Text Selection

1. The basic principle is to publish all the medieval charter texts´ where Sweden and Swedes are involved, including the Skåne provinces, Gotland, Bohuslän, Jämtland, Härjedalen and Finland. Charters concerning Sweden printed in the older series Diplomatarium Norvegicum and Finlands medeltidsurkunder are as a rule printed again.

Exceptions to the basic principle, in these cases summaries are considered sufficient:

a) Texts regarding the Skåne provinces or Gotland already printed in Diplomatarium Danicum.

b) Already edited, mainly Hanseatic, charter texts where Sweden or Swedes are only peripherally involved.

c) Charter texts published in Diplomatarium Norvegicum and Diplomatarium Danicum series where Swedish royal titles are used but the texts otherwise has nothing to do with Sweden.

2. Some other medieval text types are printed when they relate to Sweden. This includes various entries in city books (e.g. the Niederstadtbuch in Lübeck) and certain statutes and accounts, especially those designed as charters.

3. Post-medieval transcripts or information on charters found in other sources, e.g. in the National Archives Genealogica collection, are printed if the medieval exemplars have disappeared.

4. If the medieval originals are preserved, no information on any post-medieval transcripts, annotations or summaries is supplied, unless there are special reasons: for example, when a late transcript was made before a medieval exemplar was damaged. Such information is always available through the SDHK.


5. Each charter edition begins with a header consisting of the current DS numbers, the date of issue (sometimes approximate) and the place of issue, if mentioned.


6. All the main information found in the charter texts is summarised. Standard charter formulas are excluded from the summaries unless  they have special relevance in the current charter. All the people and places mentioned in the text are mentioned in the summary, even witnesses. In wills, all bequests are included. Titles of persons are included as a rule. People and places are given normalized, modern forms of names in the summaries. If this is not possible, the original forms are used in quotes.

Information in the summaries, added by the editors for reasons of clarity, is always marked with parentheses.

The sealer(s) is (are) noted in a separate paragraph.


7. The provenance and history of the charter text is established in the commentary section, with details about the original and copies in separate paragraphs. If several originals or copies exist, the various exemplars are signalled in the form of capital letters: A, B, C etc. If the charter text is not printed (see paragraph 1 above), these signs can be left out. If possible, the exemplars are listed in chronological order.

8. The dimensions of the original chartes are specified with millimetre accuracy. The measured width and height are specified, as well as the height of the plica. The number of lines in original charters is stated. These measurements and details are always printed when dealing with originals in Swedish archives. In other cases these details are included only if one of the editors has reviewed the original document.

9. Any previous printed editions of the text and printed translations into modern languages are mentioned in separate paragraphs. Reference is also made to facsimile editions and printed Regesta works.

10. After this, the reader will find references to other medieval charters, scholarly literature and historical studies. There is also room for explanatory information about people, places or events mentioned in the text. Discussions about the dates of a text and its authenticity are found in the commentary section. Any damage found in the exemplars is listed. When the charter text is not printed, corrections (if any) are placed last, in a separate paragraph after a blank line.

Charter Texts

11. The texts are edited according to a modified diplomatic principle, that is, the exemplar is followed wherever possible. Exceptions are made - to facilitate the reading and interpretation of the texts - in the following cases.

12. All abbreviated words are printed in their full forms. In vernacular texts, all abbreviations are expanded in italics. In the Latin texts, this is the case only in personal names, place names and in Latin forms of some originally non-Latin words. Italics can also be used for Latin words when the full form is uncertain. Year numbers and expressions like “m°” (= “millesimo”) or “2°” (= “secundo”) follow the exemplar. For practical reasons, in the legends of seals, the abbreviation “S” (“Sigillum”, “Signetum” or “Secretum”) will remain abbreviated. The abbreviation “-son” in Old Swedish patronymica will be expanded in accordance with the context (sometime  the genitive “-sons” is intended). Some high frequency abbreviations are sometimes expanded according to a standard, such as the words “medh”, “thet”, “ther”, “dotter”, “sigher”, unless existing full forms clearly show that the scribes of the exemplar used other forms.

13. The punctuation found in medieval exemplars remains unchanged, with the punctuation marks used in the exemplars, usually a virgula or a central dot. In addition to this, the texts are provided with a modern, syntactic punctuation to make the reading easier. This applies both to Latin and vernacular texts, but in the latter case, the editors are slightly more restrictive. When the text is based on a post-medieval exemplar, a syntactic punctuation is used and the punctuation of the exemplar can be disregarded.

14. The use of uppercase and lowercase letters is normalized in all charter texts. The names of the months are written with capitalisation, weekdays with lowercase initial letters. Feast days are written with uppercase letters after the following model “infra octauas Corporis Christi”, “in crastino Assumpcionis beate Virginis gloriose” and “in die Pasche”. Year in Roman numerals are normalized in the following way: “M ccc lxxvi”, which corresponds to the most common notation in the medieval exemplars.

15. In principle, the paragraph divisions in the edited texts are not changed but reproduced as in the exemplars. Exceptions may be made for very long texts, where the reading is significantly simplified by a paragraph division. This should be noted in the commentary.

16. In principle, no distinction is made between variants of one and the same letter. Nevertheless, the following details are to be preserved:

a) A dot or a ring over the letters “y” and “u” are printed according to the exemplar (unless the exemplars are post-medieval).

b) A distinction is made between the “u”, ”v” and “w” graphs.

c) The variations of the graphemes “ä” and “ö” are printed using the (Danish) letters “æ” and “ø”.  The Swedish variants (“ä” and “ö”) are used only when post-medieval exemplars are printed.

d) The double-s, “ß”, found in post-medieval exemplars is printed as “ss”.

17. Erased passages and intentional gaps in the exemplars are commented on in the text notes. Any letters or words written above erased texts will also be mentioned in the text notes.

18. Any damage in an exemplar is denoted with (straight) brackets: [ ]. If the supplemented text can be regarded as highly probable, Roman type is used. Uncertain supplemented text is italicised. If the text cannot be supplemented at all, this is denoted by three points within the brackets. In the text notes, the length of the damaged passage is told by an estimated number of characters or lines.

19. Editorial interventions are always commented upon in the text notes. Corrections of transcription errors or other mistakes (forgetfulness, carelessness) made by the scribe of the exemplar are made when deemed necessary and placed within straight brackets in italics and with the reading of the exemplar in the text notes.

20. When several medieval text witnesses are present – e.g. in a certified transcription (an inspeximus) or in copy books – the edition is based on a ‘main exemplar’, designated A, unless otherwise specified. If necessary, supplements or corrections in the edition can be based on other exemplars; this is always reported in the text notes. Variations in the main exemplar are specified (in the text critical notes) in the following cases:

a) always in the case of proper names, including orthographic variants;

b) in other cases, when more important morphological or lexical differences appear, spelling variants are not specified,

c) if the word order is different.

When we possess only post-medieval text witnesses, a main exemplar is chosen for the edition, and details of the other exemplars are provided only in special cases.

21. Exclusions of passages in a text are indicated by three dashes - - -. Exclusions of passages already printed in the Diplomatarium series are indicated by three dashes on either side of a reference to the relevant DS numbers.

‘Extra’ text

22. After the charter text, marginal headings and tergal annotations. Only those annotations (or signs) that can be considered medieval are reported, as well as some later entries of particular interest, such as the notes made by the royal secretary Rasmus Ludvigsson.

Descriptions of seals

23. After additional texts (if any), preserved seals are reported. The physical description refers to size, colour, shape, any kind of damage and, if appropriate, seal pouches and remaining text on the seal strips. The maximum width and height of the seal are specified with millimetre accuracy, even for fragments. In the case of round seals, the diameter is reported. Seal descriptions are simplified and follow the typology printed in the volume: Vocabulaire International de la sigillographie. Conseil International des Archives: Comité de Sigillographie (Rome 1990). Legends are reproduced. If the legend is damaged, only the text that can be considered certain is supplemented, i.e. words and letters that can be found in another imprint of the same stamp. These supplements are printed  within straight brackets and without italics with a reference to this second exemplar. If no text can be supplemented this is indicated with three dots between brackets [...] regardless of the extent of damage. If a charter is said to have had a seal that is now missing, this is reported, as well as the presence of grooves and remaining strips. If needed, a reference is made to relevant literature. For photographs of the National Archive original charters with attached seals, the reader is  referred to the SDHK.


24. Text-critical notes are marked with superscript letters. The footnotes are placed in separate paragraphs after the seal information (if any). If the footnote applies to more than one word, this is denoted by a initial and final letter (a- -a). In the text notes, difficult orthographies are explained and variants found in other text witnesses are reported (see paragraph 20). If multiple exemplars exist, these are called A, B, C, etc. If only one exemplar has been used for the edition, the normal procedure is to exclude any signature. However, if necessary, the abbreviation “ms” is used.

25. Footnotes with commentaries or explanations of the contents are marked with superscript numbers. In this category, references to sources and parallels are found. Theses footnotes are placed in a separate paragraph after the text critical notes. This is also the place for general philological comments and literary references.

Volumes, indices, bibliographies, lists of sources used, Internet publication

26. Indexes of places and persons are printed at the end of each volume (normally in several fascicles covering a five-year period) as well as abbreviation lists, a bibliography and a list of sources used. When a text has been printed, it is stored in XML format. At the same time, edited charters and images of most of the originals are made available online, via the SDHK.

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Sara Risberg