing is sought in diverse academic disciplines: archaeology, archaeological textiles, art history, economic history, literature, languages.

The vocabulary of the various languages spoken and written in the British Isles is documented in different specialist dictionaries, yet geographical proximity and interaction through labour and trade would argue that this evidence should be categorised and analysed together.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council made an award of £765,576 within the Research Grants (Standard) Scheme to fund a 5-year Project to undertake a trans-disciplinary study with the purpose of  producing an analytical corpus of medieval dress and textiles terminology of the British Isles in the form of a searchable database, innovatively illustrated.

At its centre was the assembly and examination of textiles/clothing lexis in the early languages of Britain (Old and Middle English; Welsh, Old Irish and minor Celtic languages; Anglo-Norman/French, Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norse), investigating the genesis and subsequent development of the vocabulary.

The terms and their citations from both documentary and literary texts have been analysed in awareness of surviving textiles/dress accessories and graphic images in medieval art.


From the reviewer:

This website represents an ambitious project – “lexis” being the total stock of words in a language – in this case we are looking at words specific to the British Isles. The sections that focus on words are the best – the Dictionaries tab and the Search the Database are useful and provide data. The Gallery tab provides detailed photographs. The Research tab leads to interesting books – they are mostly dated from 2006 -2012, however.

PhiloBiblon

PhiloBiblon is a free internet-based bio-bibliographical database of texts written in the various Romance vernaculars of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. It includes the primary sources of those texts, both manuscript and printed, the individuals involved with the production and transmission of those sources and texts, and the libraries holding them, along with relevant secondary references and authority files for persons, places, and institutions.

Notes from reviewer:

PhiloBiblon combines a search of four online bibliographies of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. As noted on the site, “There has been little concerted attempt to coordinate data among the four teams. Discrepancies will be found, for example, in the titles of texts originally written in Latin and in the names of individuals. In the case of translations from one Iberian language into another, however, the team describing the translated text tends to defer to the expertise of the team dealing with the original. There has been no systematic attempt to copy all of the information from the authority files of one bibliography into those of another.” This may make the resource confusing for inexperienced users.

Rusian Genealogy

Genealogies have been constructed and used for hundreds of years to help families understand their ancestry and more recently to help scholars understand the relationships between medieval people and families. The Rusian genealogical database offers an update on this traditional discipline. The research underlying this database is new and is built on the primary sources in Old East Slavic, Latin, Greek, and Old Norse, as well as a thorough reading and understanding of the modern secondary literature. That information is then accessed through an XML database that allows the user to search through the variety of information presented here, including parentage, regnal dates, place of rule, and other data points. The end result is the most accurate genealogy of Rus′ yet developed, presented in an accessible and intuitive way for use by scholars, students, and others.