Medieval Writing
Later Curialis

Script Type : minuscule

Alternative name : littera Romana

Date : c. 11th century

Location : the papal curia in Rome

Function : document hand, specifically for use in papal bulls

This is a small grab from a bull or privilege of Pope Paschal II, of 1102 (Milan, Archvio di Stato). (From Steffens 1929)

It relates to the appointment of an abbot to the monastery of San Pietro in Cielo d'Oro in Pavia and displays all the elaborations of a formal papal privilege. The script is a late and modified form of curialis. The text here is not continuous as it is from the left side of the document, so don't expect it to make sense, just see if you can nut out the words.
Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the page illustrated above.

Distinctive letters : As with many script changes, curialis was not abruptly abandoned for the use of diplomatic minuscule. This is a transitional variant with a mixture of old letter froms from curialis and new ones related to Caroline minuscule.

Some of the tall letters like d, f and g have much more familiar forms related to Caroline minuscule. However, the script retains certain antique idiosyncrasies, such as the open a that looks like w, the e made from a single loop and the tall q that looks like a 2. The letters r and s still look very like each other, but both have developed an elongated descender. The letter t is still short with a looped bottom. The letters u and v, as usual, are identical. There are no examples in this segment of j, k, w, x, y or z.

There are numerous ligatures that change the forms of letters quite noticeably. There are some abbreviations, mostly indicated by a simple horizontal slash. Word spacing is much clearer than in the older example.

Pass the cursor slowly along the lines and see if you can untangle a few words. The transcription is from Steffens because I was totally lost. There is no paleography exercise for this example as yet, but I might do one when I feel I can handle it, or perhaps not. Does anyone out there really want to read this stuff?

Script Index

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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 30/8/2011.