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Cistercian circular from Alexander IV of 1256

The inscriptio , also known as the address , is the formula in the record of a document form that names the recipient (s) who are listed in the dative. It is almost always syntactically related to the salutation . In exceptional cases, the inscriptio can precede the initiation , if the order of precedence requires it: for example in the case of supplics or the letter of Emperor Frederick II to Pope Gregory IX. While an inscriptio is the rule for papal documents and mandates , the actual recipient is named in the diplomas of kings and emperors in the narration ; a mostly general public who should be informed of the content of a document is addressed in the promulgatio . In the case of mandates, the addressee is not the person who benefits from the legal dispositions and who has requested the document.

Address of a document from Doge Michael Steno from 1402

In the case of closed letters ( litterae clausae ) and in the case of Breven , the recipient of the document is given in an external address, which is usually in the middle of the reverse side , where it can be viewed without damaging the seal . On the Stenos document it reads: Egregiis et nobilibus viris Iuratis et Universitati Nobilis civitatis Messane ("To the eminent and noble men, the jury, and the whole of the noble city of Messina ").

In the course of business of the papal chancellery, the notes of the procurators serve to accelerate the assignment to the responsible representative of the applicant for a document. There are also isolated external addresses for letters that are not locked.

Forms of address were discussed in detail in the Ars dictandi writings . In the writing rules and notulae, which are contained in the manuals for the scriptors of the papal chancellery, the different forms venerabili fratri and dilecto filio as well as their application are explained ( Dilectis filiis .. Abbati Cistercii eiusque coabbatibus universis Cisterciensis ordinis “To the beloved sons, the Abbot of Citeaux and all his co-abbots of the Cistercian Order ”is the formula in Alexander IV's document from 1256). The salutation venerabilis frater was reserved for bishops, all other Christians were referred to as dilectus filius / dilecta filia . There were different forms for heretics and non-Christian recipients.

In letters of justice, execution mandates and those letters of mercy that are not intended for a specific person, the name or sigle of clerics has been replaced by the so-called points of reverence , two adjacent points, since the end of the 12th century . This was intended to exclude procedural objections against possibly incorrect names: This always meant the person who was the owner of the named position at the time the document was presented.


Web links


  1. Regesta Imperii V No. 2029  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ; Vatican Apostolic Archives , AA. Poor. 1-18 n.29.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /