This checklist is meant to alert SASLC contributors to several tools that are indispensable for research into the sources of Anglo-Saxon literary culture, and to supplement the instructions provided by the Guide for Readers in the SASLC Wiki, which you should consult first for information on organizing your entry.

This checklist is meant to alert SASLC contributors to several tools that are indispensable for research into the sources of Anglo-Saxon literary culture, and to supplement the instructions provided by the Guide for Readers in the SASLC Wiki, which you should consult first for information on organizing your entry. Also consult the Reference Works and Abbreviations (references works mentioned in this Guide will be cited by the abbreviations expanded there).

Begin by fashioning the entry’s headnote. If the entry is devoted to a single text (e.g., the Visio Baronti), then print the text’s full title (preferably as it appears in CPL) in bold type, followed by an abbreviation [in square brackets] taken from Lapidge’s Abbreviations for Sources and Specification of Standard Editions for Sources: if the work is listed there; if not, devise an abbreviation conforming to Lapidge’s system (see his pp. 51–56 for anonymous writings). Then list in abbreviated form the relevant standard reference guides listed in the List of Abbreviations beginning with RBMA, CPL, and RGA. References to the various dictionaries and encyclopedias is optional; list them if the article on the work is particularly valuable. If the entry is devoted to an author of several works (e.g., Abbo of Fleury), then list only the author’s name in the headnote; titles of individual texts, abbreviations, and more specific bibliography should introduce subsections of the main entry, analyzing the evidence for knowledge of each work in Anglo-Saxon England.

Next check the reference works listed in the Reference Works and Abbreviations as relevant for articles or entries on your author or text. CPL, RBMA, and RGA are the most important. Note that CPL has tables concording references with the PL, PG, RBMA, and several other reference works. Know how the 11 volumes of RBMA are organized: Vol. 1 = Bible and Apocrypha; Vols. 2–5 = Commentaries with named authors, arranged alphabetically; Vols. 6–7 = Anonymous Commentaries, by library, alphabetically; Vols. 8–9 = Supplements and Glossa Ordinaria; Vols. 10–11 = Initia. The online version is searchable:

For further relevant reference works see the online Bibliographies by Charles D. Wright:
The Bible and Its Interpretation
The Apocrypha in the Middle Ages
Medieval Latin Literature
The Classics in the Middle Ages: Transmission and Influence
Medieval Liturgy
Sermons and Homilies
Medieval Encyclopedias, Bestiaries, Lapidaries, and Herbals
Medieval Studies: General Bibliographies, Reference Works, and Internet Resources
Medieval History and Historical Sources
Medieval Christianity and Ecclesiastical Sources

Meanwhile, the rest of the headnote consists of five different categories:

1. MSS
2. Lists
3. A-S Vers
4. Quots/Cits
5. Refs

Here are some suggestions on how to go about compiling the necessary information for each.

For starters, check to see what Ogilvy says in BKE, and try to verify his claims. Don’t forget to check Ogilvy’s Books Known to the English, A. D. 597-1066: Addenda et Corrigenda,” Mediaevalia 7 (1984), 281-325, and also check for supplementary information in the reviews of Ogilvy by Wallach, Gneuss, and Bloomfield.

1. MSS

List Latin manuscripts of the work either written or owned in Anglo-Saxon England (by city, library, and shelf-mark, followed by the manuscript’s number in ASM). ASM is extremely thorough, but note that some Latin texts are silently subsumed under generic headings as “Computisica” or “Sermons,” so the absence of an entry for the work in the index does not necessarily mean that it occurs in no Anglo-Saxon manuscript. If you are dealing with a work that is not itemized in ASM, first consult any editions or other secondary sources that give a list of manuscripts containing the work. Then consult available published or online library catalogues of the manuscript(s) in which you think a text might be subsumed under a particular generic heading. To locate the appropriate manuscript catalogue(s), check Paul O. Kristeller and Sigrid Kramer, //Latin Manuscript Books Before 1600//, revised digital edition 2016. For manuscripts in British libraries, see Neil R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries (Oxford, 1969–83), in three volumes: Vol. 1 = London; Vol. 2 = Abbotsford–Keele; Vol. 3 = Lampeter–Oxford. (Ker died before completing vol. 4, so there’s no place to go other than Kristeller for libraries in British cities that begin with a letter after O). Ker also has a Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, 2nd ed. (London, 1964). A Supplement to the Second Edition of Ker’s Medieval Libraries has been edited by Andrew G. Watson, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 15 (London, 1987). For Norman manuscripts between the Conquest and 1100 check Richard Gameson, The Manuscripts of Early Norman England (c. 1066–1130) (Oxford, 1999)

If the work in question has ever been falsely attributed to Augustine or Jerome, it will probably be included among the lists of manuscripts in Manfred Oberleitner et al., Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke des Heiligen Augustinus (Vienna, 1969- ), also in the Vienna Sitzungsberichte; or in Lambert’s BHM. The information they contain may have been partly superseded anyway by John Machielsen’s Clavis Patristica Pseudepigraphorum Medii Aevi (Turnhout, 1990-).

If your manuscript is dated or datable and is now in a library at Cambridge or Oxford or in the British Library in London, it will be catalogued by Pamela M. Robinson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 737–1600 in Cambridge Libraries (Cambridge, 1988); or by Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 435–1600 in Oxford Libraries, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1984); or by Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700–1600 in the Department of Manuscripts, The British Library, 2 vols. (London, 1979). For the manuscripts of the ninth century, know about Jennifer Morrish, “Dated and Datable Manuscripts Copied in England During the Ninth Century: A Preliminary List,” Mediaeval Studies 50 (1988): 512–38, who accounts for 23 manuscripts.

If any of your manuscripts are dated A.D. 800 or earlier, look them up in CLA, which is arranged geographically. Check the bibliography in the back of the relevant volume, and be sure to check the updated bibliography in the Supplement volume (by entry number). A number of Anglo-Saxon items are also listed and described in the “Addenda to CLA” published in Mediaeval Studies 47 (1985): 317–367.

To find other bibliography on your manuscript, check the indexes to Scriptorium (index to vols. 1–30; index to vols. 31–40); the indexes at the back of every fifth volume of Anglo-Saxon England; as well as the Speculum Indexes for 1926–74 and for 1975–1990. Search through the “Bulletin Codicologique” manuscript index in each year of Scriptorium for the last ten years or so. Another good idea is to check the manuscript indexes of Bernhard Bischoff’s Mittelalterliche Studien, 3 vols. (Stuttgart, 1966–81); as well as the indexes of Paul Lehmann’s Erforschung des Mittelalters, 5 vols. (Stuttgart, 1941–62).

If your manuscript happens to be an Anglo-Saxon or Irish illuminated manuscript, then it will be analyzed in J. J. G. Alexander, Insular Illuminated Manuscripts (London, 1978); or in Elzbieta Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 900–1066 (London, 1976).

For other resources on manuscript catalogues and manuscript research see:
Manuscript Research: Identifying Texts and Locating Secondary Literature
Medieval and Modern Manuscript Catalogue and Digitized Manuscripts

2. Lists

Check for your author or work in the index of ML. If it’s there, cite the list(s) by short title as given in the “Guide for Readers,” with reference to the item number(s) in ML.

3. A-S Vers

Here, identify Anglo-Saxon versions or translations of the work, listed by short title and Cameron number [= AC]. To find out if there’s an Anglo-Saxon version or translation of your text, check the indexes to NRK and to Stanley Greenfield and Fred Robinson, A Bibliography of Publications on Old English Literature to the End of 1972 (Toronto, 1980), as well as the lists of Named Latin Authors and of Anonymous Latin Authors in AC. (For works of Ælfric, there is a very convenient tabulation of NRK and AC numbers in Aaron Kleist, “Ælfric’s Corpus: A Conspectus,” //Florilegium// 18.2 (2001): 113-64.

If there is an A-S version, then get the standard edition, which should be listed in the List of Texts, but keep in mind that the edition cited by DOE may have been superseded. Check relevant secondary lit for the information you’ll need to discuss in the body of the entry (such as date and authorship, how much of the text is translated, which parts, etc.).

For secondary lit. on the A-S versions and on the other categories of the headnote, consult the Greenfield-Robinson Bibliography, supplemented by the annual bibliographies in ASE and the Old English Newsletter Bibliography Database Also check the indexes to Phillip Pulsiano, A Bibliography of North American Dissertations on Old English and Luke Reinsma, Aelfric: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1987).

4-5. Quots/Cits and Refs

(These two categories can be dealt with together.)

Start with Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library and locate all references to the author and work(s). Note that while Lapidge comprehensively compiles data from the apparatus fontium from printed editions, in most cases he will not have attempted to assess each source claim independently. That should be done for SASLC entries because many “fontes” claimed by editors or critics may be dubious. An effort should be made to compare the Anglo-Saxon text against the claimed sources to determine whether there are in fact clear verbal citations or at least compelling verbal echoes, or if not, then parallels of idea that are distinctive enough to make it reasonably likely that they derived from that particular source. These decisions will often be subjective, but it is the responsibility of entry writers to make them. Phantom fontes should be eliminated, but with reference in the Body to the excluded claims (often it will suffice simply to say that Lapidge records some additional sources that have been excluded). Slight or dubious fontes should be listed with a question mark and the notation “see below,” with a brief explanation in the Body as to why they are slight or dubious. Often it will suffice simply to state that the parallel in question is slight or dubious because there are no verbal echoes, or that the idea in question was too commonplace to pin down to that particular source; but in some cases it may be necessary to specify in more detail why you disagree with the published claim.

Follow up by checking editions of Anglo-Latin and OE texts, and of secondary scholarship on them, focusing on work published after about 2000 (The Anglo-Saxon Library was published in 2005). Also Google (including Google Books and Google Scholar) the name of your author and title of your text together with the search words “Anglo-Saxon” / “Anglo-Latin” / “Old English.” Search multiple ways that scholars might cite your author or text, e.g. whether in its Latin form(s), trying spellings with boh u/i and v/j; or in Anglicized form, or in English translation; or in the possessive case (“Ambrose’s” will turn up hits that “Ambrose” misses); or in other major research languages (Hieronymus, Jerome, Girolamo; Gregorius, Gregor, Grégoire; etc.). You can delimit the search to exclude hits before about 2000, but first try it without a chronological limit, especially if your author or text is rare.

Also search Fontes Anglo-Saxonici for your author (and don’t forget to reference Fontes if there are any citations). First, know the abbreviation of your author or text from Lapidge’s Abbreviations for Sources. Use “Source Author” pull-down menu on the search page for authors; if you are dealing with an anonymous text, you’ll have to choose “ANON” under “Source Author”; then select “All records” and “Sort by Source title”; then select “All results” to pull up the 3653 records listed alphabetically by title (it may take about 30 seconds to load).

Once you’ve located the quots/cits and refs, list them in the headnote in chronological order, employing the AC abbreviations for the OE works, with page and line references to the standard editions, according to the format specified in the “Guide to Readers.”

Body of the entry

This part usually begins with a brief characterization of the work, plus discussion of any problems regarding authorship or attribution; of the temporal and geographical extent of the use of the work (where possible); and of any essential information about the manuscripts listed in the headnote, all with bibliographical references (by author’s last name and page number(s)). Since the Gneuss-Lapidge bibliography in ASM is quite thorough, it is only necessary to list the most essential references as well as any not in ASM.

For bibliography on your Latin work, in addition to CPL and the other reference works listed above, consult especially Medioevo Latino: Bollettino bibliografico della cultura europea dal secolo VI al XIII (Spoleto, 1979– ), preferably via the online Mirabile database. Note that in the print volumes, bibliography on the influence of pre-medieval authors in the Middle Ages is gathered under the heading “Fortleben.” As a rule, you should only cite bibliography that’s immediately relevant to whatever problems you need to discuss in the body of the entry. It is not SASLC’s purpose to compile complete bibliographies on every Latin author or work. Completeness is desired only for secondary literature directly pertaining to knowledge of the work in Anglo-Saxon England.

The remainder of the body of the entry is devoted to brief discussion and explanation of the information summarized in the other categories of the headnote, noting for example in the case of a quot/cit what idea, theme, or motif is taken from the Latin work. If it’s uncertain whether the Anglo-Saxon author knew the work first–hand or through an intermediate source, or if a quot/cit or ref is doubtful, this should be explained here. The entry may conclude with any relevant comments or suggestions about work in progress or desiderata.


Follow the style now used in Brown and Biggs, Bede, vol. 1.

Thomas N. Hall and Charles D. Wright, 2014
Revised by the Editoral Board 2017