How to Use this Site


Various ways of researching its materials are provided, and they can be accessed by navigating through the site from the <>. They include:

  • bilingual French-English presentation
  • dynamic representation of the database on a <>
  • browsing the archive by <<date, by place, by person, and by volume>>
  • automatic cumulative annotation of the corpus through Isilex (a crowd-sourced facility)
  • word-searching the manuscript transcriptions
  • consulting <>, with a zoom facility
  • viewing topographical data on a map via openstreetmap
  • analysing manuscript alterations through ranscriptions and facsimiles
  • browsing additional encyclopaedic notes online

The user can also:

  • propose corrections to the transcriptions through a specific tab
  • contribute to the publicly created commentaries (crowd-sourced facility)
  • utilise the consultation and research tool provided
  • consult the transcriptions
  • browse the list of publications of the projet GORDES
  • view the conspectus of the archive of Bertrand de Gordes’ correspondence

A Tool for Browsing and Research

The projet GORDES offers a tool for online browsing and research. It is not a critical edition of the kind that has been undertaken for a selection of the Gordes archive at Chantilly for the year 1572. This is the moment to refer to our edition of that selection – Stéphane Gal, Mark Greengrass and Thierry Rentet (éds), <<Bertrand de Gordes, lieutenant-général du roi en Dauphiné. Correspondance reçue (1572), Grenoble, P.U.G., 2017, coll. La Pierre et l’Écrit>>. It contains a historical introduction, genealogical tables, an appendix of biographical entries, and numerous explicatory notes that are designed to facilitate the full understanding of the other documents from this collection transcribed here.

Composition of the Archive of the Papers of Bertrand Simiane de Gordes

The collection of documents now housed at Chantilly arrived there by a series of fortuitous dynastic successions after the Simiane branch of the family died out on the death of Jacques II de Simiane in 1738. They are organised and classified in mostly chronological order and held in magnificent volumes bound in morocco leather. The work of classification was undertaken by Gustave Auguste Macon, personal secretary of Henri d’Orléans, the last duke d’Aumale. Macon was archivist at the château of Chantilly between 1883 and 1892, and then inaugural assitant curator of the Musée Condé in accordance with the express wishes of the will of the duc d’Orléans, a role that he occupied up to his death in 1930. His remarkable work of classification determines the material organisation of the current archive, a classification that we have been careful to preserve in the conspectus to this collection. 

Since this is an ongoing project, only those volumes whose transcriptions have been completed and verified are currently available for consultation. The rest of the material is indicated currently in grey. The homepage to the site provides details on the proposed date for further additions to the transcriptions and facsimiles.

The organisation of the transcriptions

Each transcription carried 12 headers :

  • volume number
  • folio number [with a note of following folios in the form: “2 folios – 000A, 000B [blanc], etc”]
  • note of other edited versions [when a document has already been edited elsewhere, it is noted here]
  • name of author/sender [it should be noted that these names have been regularised. Indications of the seigneurie (in the case of nobles) and offices (in the case of magistrates, bishops, etc.) have been added in order to assist in the identification of the persons concerned]
  • The name of the recipient [“M. de Gordes” in most instances]
  • ‘Given’ date [this is the date assigned by the document itself – or sometimes by the dates assigned to it by Gustave Macon. Where the date has not been determined this field is left blank]
  • ‘Real’ date [this field is reserved for the cases where we propose a date different from that offered by Gustave Macon or by the document itself, or where it is possible to suggest a date-range for the document in question]
  • Place emitted [place-names follow contemporary conventions. The geographical coordinates for places situated within the territory of present-day France have been established using <<Géoportail>> [], the national portal for the human geography of France provided by the Institut de Géographie National
  • Date received [Bertrand de Gordes was distinctive in regularly endorsing the correspondence he received with the date and place of their reception. The information from these endorsements is taken into account in this field and the two that follow]
  • Place received
  • Date of reply [sometimes, albeit irregularly, M. de Gordes notes the date of his reply, either precisely (day, month), or with the more general note: ‘Répondue’]
  • Notes [this field is reserved for noting other details about a document and especially: 1) its relationship with another, or other, document(s), 2) description/identification of a paper watermark, 3) the trace of a personal seal 4) other details about the sender and/or recipient as noted from the endorsement.

It should be noted that in its current iteration, these particular fields are not able to be searched specifically and independently from the rest of the database.


Rules for transcription

Online transcriptions of documents from this period being relatively new, the team of projet GORDES has opted for integral transcription in accordance with the following norms:

  • abbreviated words are silently expanded without italics or other indications
  • where words or phrases are crossed out it is indicated and, where possible, what has been crossed out is transcribed as well
  • line-breaks follow those in the original
  • punctuation is silently introduced
  • postscripts are transcribed after the signature
  • the existence of an apostrophe is indicated where it exists in the original, or where it allows the sense of the word to be apprehended
  • square brackets ([…]) are used to correct deficiencies (e.g. “pat[r]oulhe”) or in other particular circumstances, as for example in signatures (e.g. “C[apitain]e Mestral”)
  • Accents are silently introduced where it aids the sense of the document: acute accents at the end of past participles; grave accents on words ending in “ère”; in specific instances an accent or diaresis (“tréma”) is added to give sense to the word (as in “païs” for “pays”; “mès” for “mais”, “javès” for “j’avais”, “exprès”, “à”, ”dès que”, “assés” for “assez”, “après”, etc.
  • Capital letters are used for proper names, the names of places, as well as the words “Createur” and “Dieu”.

NB Since the transcribing team is far from infallible, projet GORDES welcomes the input from users of this site to indicate false or alternative readings of words or phrases, especially in those instances where they have been unable, despite their best endeavours, to transcribe what is written (this is particularly so for some of the postscripts in letters from M. de Simiane de La Coste, for example).

Search Engine

The majority of the documents in this archive are in French. There are, however, a few in Italian, a language which Gordes seems to have mastered, at least to the extent of being able to read it. Otherwise, there are a few phrases in Latin within letters penned by senior magistrates or clergy. 

That being said, it needs to be emphasised that French sixteenth-century orthography, grammar and syntax was highly unstable. In addition, some of Gordes’ correspondents betray signs of being literate to only a limited degree, displaying their own idiosyncratic usages of syntax, grammar and vocabulary. It is for this reason that, when one searches for a keyword, the search-engine returns possible orthographic variants of the term adjacent to that being searched for. In addition, the search engine defaults to its approximative search mode (“fuzzy-searching”) in order to capture as many orthographic variants as possible. If you wish to search for a precise text-string, it can readily be done by putting the keyword in double inverted commas.

A limited number of other more advanced search tools are available, in particular:

  • truncation. Put an asterisk (*) at the end of the stem of a word to enlarge the scope of the search to all variants of the stem (e.g. capit* will also return capitaine, capitainerie, capitoul, et.)
  • boolean operators. Based on set theory, the set being the result of a search using combinations of boolean operators. 
  1. the operator “ET” (i.e. ‘and’) allows one to find the common terms in a given set. So “ET” between two or several keywords allows one to identify specific information by the intersection of two or more keywords, thereby limited the number of responses/
  2. the operator “OU” (i.e. ‘or’) allows one to find the selected keywords belonging to two sets, either one of the other. The “OU” function allows one to search for synonyms or to include several different keywords in the same search.

Genealogical Tables of the Simiane Dynasty

It is worth indicating here the existence and utility to this collection of the genealogical tables of the Simiane, Pontevès and several other major families of the Comtat Venaissin, Dauphiné, and Provence, prepared by Jean Gallian on his site: <<Généalogie des grandes familles du Comtat Venaissin>>.