Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
St Augustine's De Civitate Dei, copy from before 1485 from Italy, probably Naples (British Library, 15246, f.29). Images from The New Palaeographical Society, 1911.
This highly decorative page has a most intricate and elaborate border, decorative headings and a historiated initial. The page shown in the first page of the main text of the work. The decoration, the elegant humanistic script and the choice of work exemplify a prestigious Renaissance production. It's a pity we cannot see it in colour, but that's what happens when you are stuck with getting your illustrations from out-of-copyright journals.
The work itself, written in Africa in the twilight of the Roman Empire, reflects the uncertainties of life with the pagan barbarians kicking down the doors of the earthly city of Rome, while pondering the eternity of the city of God. It was a hardy perennial for manuscript production throughout the middle ages. No doubt some scholar with a head for numbers can tell us how many manuscript copies of the work survive.

The translation of this work is taken from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, which reproduces Christian material from out of copyright or public domain editions. This explains why the language of the translation may seem a little archaic.

| overview | images | text | alphabet | abbreviations | exercises | transcript | translation |

Click on each of the above to walk your way through the text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 6/6/2005.