originally a term to designate the small waxed boards fastened together to form books that were used for record keeping in ancient Greece and Rome. The term polypticus was used in medieval Europe (particularly in the early Middle Ages) to designate a survey of monastic holdings, which consisted of a description of land area, agricultural lands and buildings, as well as a list of dependent peasants’ tenures in which peasants were listed by name, and their obligatory service was described. The most extensive and well-known polypticus is the polypticus of Abbot Irmino of the Abbey of Saint Germain des Prés (near Paris), which was composed between the years 811 and 826.
The term polypticus is also used to designate a donation book (Latin, libri traditionurri), which was a survey of lands donated or willed to monasteries. The polypticus corresponds to the manorial extent in England and to the pistsovaia kniga (cadastre) in Russia. Polypticha are important sources for the study of agrarian structures and socioeconomic relations in medieval Europe.