Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Psalter, c.1500. From a private collection. Photographs © Dianne Tillotson.

This shows the recto and verso of a leaf from a psalter from Germany, from around 1500. The volume that it came from was clearly not an elaborate prestige edition, not was it, I suspect, a service book for reading aloud in church. The small size, compact and relatively informal script with numerous abbreviations, and crammed lines suggest that it was more likely a work for study and learning in private. The clergy were supposed to know their psalter by heart.

The only reading aids, on this page at least, are alternating simple red and blue penwork capitals at the beginning of each verse. The script is a Gothic textura, somewhat irregular and a little untidy, but quite legible. The page is a sturdy but smooth and white vellum which shows the ruling lines and pricking marks for laying out the text. You might just have to believe me on the last, as they are a bit hard to get to show up on a digital image. The script is perhaps a bit conservative, as by this date the French bâtarde and humanistic scripts had spread around Europe.

The language is Latin and the text is from Psalm 106 (107 in a modern Bible). There are two different Latin Vulgate versions of the Psalms found in common use.

This version of the Psalms can be found at the Vulgate (Latin Bible) Index website or the Douay-Rheims Latin Vulgate Bible site..

| overview | 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 29/6/2005.