On the Determination of the Source Value of Forged Charters in Historical Toponomastics


  • Melinda Szőke University of Debrecen




From the perspective of historical toponomastics and linguistics, there are multiple chronological layers in charters whose status is uncertain. Due to the circumstances of their origin and survival, however, the historical linguistic and onomastic source value of the names they contain do not necessarily correspond. We may determine the historical toponomastic source valueof charters most reliably on the basis of principles derived from historical studies and diplomatics. This includes, for example, the consideration of litigations of abbeys or the study of the formulas contained in charters. With the growing number of linguistics studies conducted on charters of uncertain status, it has become clear that we need to further specify how such charters are to be assessed from an historical toponomastics perspective. In this paper, I explore how we may establish the source value of particular toponyms from the perspective of historical onomastics using two forged charters of Saint Stephen (the charters of Pécsvárad and Bakonybél). The first part of this paper shows that, irrespective of a certain name having not been included in the original source of the forged charter, th places and names in question could otherwise already have existed as early as the 11th century. The second part of the paper demonstrates that the parts of charters whose chronological status is uncertain but have been deemed to originate in the 11th century (based largely on the principles of diplomatics and history), may also include names whose use is not proven for the founding period (the early 11th century).