Palaeography


In Spain, after the Visigothic conquest, the Roman cursive gradually developed special characteristics. Some documents attributed to the 7th century display a transitional hand with straggling and rather uncouth forms. The book-hand became set at an early date. In the 8th century it appears as a sort of semi-cursive; the earliest example of certain date is ms lxxxix in the Capitular Library in Verona.

The Irish and Anglo-Saxon hands, which were not directly derived from the Roman minuscule cursive, will be discussed in a separate sub-section below. One by one, the national minuscule cursive hands were replaced by a set minuscule hand which has already been mentioned and its origins may now be traced from the beginning. The early cursive was the medium in which the minuscule forms were gradually evolved from the corresponding majuscule forms.

Minuscule writing was therefore cursive in its inception. As the minuscule letters made their appearance in the cursive writing of documents, they were adopted and given calligraphic form by the copyists of literary texts, so that the set minuscule alphabet was constituted gradually, letter by letter, following the development of the minuscule cursive. Just as some documents written in the early cursive show a mixture of majuscule and minuscule forms, so certain literary papyri of the 3rd century, [61] and inscriptions on stone of the 4th century [62] yield examples of a mixed set hand, with minuscule forms side by side with capital and uncial letters.

The number of minuscule forms increases steadily in texts written in the mixed hand, and especially in marginal notes, until by the end of the 5th century the majuscule forms have almost entirely disappeared in some manuscripts. This quasi-minuscule writing, known as the "half-uncial" [63] thus derives from a long line of mixed hands which, in a synoptic chart of Latin scripts , would appear close to the oldest librariae , and between them and the epistolaris cursive , from which its characteristic forms were successively derived.

It had a considerable influence on the continental scriptura libraria of the 7th and 8th centuries. The half-uncial hand was introduced in Ireland along with Latin culture in the 5th century by priests and laymen from Gaul , fleeing before the barbarian invasions.

It was adopted there to the exclusion of the cursive, and soon took on a distinct character. There are two well established classes of Irish writing as early as the 7th century: The latter developed out of the former. The most certain evidence, however, is provided by the system of abbreviations and by the combined square and cuneiform appearance of the minuscule at the height of its development.

Gradually, however, the Anglo-Saxon writing developed a distinct style, and even local types, [66] which were superseded after the Norman conquest by the Carolingian minuscule. Through St Columba and his followers, Irish writing spread to the continent, and manuscripts were written in the Irish hand in the monasteries of Bobbio Abbey and St Gall during the 7th and 8th centuries.

John points out that the disappearance of imperial authority around the end of the 5th century in most of the Latin-speaking half of the Roman Empire does not entail the disappearance of the Latin scripts, but rather introduced conditions that would allow the various provinces of the West gradually to drift apart in their writing habits, a process that began around the 7th century. Pope Gregory I Gregory the Great, d. Furthermore, he sent the Roman monk Augustine of Canterbury to Britain on a missionary journey, on which Augustine may have brought manuscripts. Although Italy's dominance as a centre of manuscript production began to decline, especially after the Gothic War — and the invasions by the Lombards , its manuscripts—and more important, the scripts in which they were written—were distributed across Europe.

From the 6th through the 8th centuries, a number of so-called 'national hands' were developed throughout the Latin-speaking areas of the former Roman Empire. By the late 6th century Irish scribes had begun transforming Roman scripts into Insular minuscule and majuscule scripts. A series of transformations, for book purposes, of the cursive documentary script that had grown out of the later Roman cursive would get under way in France by the mid-7th century. In Spain half-uncial and cursive would both be transformed into a new script, the Visigothic minuscule, no later than the early 8th century.

Beginning in the 8th century, as Charlemagne began to consolidate power over a large area of western Europe, scribes developed a minuscule script Caroline minuscule that effectively became the standard script for manuscripts from the 9th to the 11th centuries. The origin of this hand is much disputed. This is due to the confusion which prevailed before the Carolingian period in the libraria in France, Italy and Germany as a result of the competition between the cursive and the set hands.

In addition to the calligraphic uncial and half-uncial writings, which were imitative forms, little used and consequently without much vitality, and the minuscule cursive, which was the most natural hand, there were innumerable varieties of mixed writing derived from the influence of these hands on each other. In some, the uncial or half-uncial forms were preserved with little or no modification, but the influence of the cursive is shown by the freedom of the strokes; these are known as rustic, semi-cursive or cursive uncial or half-uncial hands.

Conversely, the cursive was sometimes affected, in varying degrees, by the set librariae ; the cursive of the epistolaris became a semi-cursive when adopted as a libraria. Nor is this all. Apart from these reciprocal influences affecting the movement of the hand across the page, there were morphological influences at work, letters being borrowed from one alphabet for another. This led to compromises of all softs and of infinite variety between the uncial and half-uncial and the cursive. It will readily be understood that the origin of the Carolingian minuscule, which must be sought in this tangle of pre-Carolingian hands, involves disagreement.

The new writing is admittedly much more closely related to the epistolaris than the primitive minuscule; this is shown by certain forms, such as the open a , which recall the cursive, by the joining of certain letters, and by the clubbing of the tall letters b d h l , which resulted from a cursive ductus. Most palaeographers agree in assigning the new hand the place shown in the following table: Controversy turns on the question whether the Carolingian minuscule is the primitive minuscule as modified by the influence of the cursive or a cursive based on the primitive minuscule.

Its place of origin is also uncertain: So far as Latin writing is concerned, it marks the dawn of modern times. In the 12th century, Carolingian minuscule underwent a change in its appearance and adopted bold and broken Gothic letter-forms. This style remained predominant, with some regional variants, until the 15th century, when the Renaissance humanistic scripts revived a version of Carolingian minuscule. It then spread from the Italian Renaissance all over Europe.

These humanistic scripts are the base for the antiqua and the handwriting forms in western and southern Europe. In Germany and Austria , the Kurrentschrift was rooted in the cursive handwriting of the later Middle Ages. After World War II , it was taught as an alternative script in some areas until the s; it is no longer taught.

Secretary hand is an informal business hand of the Renaissance. There are undeniable points of contact between architecture and palaeography, and in both it is possible to distinguish a Romanesque and a Gothic period [ citation needed ]. The creative effort which began in the post-Carolingian period culminated at the beginning of the 12th century in a calligraphy and an architecture which, though still somewhat awkward, showed unmistakable signs of power and experience, and at the end of that century and in the first half of the 13th both arts reached their climax and made their boldest flights.

The topography of later medieval writing is still being studied; national varieties can, of course, be' identified but the problem of distinguishing features becomes complicated as a result of the development of international relations, and the migration of clerks from one end of Europe to the other. During the later centuries of the Middle Ages the Gothic minuscule continued to improve within the restricted circle of de luxe editions and ceremonial documents.

In common use, it degenerated into a cursive which became more and more intricate, full of superfluous strokes and complicated by abbreviations. In the first quarter of the 15th century an innovation took place which exercised a decisive influence on the evolution of writing in Europe. The Italian humanists were struck by the eminent legibility of the manuscripts, written in the improved Carolingian minuscule of the 10th and 11th centuries, in which they discovered the works of ancient authors, and carefully imitated the old writing.

In Petrarch 's compact book hand, the wider leading and reduced compression and round curves are early manifestations of the reaction against the crabbed Gothic secretarial minuscule we know today as " blackletter "; Petrarch was one of the few medieval authors to have written at any length on the handwriting of his time; in his essay on the subject, La scrittura [73] he criticized the current scholastic hand, with its laboured strokes artificiosis litterarum tractibus and exuberant luxurians letter-forms amusing the eye from a distance, but fatiguing on closer exposure, as if written for other purpose than to be read.

For Petrarch the gothic hand violated three principles: The generator of the new style illustration was Poggio Bracciolini , a tireless pursuer of ancient manuscripts, who developed the new humanist script in the first decade of the 15th century. The Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci recalled later in the century that Poggio had been a very fine calligrapher of lettera antica and had transcribed texts to support himself—presumably, as Martin Davies points out— [77] before he went to Rome in to begin his career in the papal curia.

Berthold Ullman identifies the watershed moment in the development of the new humanistic hand as the youthful Poggio's transcription of Cicero 's Epistles to Atticus. The papal chancery adopted the new fashion for some purposes, and thus contributed to its diffusion throughout Christendom.

The printers played a still more significant part in establishing this form of writing by using it, from the year , as the basis for their types. The humanistic minuscule soon gave rise to a sloping cursive hand, known as the Italian, which was also taken up by printers in search of novelty and thus became the italic type. In consequence, the Italian hand became widely used, and in the 16th century began to compete with the Gothic cursive. In the 17th century, writing masters were divided between the two schools, and there was in addition a whole series of compromises. The Gothic characters gradually disappeared, except a few that survived in Germany.

The Italian became universally used, brought to perfection in more recent times by English calligraphers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Palaeogeography. This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this section to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. This subsection is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this subsection to prose, if appropriate. History of the Greek alphabet.

What does palaeography mean?

Pages from Codex Vaticanus left and Codex Marchalianus right. Linguistic history of the Indian subcontinent. History of the Latin alphabet. Retrieved 5 May Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World 2nd ed. Institute of Classical Studies. Archived from the original PDF on 16 February In Levy, Thomas; Higham, Thomas. The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating: Archaeology, Text and Science. Lindenberger Archived 29 October at the Wayback Machine. Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization, Oxford: Antiquity and the Middle Ages , trad. Part A "Codicology", pp. These texts will be referred to throughout the present article with relevant inline citations.

Bergk, Poetae lyrici graeci. Februar , Leipzig: Hinrichs , with content discussion. Strazzulla, Persiani di Eschilo ed il nomo di Timoteo ; S. Croiset in Revue des etudes grecques , xvi. Wilhelm Schubart, Griechische Palaeographie , C. Paoli, Collezione fiorentina di facsimili paleografici , Florence rist.

Schrift im alten Indien: On the Origin of the Early Indian Scripts". Journal of the American Oriental Society. Accessed 3 April ; "Indian Languages" , on ganguly. Accessed 3 April Theodor Mommsen , Fragmente zweier Kaiserrescripte in Jahrbuch des gemeinen deutschen Rechts , vi, ; Preisigke in Schriften der wissensch. Luigi Schiapparelli, Note paleografiche in Archivio storico italiano , lxxiv, p. Giuseppe Bonelli, Codice paleografico lombardo , Hoepli, ; Archivio paleografico italiano, cit. Michele Russi, Paleografia e diplomatica de' documenti delle Province napolitane , Naples, Clarendon Press, ; facsimiles in O.

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  • A Good House Is Never Done.

Viktor Novak, Scriptura Beneventana , Zagreb , Picard et fils, , pl. Ewald and Loewe, Exempla scripturae visigothicae , pl. Clark, Collectanea hispanica , 63, pp. Lindsay, Early Welsh Script , Oxford: John, "Latin Paleography", in J. Powell, Medieval Studies , 2nd. Syracuse University Press , , pp.

the history of 'the unruly sort of clowns' and other early modern peculiarities

Antiquity and the Middle Ages , trans. Cambridge University Press , , pp. Cencetti, "Postilla nuova a un problema paleografico vecchio: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, cit. Music and Medieval Manuscripts: Renaissance- und Humanistenhandschriften , Munich: Bischoff, Bernhard , Latin Palaeography: Even to the uninitiated, the digital surrogate of the physical document shown in Fig. Three levels of representation of a medieval document the specific example document was authored by Pope Pasquale III in and is held at the Archivio Segreto Vaticano, I, 1: A trained palaeographer interested in the diplomatic of this kind of papal documents would possess a more detailed knowledge of how the structure of this type of medieval document can be interpreted based on descriptions, models, and visual representations in the literature.

An example of such model of the document structure is the diagram on the right of Fig. The model in between the image and the diagram is neither only a resembling icon of the document nor only a structural representation, but integrates them both. It could be a digital model generated out of computational layout analysis bridging between the semantics as expressed in the image of the document form and the diagrammatic model of the charter structure.

Passing via all the levels of the semiotic model of handwriting shown in Fig. Ultimately, digital palaeography can be transformative by bridging the semantics of written artefacts with their materiality contextualized within specific historical periods, sociocultural environments, and places of production. By departing from a specific take on the use of the word digital to denote new approaches in paleography, my argument in this article has mainly been methodological in scope while making use also of historical and more extensively formal perspectives on what means and can mean for palaeography to be digital.

I summarized some projects rationales and self-narratives from onwards which claim a critical engagement with digital technology, informed by diverse modelling processes and a constructive discussion of the limitations of computational methods and languages. This enlarged vision for the field translates in approaches that place palaeography within a wider multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary framework, linking it with computer sciences but also with philology, linguistics, and human sciences at large, including anthropology and cognitive sciences.

My brief overview of practices put the emphasis on a self-reflective approach around the analysis of handwriting beyond strictly computational concerns, lining up with the emergent sense of what a digital approach to cultural artefacts entails. By testing ontological commitments, categories, classifications of handwriting, models are built and deflated.

The collision between creating and deflating models of handwriting or of the contexts where handwriting occurred leads to a productive paradox characteristic of digital humanities at large. What is, however, a distinctive feature of palaeography—and for that matter of other materially oriented disciplines like diplomatic, codicology and, moving to the print realm, typography and bibliography—is its focus on text as image, individual document, and material expression. By reflecting on this special take on texts, my argument moved to theorize a digital palaeography which builds mainly on the tradition of analytical palaeography while, at the same time, aiming to be transformative.

Indeed, when contextualized within an analysis of the border between form and meaning of handwritten sources, digital palaeography approaches can be used to connect the structure of expression of handwriting with structures of meaning. For a digital resource to be inspired by and to promote research based on the material and perceptual aspects of a cultural object, a high-quality graphical representation of the cultural object is essential but not sufficient. My formal and historically situated analysis makes digital palaeography emerge well positioned to represent the complexity of handwritten objects from an unfamiliar perspective, by departing from the structure of the expression of handwriting or text as shape.

Thirdly, it exploits the paradox of the digital in its practical and at the same time self-reflective approach to modelling, by creating and deflating models, by moving between the material and the conceptual facets of texts as objects. Last but not least, it develops methods which enhance the iconic representations of textual artefacts departing from the unfamiliar perspective of text as shape.

Free online palaeography resources

Following this analysis, digital paleographic methods—inclusive of image processing, image annotation and conceptual models blending morphology and semantics—are theorized as enhancers of iconic representations of textual artefacts. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.

About Brodie Waddell

Palaeography (UK) or paleography is the study of ancient and historical handwriting (that is to say, of the forms and processes of writing; not the textual content. Palaeography: reading old handwriting - A practical online tutorial. Palaeography is the study of old handwriting. This web tutorial will help you learn .

It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. Projects Rationales and Self-narratives. Creating and Deflating Models: Abstract Compared to the epistemic traditions digital palaeography builds on, how is it transformative?

View large Download slide. Part of the work presented in this article was conducted while the author was based at the Department of Humanities, University of Roehampton, UK until January In the first case, the brevity is due to the fact that a comprehensive terminological analysis would be both out of scope for this article and out of reach for the author to elaborate exhaustively on. On the other hand, the historical context, both with respect to the palaeographical debate on the remit and methods of the field as well as with respect to the recent evolution of digital palaeography, is amply discussed elsewhere by the author and others.

For this opposition discussed with respect to palaeography, see in particular Hassner et al. For a recent discussion on the first occurrence of the term digital humanities and its uptake in the first decade of , see Faulhaber See, for example, Virtual Vellum Modern and contemporary art has exploited this cultural conflict between reading practices that put emphasis on symbolic aspects of written text as opposite to the morphological and sensorial aspects of other artefacts. See for example the works of Information as Material Dworkin et.

But while being an MA student in the UK, I was also in the process of completing my PhD in Italy, where pressure was for sticking to the term computazionale computational to describe my approach. This might certainly be an anecdotal and idiosyncratic case; all the same it shows that this was a time where such terms were negotiated and, if not publicly debated, certainly source of methodological questioning at some level. While my PhD thesis in its entirety remains unpublished, its main outcomes were published in several articles in particular see Ciula, b , a,c, My thanks to Willard McCarty for recommending and providing access to this and the previous Italian references.

For a more specific discussion on iconic and in particular image-like models in a digital humanities context, see Ciula and Eide This is a competitive and prestigious scheme started under the European Union Seventh Framework Programme —13 to fund individual researchers at the early stages of their careers. What link can be established between direction of contour and slant?

What is the consequence of rotation invariance e. Local or global analysis? What is the signification of script types and how do they correlate between each other? See also the recently published final report http: For recent reflections on modelling intended in this way, see Ciula and Marras and Ciula and Eide , Beyond digital palaeography, this is a concern expressed repeatedly in the critique of digital humanities approaches in particular with respect to current trends in distant reading; see for example Eyers What the palaeographer Denis Muzerelle says with respect to the engagement with a digital palaeography project called Graphem funded by the French funder ANR from to A similar point with respect to computational modelling of literary novels was made recently by Piper , p.

While this model can be applied to handwriting and non-manuscript writing alike, the variety of grades of expressions as demarcated in handwriting tends to be more diverse because potentially traceable to the individual hand than, for instance, in printed documents or other non-individual means of production. On the characteristics of the relation between expression and content as dependent and indeterminate, see in particular Buzzetti , pp.

This relationship presents all the characteristics of an indeterminacy relation: So, if the meaning of a word depends on its rules of use Wittgenstein, , , and on its potential relationship to all other terms, it is quite clear that its specification remains open and potentially undetermined. In parallel, the same could be said of codicology which privileges the form and substance of the expression of the codex as primary interface to a text and not independent from its content. I am in debt to the rich conceptualizations on the digital representation of texts by Buzzetti distinguishing between the structure of the expression of texts and the structure of their content.

A Short Introduction to Palaeography

The height of the triangle on the other hand represents for McCloud grades of abstraction from the resemblance to a reference object at the bottom towards conceptual art at the top of the triangle, where an image form of expression and its meaning form of the content are but one thing.

Pierazzo , in particular see post of the 1st of August; Pierazzo, , p. Visualizations of dynamic editions Buzzetti and Rehbein, integrating textual expression form or structure of the expression and semantic model form or structure of the content could also exemplify this connection.

The ORIFLAMMS project mentioned in Notes 15 and 16 above aims to provide interfaces that bridge forms and signs at the level of granular as well as layout features of a wide corpus of medieval scripts; a further project which is attempting to reveal visually the deep connections between the palaeography of specific texts handwriting styles of Scottish charters in this case with the textual content the representation of authority is Models of Authority —17; see Stokes et al.

The original Italian version reads as following: The Making of the Humanities , vol. Circling around texts and language: Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis. Communications of the ACM , New positivisms and the fate of literary theory. Getting there from here. Styles of handwriting have been influenced by the challenges of writing with pen and ink.

The way the shape of the letters flow results from the shape of the quill or nib. The downstrokes were usually heavy, with the upstrokes lighter as the pen pushed against the paper, rather than scratched into it. So, palaeography is not a theory. It is a skill which will improve with practice. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

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