DIPLOMATICSdiplomatics. The science of deciphering and authenticating ancient writings. ? The principles were largely developed by the Benedictine Dom Mabillon in his 1681 work entitled De re diplomatica.
¡ª Also termed diplomatic (n.).
¡°Diplomatics, the science derived from the study of ancient diplomas, so called from being written on two leaves, or on double tablets. The Romans used the term more specially for the letters of license to use the public conveyances provided at the different stations, and generally for public grants. Subsequently it attained a more extended signification, and in more modern times has been used as a general term for ancient imperial and ecclesiastical acts and grants, public treaties, deeds of conveyance, letters, wills, and similar instruments, drawn up in forms and marked with peculiarities varying with their dates and countries. With the revival of literature, the importance of such documents in verifying facts and establishing public and private rights led to their being brought together from the historical works and the monastic registers in which they had been copied, or, in rarer instances, from public and ecclesiastical archives where the originals were still preserved. Then arose questions of authenticity, and doubts of the so-called originals; disputants defended or condemned them; and, in order to establish principles for distinguishing the genuine from the forged, treatises were written on the whole subject of these diplomas.¡± 7 Encyclopaedia Britannica 220 (9th ed. 1907).