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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Paleography

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University of Toronto St. George
Christian Campbell

CLA260H1S Paleography July 16/12 • Palais = old • Graphein = to write • Paleography = the study of old writing • It is the study of handwritten documents • Deciphering of ancient writing (manuscripts) • Can be used to date scripts • Essentially the study of handwriting • Can traced evolution of handwriting (both individual scribe and general) • Writing styles and letter forms change over time and this can be used to date • Writing forms vary in terms of what is being written down (e.g. receipts vs manuscripts) • Legibility also depends on what is written • Book hands = laid out in a straight line, legible, for reading • Cursive scripts = informal type of writing • Minuscule = lower case • Majuscule = upper case • As book hands developed minuscule became more popular because you can fit more on page • Uncial = rounded letters, gave way to use of minuscule Half-uncial = some upper case, some lower case • • Hands differ geographically • 9th century development of Carolingian script • Under Charlemagne a unified script was developed for scholars - used from 9th - 13th century One consequence was that he commissioned copies of old manuscripts and then threw out the old • copies • Eventually developed into Gothic (black letter) script • Gothic spread throughout Europe from 12th century - 17th century and continued in Germany to 20th century 21st century Gothic - modern calligraphy derived from gothic/black letter • • Also study of abbreviations and short hands • Short hands - using symbol to replace word (i.e. & symbol) • Tironian notae - mid 1st century BC Seneca collected various notae from his time • • No ancient manuscripts that show tironian notae, but we do have later texts • Abbreviations - symbol that denotes some letters are missing • Often get contractions of words Come from hebrew tradition where holy names would not be written out • • E.g.Antrhopus = anons (with line over top) • Palimpsests = phenomena in manuscripts • Means “scraped off” • In Rome people would write on wax tablets, scrap off wax to reuse • Get later texts written on old manuscript tablets • Accidental preservation • Usually religious texts (christian) written on top • Used to use acid to take off new layer CLA260H1S Paleography July 16/12 • Archimedes palimpsests at Textual criticism • Process of editing texts for pub
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