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Paleography , also spelled palaeography , study of ancient and medieval handwriting. Precise boundaries for paleography are hard to define. For example, epigraphy , the study of inscriptions cut on immovable objects for permanent public inspection, is related to paleography. Casual graffiti , sale or election notices as found on the walls of Pompeii , and Christian inscriptions in the Roman catacombs are likewise part of paleographical knowledge. In general, however, paleography embraces writing found principally on papyrus, parchment vellum , and paper. Today, paleography is regarded as relating to Greek and Latin scripts with their derivatives, thus, as a rule, excluding Egyptian, Hebrew, and Middle and Far Eastern scripts. It is closely linked with diplomatic , the study of forms in which official and private documents are drawn up.

Bodmer II with that of P. Cairo Isid.

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However, at what point do differences in letter formation become too great for adequate comparison? For example, the deltas of P. This is quite different than the deltas of P. Bodmer II which are much more looped and flattened, with only the right hand oblique extending to the left.

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There are marked differences in the other letter forms as well. For example, in P. Bodmer II curve upward. There are differences in the alphas as well. With P.

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Bodmer II and the phi of P. Then there is the near absence of serifs in both P. When compared to P. Bodmer II. I understand that a blogpost is not the ideal place for a discussion such as this, so feel free not to respond. Thanks again for your excellent post! In a "stylistic class" the differences in structure of some letters are common, because the graphic phenomenon has not been "normalized" according to a scheme as it happens in a "canon" or "normative majuscule".

The differences observed by you are part of this variability of a "stylistic class". The elements of the style for example round shapes with loops, oblique and horizontal strokes prolonged, some letters written in a single sequence prevail over the structure of the individual letters.

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This is a topic too complex to be treated in a short answer on a blog. This problem is at the base of the "comparison" process. When someone says that scripts belonging to different styles can be compared for the purposes of datingI think it is a mistake: comparison is possible if there are elements of style, some structures and forms in common.

Otherwise what do we compare? This is very insightful, Pasquale. Will you address these issues more fully in your forthcoming monograph? Although my book is the re-publication of previous works, I wanted to write an introduction to discuss a series of open problems, like this one. Thank you very much for your response, it is helpful. I understand, once again that a blog post is not the best place for a discussion of this detail, so I appreciate your reply.

Blessings to you in your work. Pasquale Orsini, Does this mean that for you is more the centre of a date range than the full possible date range itself?

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For this ancient phase of Biblical majuscule we have a witness with a chronological element: P. IITM The text on the recto was written before the letter on the verso: I think that, for caution, we can assume the first half of the third century as a possible date of P.

The main reason for my dating end of the second century is this. Jean Mabillona French Benedictine monk, scholar and antiquarywhose work De re diplomatica was published inis widely regarded as the founder of the twin disciplines of palaeography and diplomatics. However, the actual term "palaeography" was coined in Latin by Bernard de Montfaucona Benedictine monkin the title of his Palaeographia Graecawhich remained a standard work in the specific field of Greek palaeography for more than a century.

In the 20th century, the 'New French School' of palaeographers, especially Jean Mallongave a new direction to the study of scripts by stressing the importance of ductus the shape and order of the strokes used to compose letters in studying the historical development of scripts.

The Latin alphabet first appears in the epigraphic type of majuscule writing, known as capitals. These characters form the main stem from which developed all the branches of Latin writing.

Side by side with upright and square characters are angular and sloping forms, sometimes very distorted, which seem to indicate the existence of an early cursive writing from which they would have been borrowed.

Certain literary texts clearly allude to such a hand. Epigraphists divide the numerous inscriptions of this period into two quite distinct classes: titulior formal inscriptions engraved on stone in elegant and regular capitals, and actaor legal texts, documents, etc.

Palaeography inherits both these types. Reproduced by scribes on papyrus or parchment, the elegant characters of the inscriptions become the square capitals of the manuscripts, and the actuariaas the writing of the acta is called, becomes the rustic capital.

Their dates are still uncertain, in spite of attempts to determine them by minute observation. The rustic capitals, more practical than the square forms, soon came into general use. This was the standard form of writing, so far as books are concerned, until the 5th century, when it was replaced by a new type, the uncial, which is discussed below.

While the set book-hand, in square or rustic capitals, was used for the copying of books, the writing of everyday life, letters and documents of all kinds, was in a cursive form, the oldest examples of which are provided by the graffiti on walls at Pompeii CILiva series of waxen tablets, also discovered at Pompeii CILiv, supplementa similar series found at Verespatak in Transylvania CILiii and a number of papyri. By the 1st century, this kind of writing began to develop the principal characteristics of two new types: the uncial and the minuscule cursive.

With the coming into use of writing surfaces which were smooth, or offered little resistance, the unhampered haste of the writer altered the shape, size and position of the letters.

Jun 09,   My friend Larry Hurtado has now reported on the findings, and basically it shows that paleographic dating of manuscripts is in sync with the carbon 14 dating Author: Ben Witherington. Aug 28,   When paleographic dating is understood as making probabilistic statements rather than absolute-looking date ranges, this better highlights the possibility of a productive synthesis between traditional paleographic methods and other indicators of date (especially radiocarbon dating), which is quickly and rightly becoming common practice for dating ancient manuscripts. Paleographic Dating, capricorn man dating capricorn woman, dating a person with the same birthday, 45 best speed dating questions. Un service de rencontre. 78 ans. 63 ans. 57 ans. Jouars-pontchartrain, Yvelines, Ile-de-France/

In the earliest specimens of writing on wax, plaster or papyrus, there appears a tendency to represent several straight strokes by a single curve. The cursive writing thus foreshadows the specifically uncial forms. In this direction, the cursive tends to become a minuscule hand. Although the characteristic forms of the uncial type appear to have their origin in the early cursive, [39] the two hands are nevertheless quite distinct. The uncial is a librariaclosely related to the capital writing, from which it differs only in the rounding off of the angles of certain letters, principally.

It represents a compromise between the beauty and legibility of the capitals and the rapidity of the cursive, and is clearly an artificial product. It was certainly in existence by the latter part of the 4th century, for a number of manuscripts of that date are written in perfect uncial hands Exemplapl.

It presently supplanted the capitals and appears in numerous manuscripts which have survived from the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries, when it was at its height. It remained noticeably uniform over a long period.

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It is difficult therefore to date the manuscripts by palaeographical criteria alone. The most that can be done is to classify them by centuries, on the strength of tenuous data. In the ancient cursive writing, from the 1st century onward, there are symptoms of transformation in the form of certain letters, the shape and proportions of which correspond more closely to the definition of minuscule writing than to that of majuscule. Rare and irregular at first, they gradually become more numerous and more constant and by degrees supplant the majuscule forms, so that in the history of the Roman cursive there is no precise boundary between the majuscule and minuscule periods.

The oldest example of minuscule cursive writing that has been discovered is a letter on papyrus, found in Egypt, dating from the 4th century.

The ensuing succession of documents [44] show a continuous improvement in this form of writing, characterised by the boldness of the strokes and by the elimination of the last lingering majuscule forms. The Ravenna deeds of the 5th and 6th centuries [45] exhibit this hand at its perfection. At this period, the minuscule cursive made its appearance as a book han first as marginal notes, and later for the complete books themselves. The only difference between the book-hand and that used for documents is that the principal strokes are shorter and the characters thicker.

This form of the hand is usually called semi-cursive. The fall of the Empire and the establishment of the barbarians within its former boundaries did not interrupt the use of the Roman minuscule cursive hand, which was adopted by the newcomers.

But for gaps of over a century in the chronological series of documents which have been preserved, it would be possible to follow the evolution of the Roman cursive into the so-called "national hands", forms of minuscule writing which flourished after the barbarian invasions in ItalyFranceSpainEngland and Irelan and which are still known as LombardicMerovingianVisigothicAnglo-Saxon and Irish.

These names came into use at a time when the various national hands were believed to have been invented by the peoples who used them, but their connotation is merely geographical. Nevertheless, in spite of a close resemblance which betrays their common origin, these hands are specifically different, perhaps because the Roman cursive was developed by each nation in accordance with its artistic tradition.

In Italy, after the close of the Roman and Byzantine periods, the writing is known as Lombardica generic term which comprises several local varieties.

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These may be classified under four principal types: two for the scriptura epistolaristhe old Italian cursive and the papal chancery han or littera romanaand two for the librariathe old Italian book-hand and Lombardic in the narrow sense, sometimes known as Beneventana on account of the fact that it flourished in the principality of Benevento.

The oldest preserved documents written in the old Italian cursive show all the essential characteristics of the Roman cursive of the 6th century.

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In southern Italy, it persisted far on into the later Middle Ages. It is formal in appearance at first, but is gradually simplified, under the influence of the Carolingian minusculewhich finally prevailed in the bulls of Honorius II - The notaries public in Rome continued to use the papal chancery hand until the beginning of the 13th century. The old Italian book-hand is simply a semi-cursive of the type already described as in use in the 6th century.

The principal examples are derived from scriptoria in northern Italy, where it was displaced by the Carolingian minuscule during the 9th century. In southern Italy, this hand persisted, developing into a calligraphic form of writing, and in the 10th century took on a very artistic angular appearance.

The offshoot of the Roman cursive which developed in Gaul under the first dynasty of kings is called Merovingian writing. It is represented by thirty-eight royal diplomas, [51] a number of private charters [52] and the authenticating documents of relics.

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Though less than a century intervenes between the Ravenna cursive and the oldest extant Merovingian document A there is a great difference in appearance between the two writings.

The facile flow of the former is replaced by a cramped style, in which the natural slope to the right gives way to an upright hand, and the letters, instead of being fully outlined, are compressed to such an extent that they modify the shape of other letters. Copyists of books used a cursive similar to that found in documents, except that the strokes are thicker, the forms more regular, and the heads and tails shorter. The two principal centres of this reform were Luxeuil and Corbie.

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 scriptswould appear close to the oldest librariaeand between them and the epistolaris cursivefrom which its characteristic forms were successively derived.

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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 Gaulfleeing 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: a large round half-uncial hand, in which certain majuscule forms frequently appear, and a pointed hand, which becomes more cursive and more genuinely minuscule. 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.

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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.

James J. 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 Lombardsits 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.

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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 awhich recall the cursive, by the joining of certain letters, and by the clubbing of the tall letters b d h lwhich resulted from a cursive ductus.

Most palaeographers agree in assigning the new hand the place shown in the following table: [27]. 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: Rome, the Palatine school, ToursReimsMetzSaint-Denis and Corbie have been suggested, but no agreement has been reached.

So far as Latin writing is concerned, it marks the dawn of modern times.

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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.

As is well known, the first editor of p46 F.G. Kenyon abandoned his former dating perhaps owing to statements by U. Wilcken(2) and then assigned the papyrus to a date not later than the first half of the third century(3). This dating(4) has since been accepted without reference to dated parallel papyri from the third or second centuries. radiocarbon ages agree well, except in one case, with the paleographic estimates or the specific dates noted on the scrolls. INTRODUCTION The first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered accidentally by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave near Khirbet Qumran in In that cave alone, approximately texts written in Hebrew and. Palaeographic estimates of the date of II, the well preserved Greek papyrus codex of the Gospel of John, have ranged from the early second century to the first half of the third century. There are, however, equally convincing palaeographic.

These humanistic scripts are the base for the antiqua and the handwriting forms in western and southern Europe. In Germany and Austriathe Kurrentschrift was rooted in the cursive handwriting of the later Middle Ages. After World War IIit 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: writing, he said, should be simple castigataclear clara and orthographically correct.

A more thorough reform of handwriting than the Petrarchan compromise was in the offing. The generator of the new style illustration was Poggio Bracciolinia 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.

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By the time the Medici library was catalogued inalmost half the manuscripts were noted as in the lettera antica. The papal chancery adopted the new fashion for some purposes, and thus contributed to its diffusion throughout Christendom.

But a few scholars say that considering the difficulty of fixing the date of a fragment based solely on paleographic evidence allows the possibility of dates outside these range estimates, such that "any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries.". Brent Nongbri, in a more articulated work ('The Limits of Palaeographic Dating of Literary Papyri: Some Observations on the Date and Provenance of P. Bodmer II (P66)', Museum Helveticum 71 , ), reviews the various proposals of dating, analyzing the comparisons with manuscripts dated on basis of paleographic method. He does not find these comparisons satisfactory and suggests three new Author: Peter Malik. The primary task of the paleographer is to read the writings of the past correctly and to assign a date and place of origin. Close acquaintance with the language of the text is a prerequisite. Help in dating is offered by changes in styles of handwriting and variations from area to area. Abbreviations in texts likewise help in dating and localization.

The printers played a still more significant part in establishing this form of writing by using it, from the yearas 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.

Study of ancient handwriting. Not to be confused with Palaeogeography. This section is in list format, but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this sectionif appropriate. Editing help is available. May Main article: History of writing. By the time of Christ, a new form of book was coming into fashion, the codexor book in the shape in which it is known today.

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The codex is almost always of parchment, since papyrus cracks when folded. The codex seems first to have been used for notebooks or account books, the conservatism of booksellers and readers ensuring the survival of the roll for centuries. The Christians popularized the codex, using it for the Gospels. Various instruments have been used for writing. The early Egyptians used a slender rush.

From about bc the thicker reed pen was used. The reed was in general use in the Greco-Roman world. Metal pens, copied from the reed, were also employed.

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For wax tablets a stylus was used, made of wood, bone, ivory, iron, or bronze. In many northern European areas, where reeds suitable for writing purposes are not indigenousthe feather penna became the main writing instrument. It was usually stripped of its vanes and the quill alone used. Lea used in classical times for ruling guidelines in manuscripts, was used extensively in the Middle Ages for rough notes and annotations in the margins of books.

Ink has been prepared in a variety of ways. In classical times the black discharge of cuttlefish was used, as well as concoctions of soot and gum. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents.

Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction Types of writing materials Analysis of texts Styles of writing Abbreviations Dating Textual corruptions Decorations and forgery. William G. Edmund Hall, Oxford, - See Article History.

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