Medieval Writing
Square Capitals

Alternative name : scriptura monumentalis

Script Type : majuscule

Date : Early Roman (1st century AD) in origin, used until around 6th century, revived in Carolingian era (9th century)

Location : Roman Empire

Function : Originally mainly for carved inscriptions but found rarely as a formal book hand; later found occasionally in manuscripts for display headings.

Roman inscription
This example shows a carved inscription located in the municipal museum in Dijon, France.
Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the photograph above.

Distinctive letters : M, N and A are all made of straight lines. U and V are identical, both angular. I and J are also identical, although there is no example of J here. There is also no K, Q, X, Y or Z in this example.

There are many abbreviations, which are indicated by dots between the words. Complete words run together continuously and gurgle over the ends of the lines.

The letters are easy for us to read as they are familiar forms from typefaces. The computer font used for the letter examples, Book Antiqua, is essentially the same in form apart from the rounded U. The inscription above is a little untidy as it has some small interpolated letters and some conjoined letters. Run the cursor slowly along the lines of text to find them and to pick up a few words which have been selected at random.

As we are not into epigraphy here, and this is just included for historic interest, there is no paleography exercise for this example.

Script Index
What is Paleography?

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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 19/8/2011.