Medieval Writing
Germanic Minuscule

Script Type : minuscule

Date : Late 8th century

Location : Germany

Function : book hand

Sample from annals of 791 from the abbey of Lorsch (Vatican Library, Palat. 966, f.53v). (From Ehrle and Libaert 1932)
Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the page illustrated above.

Distinctive letters : This script has been identified with the term Germanic minuscule and comes from the abbey of Lorsch. It is quite neat, and superficially resembles the later Caroline minuscule, until you look closely at some of the letter forms. The letter a, for example, is open at the top, while g appears in both the open and closed forms. Ascenders and descenders tend to be tall and relatively straight. Only the long s is used, but it is shorter than other tall letters, while t is short.

The letter d is tall and straight when it appears in text, but has the backsloping form when it is used in Roman numerals.

The letters u and v are identical.

There are no examples of j, w, y or z.

The real trick comes with the use of ligatures, which not only alter the appearance of letters but also seem to break up the word spacing in funny ways. These particularly involve the use of e as in ec or en or er or et or ex.

Pass the cursor slowly along a few lines of text to get a bit of an idea of it. To investigate it in greater detail, proceed to the paleography exercises.

Script Index

Paleography exercises using Flash

Requires at least the Flash 5 plugin

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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 24/8/2011.