Script Type : minuscule
Date : 8th century
Location : France
|The example comes from a 8th century missal which had belonged to the abbey of Fleury (Vatican Library, Regin. 317, f.136v). (From Ehrle and Libaert 1932)
|Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the page illustrated above.
Certain letters are of unfamiliar form. For example, a is open at the top, resembling cc. The letter e has a loop at the top and a protruding tongue, while f has an extraneous curly loop on its back. The letter g tends to have the open zigzag form. The letter t is short and has a loop on its back.
Long s is actually quite short, if that makes sense. It has the form of a long s, but does not extend up very high. The letter r has an open form and extends below the baseline.
The letter i is not dotted, as usual in early scripts, and there is one example of an extended i, or perhaps j, in the word cuius. The letters u and v are not differentiated.
There are no examples of k, w, y or z.
As is usual with pre-Carolingian scripts, letter forms can be changed by the use of ligatures. Some examples are ar, as, con, em, en, et, tri and tu. The tendency in ligatures is for a to be elevated to superscript, co to be simplified into a single loop, e to become taller and squashed, t to develop an extra loop and become entangled with the next letter, and i to become a long tail that extends below the line. It all makes reading it an extra puzzle.
The letters generally have a wobbly, brokenbacked look. This example is similar in style to the example of Luxeuil minuscule shown on this website, but is rather messier. Luxeuil minuscule is a subset of Merovingian minuscule, which is a diverse category, referred to, at least in part, by some earlier writers as Lombardic or Franco-Lombardic.
But never mind the anomalies of script classification. Just try to read it. Pass the cursor slowly along the lines of text for a quick transcript. To examine it in more detail, proceed to the paleography exercise. While this is an absolute shocker to read, there are some interesting points to ponder.
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