Week 6 - Palæography

In class this week we will discuss medieval scripts, how they developed and some ideas about why they developed the way they did. The key idea to take away is that the standardized scripts that come to be used for books (also called bookhands) have a history and this history is useful for both understanding the history of communication, but also for dating manuscripts (because scripts go in and out of fashion).

In class, we will spend an hour or so trying to reproduce medieval scripts with modern writing instruments.

At home, after class you have two tasks:

First, navigate to the Ad fontes website and attempt to transcribe this fourteenth-century document written in gothica textualis. Unlike your folio, if you click the "show transcription" box at the bottom of the page, whenever you hover the cursor over the word you are deciphering, it will show you the answer (I suggest this as a first stage to lessen the initial frustration of decipering and unpacking medieval writing).

The next stage will be attempting to transcribe your document in a text file after you have installed a medieval unicode font. To do so, go to the next step.