L A T I N P A L A E O G R A P H Y
for Medieval and Early Modern European History
The purpose of this course is to introduce the basic elements of medieval Latin (and also vernacular) palaeography and manuscripts to enable a research student to work with primary sources in their ‘original’ form.
The course will comprise two elements:
· a chronological survey of the development of Latin handwriting in the Middle Ages, including a ‘week-by-week’ examination of the most important scripts (with an emphasis on those relevant to British history);
· an introduction to other aspects of medieval manuscript studies, such as illumination and codicology.
· Introduction: Some Basic Palaeographical Principles and Concepts
· Behind the Words: Abbreviations, Punctuation, and Numerals (plus a glance at ‘Record Type’)
· The Origins of Medieval Palaeography: Roman Scripts
· The Early Middle Ages: Insular and Continental ‘National’ Scripts
· Later Insular Devlopments: Late Anglo-Saxon and Medieval/Early Modern Irish Scripts
· Codicology: The Manuscript and its Makeup
· Caroline Minuscule
· Early/Proto-Gothic Scripts
· Gothic Textualis Scripts: ‘Black Letter’
· Manuscript Illumination (esp. illuminated capitals)
· Gothic Cursive Documentary Scripts: Anglicana Documentaria
· Gothic Cursive Book Scripts I: Anglicana Formata or Court Hand
· Gothic Cursive Book Scripts II: Secretary Hand
· Humanistic and Italic Scripts
· Arrighi, Ludovico degli, La Operina (1522): introduction to Italic script.
· Cappelli, Adriano, Lexicon Abbreviaturarum (Leipzig, 1928): scanned images of the German translation.
· Cours de paléographie: mostly (very) late medieval and early modern in scope.
· Dave Postle’s Palaeography Tutorial: a great interactive site.
· Ductus: demo version of commercial palaeography software.
· English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course: hosted by the Cambridge English Renaissance Electronic Service.
· Exercises in Latin Palaeography: English version of Italian web-site.
· Lindsay, W. M., Notae Latinae (Cambridge, 1915): scanned images can be downloaded in various formats, inc. pdf.
Medieval and Early Modern:
homepage for a course at
· Medieval Writing: excellent links section as well as palaeography exercises.
Old Handwriting 1500 – 1800: A
practical online tutorial from the National Archives,
· Paläographisches Lesetraining für lateinische Schriften des 5. – 20. Jahrhunderts: German site by Thomas Frenz, Universität Passau.
ScottishHandwriting.com: Early modern palaeography based on MSS from
· Steffens, Franz, Paléographie latine (Paris, 1910): pdf files of French translation of his Lateinische Paläographie.
· Vocabulaire codicologique: Explanations of terms used in codicology.
· Alexander, J. J. G., Medieval Illuminators and their Methods of Work (1992)
· Avrin, Leila, Scribes, Script and Books: The Book Arts from Antiquity to the Renaissance (1991)
Backhouse, Janet, The
· Barney, Stephen A., Annotation and its Texts (1991)
· Bately, Janet, Michelle Brown, and Jane Roberts (edd.), A Palaeographer's View. Selected Writings of Julian Brown (1993)
· Beal, Peter, and Terry Griffiths (edd.), English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700 (vols 1, 3-4)
· Bischoff, Bernhard, Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages (1990)
· ---, Manuscripts and Libraries in the Age of Charlemagne (1994)
· Boyle, Leonard E., Medieval Latin Palaeography: A Bibliographical Introduction (1984) – updated online here.
· Brown, Michelle P., A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (1990)
· ---, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms (1994)
· ---, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (1991)
· Brownrigg , Linda L. (ed.), Making the Medieval Book: Techniques of Production (1995)
· Dahl, Svend, History of the Book (1968), esp. chs. 2 and 3
· de Hamel, Christopher, Scribes and Illuminators (1992)
· ---, A History of Illuminated Manuscripts (1986/1994)
· Drogin, Marc, Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique (1980)
· Fairbank, A.J., and R. W. Hunt, Humanistic Script of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (1993)
· Gaur, Albertine, A History of Calligraphy (1994)
· Goldberg, Jonathan, Writing Matter from the Hands of the English Renaissance (1990)
· Gosden, David, Starting to Read Medieval Latin Manuscript. An Introduction for Students of Medieval History and Genealogy Who Wish to Venture into Latin Texts (1993)
· Guyotjeannin, Olivier, Jacques Pycke and Benoît-Michel Tock, Diplomatique médiévale (1993)
· Ison, Alf, A Secretary Hand ABC Book (1982)
· John, James A., ‘Latin Paleography’, in Medieval Studies: An Introduction, ed. by James M. Powell (1992), pp. 3-81
· Ker, N. R., Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries (1969)
· Korhammer, Michael (ed.), Words, Texts and Manuscripts: Studies in Anglo-Saxon Culture (1992)
· Lowe, E. A., Handwriting (1969)
Maniaci, Marilena, Terminologia
· Manion, Margaret M., and Bernard J. Muir (edd.), Medieval Texts and Images: Studies of Manuscripts from the Middle Ages (1991)
· Monks, Peter Rolfe, and D. R. Owen (edd.), Medieval Codicology, Iconography, Literature, and Translation: Studies for Keith Val Sinclair (1994)
· Munby, Lionel M., Reading Tudor and Stuart Handwriting (1988)
Parkes, M. B., Scribes, Scripts and Readers:
Studies in the Communication, Preservation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts
· Petti, Anthony G., English Literary Hands from Chaucer to Dryden (1977)
· Pulsiano, Phillip, and Elaine M. Treharne (eds.), Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and their Heritage (1998)
· Reynolds, L. D. and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (1991)
· Roberts, Colin H., and T. C. Skeat The Birth of the Codex (1983)
· Robinson, Andrew, The Story of Writing: with over 350 Illustrations, 50 in Color (1995)
· Robinson, P. R. and Rivkah Zim (eds.), Of the Making of Books: Medieval Manuscripts, their Scribes and Readers. Essays presented to M. B. Parkes (1997)
· Rouse, Mary A., Authentic Witnesses: Approaches to Medieval Texts and Manusripts (1991)
· Samaran, Charles, and Robert Marichal, Catalogue des manuscrits en écriture latine, textes et planches, vols II-VII (1962-84)
· Stiennon, Jacques, Paleographie du moyen âge (1991)
· ---, L'ecriture, Typologie des sources du Moyen Age occidental, 72 (1995)
· Thompson, Edward Maunde, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography (1912)
· Thoyts, E. E., How to Read Old Documents (1980)
· Ullman, Berthold Louis, Ancient Writing and its Influence (1969)