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Latin Palaeography - Early Book Hands
Two-day course held online, 9:00-16:00pm.

Dr Anna Somfai


The course provides training in the practical skills of reading and transcribing Latin book hands from different geographic areas and ranging from the 4th to the 12th centuries, covering the ancient and early medieval scripts and script systems. Sight reading (reading without preparation) of digitised manuscript folios will be combined with a discussion of the characteristics of hand, script, and abbreviations. The course provides a systematic overview of script development within the chronological framework and an explanation of abbreviation types. Practical guidance for dating and identifying hands will be provided along the way. The course proceeds chronologically throughout the two days starting with capitalis quadrata and ending with the transitional script. The readings (printed and online) provide background and details of script characteristics and script development. Basic Latin and elementary knowledge of palaeography is recommended. The course is online, real time, fully interactive and held via Zoom.


Essential Reading: 

Brown, Michelle P., A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600, London 1990 (repr. 1999).

Bischoff, Bernhard, Latin Palaeography. Antiquity & the Middle Ages, tr. D. Ó Cróinínin, D. Ganz, 1990 (Paläographie des römischen Altertums und des abendländischen Mittelalters, Berlin 1979, 19862).

Vatican Latin Palaeography website: https://spotlight.vatlib.it/latin-paleography/feature/1-some-important-premises.



Recommended Further Reading: 

Clemens, Raymond and Graham, Timothy, Introduction to Manuscript Studies, Ithaca and London 2007.