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Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-07 > 1027982932


From: (Stewart Baldwin)
Subject: Re: The Henry Project - one year later
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 23:11:42 GMT
References: <3d3f1180.14739058@news.mindspring.com>


Peter Stewart <> wrote:

>Given the chore of quality control that you have generously taken on, I
>wonder if it isn't better to stick with Henry II's ancestry and expand the
>methodology instead.
>
>At present I'm not sure that the project isn't falling between two stools -
>by inviting users to focus on primary sources, but giving only preferred
>conclusions from these, sometimes debatable, with bare references which most
>people won't have the time, energy or resources to follow up. I would be
>happy to consult the Henry Project, and ready to submit new pages, provided
>room could be made for more discussion of detail & generally a more
>thorough-going approach in quoting from as well as citing primary sources.

It was certainly never intended that the Henry Project should be
"giving only preferred conclusions from these, sometimes debatable",
and such instances would certainly be cause for revision (one of the
reasons that I regard the pages that are currently up as being only
provisional). Many of the pages that are currently up involve
individuals for whom the evidence is straightforward, and my feeling
was that it is unnecessary to give any discussions beyond a brief
citation of the primary sources in such "routine" cases. I know that
I was not as thorough as I should have been with regard to documenting
the death dates, etc. of some of the counts of Flanders, and when I
can find the time to do so, I am planning to revise those pages to
take into account the comments that you sent me privately. Any
reasonable doubts in the evidence should be accompanied by some
comment, and any reasonable doubts involving relationships of
individuals need to be stated so clearly that it is difficult to
overlook. If there are places on the current pages where that is not
the case, then it needs to be fixed.

>The main problem that can arise from what is basically a finding aid on a
>website which also purports to give basic facts is obvious: many readers
>will simply accept and copy the information without question. Others would
>possibly reach different opinions from studying the same material as the
>author, if they could do so without too much trouble. Occasionally sources
>are at odds with each other and their reliability on specific points can be
>confusing; there may be unacknowledged contradictions within the evidence
>from a single source; there may be mistakes in transcription or lapses in
>editing, apart from scribal or printing errors; and the interpretation or
>translation may be open to challenge from studying the original text/s, even
>in fragments.

[snip]

It seems that one of the problems in getting people to see what I have
in mind for the pages in the Henry Project is the current shortage of
controversial cases among those pages that are currently up. I would
say that among those pages now up, Rollo of Normandy and his alleged
father Rognvaldr of Mre would be the only ones involving any major
controversy. Because there are no reasonable alternatives for Rollo's
parentage other than to just say that it is unknown, I spent most of
the discussion pointing out the flaws in the "orthodox" version of
Rollo's parentage, without attempting to provide an alternative.
There are other pages of the "less than straightforward" type in the
works (e.g., Judith of Flanders [or is it Normandy?], the Luxemburg
counts, Heribert of Kinziggau), and here there will be more quoting
from the primary sources so that people can see how far the evidence
goes, what the problems are, and what some of the various opinions are
from the literature. In some of these cases, my postings to this
newsgroup have given such quotes, so some of the material that will
eventually appear on the pages (in revised form) has already been
seen. My main obstacle for all of these pages is that I have lacked
access to some important source (a frequent problem for those of us
who don't live anywhere close to a first-rate library), so I felt that
any page I composed for those individuals right now would still be
incomplete. (With the stuff I gathered on my SLC vacation, I may now
have enough to do a page on Heribert - I will have to see when I
examine what I have more thoroughly.)

I would certainly be very interested in a submission of the type you
suggested.

Stewart Baldwin


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