The Earliest Charter from Zürich


Carolingian Private Charter. Beginning of 9th century. Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen, Urk. I 184.

Among the 755 Carolingian private charters of the Abbey Archives of St. Gall, either preserved as an original or as an early copy, is the first mention of the city of Zürich in a historical document. While the Zürichgau appears for the first time in a St. Gallen document as early as 740, the late antique settlement on the Limmat is not mentioned in writing as a «royal place» (vicus publicus) until the early 9th century (806/07/09/10 April 27) after the migration of the peoples.

The cause for the public ceremony of issuing a charter in Zurich is the transfer of property of certain Nanzo in Fägswil (today part of the community of Rüti in the Canton of Zürich) to the St. Gallen Abbey.

Characteristic for Alemannic private charters is the wide format of irregular parchment sheets. For the archiving of the charters, the charters were folded several times and provided with a note on the reverse side.

The script is Alemannic minuscule (lower case) with minimal ligatures. Often the open form of cc-a is found next to the unical a.

At the beginning, as a symbolic invocation of Christi, is a chrismon, which is transcribed with ( C ). Transcribe e caudata with ae. Complete the abbreviations.

Suggested citation

Peter Erhart: Ad fontes, Transcription Exercise: The Earliest Charter from Zürich, translated by Rachel Mandell, CC-BY, URL: