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- The Notitia dignitatum is a state paper that documents virtually the whole of the civil and military organization of the Roman Empire as it existed after the reforms of Emperor Diocletian (ruled, 284–305). The manuscript contains chapters on the high state offices, and each chapter is preceded by pages of illustrations depicting the insignia of the officials in these offices and objects characteristic of their functions. The original of the document, probably written around 425 in Rome, is lost, as is a copy from the Carolingian period. The Carolingians, who ruled much of present-day Western Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries, were acutely conscious of being the successors to the rulers of the Western Roman Empire, which probably accounts for their interest in this document. The lost Carolingian copy is known to have been in the library of the Speyer Cathedral until the 17th century. A number of copies of this document, all done in the 15th and 16th centuries, have survived. Among the best is this copy, which was completed in 1542 for the Count Palatine Ottheinrich of Neuburg. The count did not like the Renaissance-style imitations of the insignia plates that he found in his copy and had a set of illustrations more faithful to the originals added at a later date.
Title in Original Language
Notitia Dignitatum (Sammelhandschrift)
Type of Item
- 222 pages, vellum ; 31 x 24 centimeters