To the Authentic_SCA list.
Up here in the north, the light of spring is showing, but it has yet to
melt the snows, and we are still covered in the blanket of winter.
Someone was asking about the introduction and closing of letters prior to
1600 AD; below are excerpts from two books I own with various letters and
other miscellaneous writings. I hope they are helpful.
I have taken some liberty, extracting what I thought to be the opening and
closing, where I could see one. Occassionally none seemed present: I was
not sure if the message was simply brief or if it was the case that this
had been excerpted from another text and thus was incomplete. I hope that
this is of some help.
I think, mayhap, I have been reading too many of these as my speech seems
to have begun conforming to their manner.
from A MEDIEVAL MISCELLANY
selected by Judith Herin
"...Kindest regards to you and all the friends. And may your well-being
wax indefinitely" --From a letter from Isaac Nisaburi, a Jewish trader in
Alexandria, toa colleague in Sept. of 1118.
"Wherefore, dearest son - be eager and anxious to look at this little
work... You will find in it whatever kinds and blends of various colours
Greece possesses..." -- From a treatise on the techniques used in artistic
production by 'Theophilus' in the first half of the 12th century.
"To Cola di Rienzo, Tribune of the Roman people..." -- From Petrarch, July
1347, to Cola di Rienzo from Avignon, where he was emplyed in the papal
court of the Roman pontiffs.
"...By God, do not tarry. Take note of this. Greetings. And Peace."
--From a 13th century note, probably inserted into a letter by the unknown
author, reporting on the readers' son's legal problems in Bijaya (Bougie)
"To Father Luigi Marsili, from Arqua, 7 January 1374...
... Farewell, be happy, and pray to Christ for me whenver you approach
his table." -- From a letter by Petrarch, to a friend.
"To Alexander, Metropolitan of Nicaea..." -- From a collection of letters
written by an unidentified scholar in Constantinople in the 10th century.
"Dearest and very loved father in Christ Jesus, I caterina, servant and
slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, am writing to you in his precious
blood. I long to see you by the same blazing divine clarity that moved
God to draw us from within himself, from his infinite wisdom, so that we
might share in and enjoy his supreme eternal good.... " -From Catherine of
Siena writing to Cardinal Iacopo Orsini in 1374
"Thorir the Fair sends God's and his own greetings, true fellowsip and
friendship to Havgrim, his partner. There is much I lack, partner... If
Sigrid needs anything, then get it for her. Promise me that you will not
rebuke me for my poor state." --From a message carved in runes on a wooden
stick in the first half of the fourteenth century and excavated in Bergen,
from THE PORTABLE MEDIEVAL READER
Edited by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin, McLaughlin
"Sire and God's servant: Know if you please, that I have seen your son
Edmund and have observed his condition for two nights and a day... So if
you please, send me by your boy a reply concerning your wishes about these
things. Farewell, in the power of Christ and in the merits of the Virgin
and Mother Mary, from your devoted
To the honourable Sir Edmund de Stoner." -- c. 1380
"My own heartily beloved Cousin Katherine, I recommend myself to you with
all the inwardness of my heart...
By your faithful Cousin and lover Thomas Betson.
I send you this ring for a token.
To my faithful and heartily Beloved Cousin Katherine Riche at Stonor this
letter is delivered in haste." --A love letter, 1476
"Right entirely and best beloved husband: I recommend myself to you in the
most loving way that I can or may. Moreover, may it please you to know
that I have received your letter, and a bill enclosed in the same letter
which I have read and understood right well...
And Cousin, when you wrote me I had no leisure; truly I have been sick
and busy, or else I would have written to you before this.
By your own Elizabeth Stonor.
To my right and well beloved Cousin, Willian Stoner, esquire at Stoner,
this be delivered." -- A Wife to her husband, 1476
(The preceeding were from "The Stonor Letters and Papers")
"Dear Sister..." -- Late fourteenth century, From the "Goodman of Paris"
"Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, extends greetings and
the apostolic benediction to the beloved sons in Christ, the faithful
Christians, to those here now and to those in the future....
Given at the Orvieto by the hand of the Magister John Lectator,
vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, on the 7th of October, in the
first indiction, in the year 1272 of the divine incarnation, in the first
year of the pontificate of our master, the Pope Gregory X." -- Pope
Gregory X's decree of Papal protection of the Jews.
"These are the words of the archbishop of Cantebury to the king of the
With desire I have desired to see your face and to speak with you;
greatly for my own sake but more for yours..." - Letter from Thomas
Beckett to King Henry II
"To the most illustrious prince, distinguished above all others in the
glories of his military art and experience, to the most Christian lord
Edward, by divine favour king of England and Scotland, lord of Ireland,
duke of Aquitaine, the most lowly advocate of his ecclesiastical cases in
the same duchy, in order to serve him, and royal virtue, seeking nothing
and up to now paid no salary, with the greatly desired increase of good
fortune, sends greeting in Him through whom all true kings rule and
princes govern...." -- from Pierre du Bois, 1305-1307.
"A letter of consolation you had written to a friend, my dearest Abelard,
was lately by chance put into my hands...
...I have written you a long letter, but the conclusion shall be short:
My only friend, farewell." 12th century; from Heloise to Abelard.
"When I received your affectionate letters, which you sent to me earlier
by my son Theobald, I was delighted, and I embraced them as friends for
the sake of their sender. I wanted to write immediately what was in my
mind, but I could not, because I was hindered by the troublesome demands
of my cares, to which very often, indeed, almost always, I am compelled to
yield. I have only just snatched what I could seize from a day
interrupted by confusions....
...Be mindful of him, then, in the Lord; be mindful also of me, if it
pleases you, and solicitously commend to those holy sisters who serve the
Lord with you, the brothers of our congregation, and the sisters, who
everywhere in the world, as much as they can, are serving the same Lord as
you do." -- 12th century; Peter the Venerable writing to Heloise
"Greetings. It is possible that some word of me may have come to you,
though even this is doubtful, since an insignificant and obscure name will
scarcely penetrate far in either time or space. If, however, you should
have heard of me, you may desire to know what manner of man I was, or what
was the outcome of my labours, especially those of which some description
or, at any rate, the bare titles may have reached you..." -- Francesco
Petrarca, a letter to posterity c. 1370.
"To the most excellent lord and most Christian Louis, by the grace of God
illustrious king of the French, from Friar William of Rubruck, the meanest
in the order of Minor Friars, greetings, and may he always triumph in
Christ." -- William of Rubruck, 1253-54
"Robert, servant of the cross of Christ by divine pity, cardinal priest of
the title, St. Stephen in Mons Caelius, legate of the apostolic see, to
all the masters and scholars of Paris, eternal greeting in the Lord...
...Done in the year of Grace 1215, the month of August." -- from a letter
written in 1215 on the rules of the University of Paris.
"...Fare you well again and again, my dearest friend and colleague! Don't
forget me and do give me not only your approval, but your love." -- from a
letter in 1378 by Coluccio Salutatti to a colleague.