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School teaches about scripts and manuscripts, introducing learners to the sciences of paleography and codicology.

Under the Scripts and Manuscripts heading below, choose a manuscript culture and follow the development of scripts through the centuries. Lessons include simple exercises to help you grasp important concepts. Lessons on Latin Scripts do not necessarily require a knowledge of Latin.

Transcribing Manuscripts offers a chance to practice reading the scripts covered in the Scripts and Manuscripts lessons. Each transcription exercise includes an answer key. The lessons in Transcribing Latin or Syriac Manuscripts assume a knowledge of Latin or Syriac respectively.

Scripts and Manuscripts

Latin Scripts

Portion of manuscript showing  In principio, the beginning of the Gospel of John Basics
Basic terminology for the description of scripts and letters, and the physical features of the pages that carry them. Introduction to papyrus, parchment, and the codex.

Portion of manuscript showing  characters A L I E  Classical Antiquity
The majuscule and minuscule scripts used in the Roman world: Square Capitals, Rustic Capitals, Older Roman Cursive, and Later Roman Cursive.

Portion of manuscript showing  characters q-u-i-a Christian Late Antiquity
Uncial and Half-Uncial, the dominant scripts of Christian books in late antiquity. The transition from the roll to the codex. Introduction to the analysis of page layout.

Portion of manuscript showing characters e-r-g-o Insular Manuscripts
Uncial used in early-medieval England, Insular Half-Uncial used in Ireland and early Anglo-Saxon England, and the minuscule scripts of the British Isles. Insular developments in layout and word separation.

Portion of manuscript showing Carolingian letters r-u-p-e-r Carolingian Manuscripts
Caroline Minuscule, the reformed script of the Carolingian world from the late 8th through the 11th centuries. Hierarchy of scripts and other features of Carolingian page design.

Portion of manuscript in Gothic script showing characters q-u-i-d Gothic Textualis
The transition from Caroline Minuscule to Gothic Textualis script in the 12th century. Features of Textualis and of Gothic page design in the 12th to 15th centuries.

Portion of manuscripts showing  characters  in Visigothic and Beneventan Script Visigothic and Beneventan
The scripts of Spain and southern Italy in the central and high Middle Ages.

Portion of manuscript showing four characters in Gothic cursive script Gothic Cursiva
Cursive scripts of the later Middle Ages (13th-15th centuries).

Portion of manuscript in Humanist Minuscule script showing characters q-u-o-d Humanist
The reformed scripts of Italian humanists of the 15th century, Humanist Minuscule and Humanist Cursive. Features of Humanist page layout compared to Carolingian and Gothic page design.

Syriac Scripts

Arabic Scripts (coming soon)

Portion of manuscript showing Arabic script Lessons for Arabic scripts are currently being developed.

Armenian Scripts (coming soon)

Portion of manuscript showing Armenian script Lessons for Armenian scripts are currently being developed.

Gәʿәz Scripts (coming soon)

Portion of manuscript showing Gәʿәz script Lessons for Gәʿәz scripts are currently being developed.

Greek Scripts (coming soon)

We hope to add lessons for Greek scripts some time in 2017.

Transcribing Manuscripts

Transcribing Latin Manuscripts

Portion of manuscript showing  In principio, the beginning of the Gospel of John Basics
How and why to transcribe text from manuscripts. Overview of transcription conventions used in this course.

Portion of manuscript showing  characters A L I E  Classical Antiquity
Practice transcribing a manuscript in Square Capitals that has no separation between words.

Portion of manuscript showing characters q-u-i-a Christian Late Antiquity
Abbreviation by suspension of final syllables and nomina sacra abbreviations. Practice transcribing manuscripts in Uncial and Half-Uncial.

Portion of manuscript showing characters e-r-g-o Insular Scripts
Insular abbreviations. Practice transcribing Insular Half-Uncial and Irish Minuscule.

Portion of manuscript showing Carolingian letters r-u-p-e-r Caroline Minuscule
More uses of the common mark of abbreviation. P- and q-abbreviations. Practice transcribing Caroline Minuscule.

Portion of manuscript in Gothic script showing characters q-u-i-d Gothic Textualis
More forms of abbreviation by suspension; more p- and q-abbreviations. Coping with minim-confusion. Practice transcribing Textualis.

Portion of manuscript in Humanist Minuscule script showing characters q-u-o-d Humanist Minuscule
Practice transcribing Humanist Minuscule.

Transcribing Syriac Manuscripts