Ronald W. Braasch III
(C) London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra A XVI, f. 9.
(R) London, The National Archives (TNA), E164/2, ff. 52-67v.
(N) London, TNA, E36/266, ff. 20-47v.
(C) London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra A XVI, ff. 3-40.
(H) London, British Library, Hargrave 313.
.Editions and Translations
FitzNigel, Richard. Dialogus de Scaccario: The Dialogue of the Exchequer. Edited and translated by Emilie Amt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007. [facing page Latin and English].
-----. Dialogus de Scaccario: The Course of the Exchequer. Edited and Translated by Charles Johnson, F. E. L Carter, and D. E. Greenway. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. [reissue with corrections of Johnson’s 1950 edition; Latin and English].
-----. De necessariis Observantiis Scaccarii Dialogus, Commonly called Dialogus de Scaccario. Edited by Arthur Hughes, Charles Crump, and Charles Johnson. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902. [Latin].
Madox, Thomas, ed. History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England. London, 1711. [Latin]
The Dialogue of the Exchequer, begun in 1177 and completed several years later, was essentially an instruction manual on the process, procedure, and inner workings of the oversight of England’s revenue system. It was written as a dialogue in which a teacher introduced a theme. Then, a student asked questions about the topic and the teacher would answer and elaborate to ensure that the pupil understood. The Dialogue was written in what might be called medieval court Latin; therefore, it is important to keep in mind that fitzNigel was contemplating French terminology in the composition of his Dialogue. The first book focused primarily on describing the responsibilities of offices and definitions of important terms, while the second book presided over how certain calculations should be done. For the twenty-first century reader, it may be best to think of the Dialogue an in-depth “Frequently Asked Questions” page of a website, which provides understanding to commonly encountered problems.
Importance for the study of Angevin history
The penning of the Dialogue corresponds to the rise of the Angevin dynasty in England. Following his coronation in 1154, Henry II commissioned Nigel the Bishop Ely to restore England’s fiscal administration, which had lapsed under Stephen. By 1160, Nigel’s son Richard had become the king’s treasurer. Richard fitzNigel completed his Dialogue in Henry II’s lifetime, which characterized at a minimum the complex governmental bureaucracy developing in England at the time. It was also representative of the increased genre of academic literature present in the twelfth century, alongside works such as Gratian’s Decretum.
British Library. “Dialogue of the Exchequer.” Magna Carta Manuscript Series. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/dialogue-of-the-exchequer.
Brown, A. L. The Governance of Late Medieval England, 1272-1461. London: Edward Arnold, 1989.
Warren, W. L. The Governance of Norman and Angevin England, 1086-1272. London: Edward Arnold, 1987.
Richardson, H. G. "Richard Fitz Neal and the Dialogus De Scaccario." The English Historical Review 43, (1928): 321-40.
Yale Law School. “The Dialogue Concerning the Exchequer, circa 1180.” The Avalon Project. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/medieval/excheq.asp.