Medieval Writing

The very broad presentation of the history of scripts given here does not do justice to the many detailed areas of handwriting history which can be teased out from the general trends. There are regional histories, histories of scripts used for specific purposes, and even histories of individual letters of the alphabet. Strangely enough, some letters of the alphabet, like o, have very boring histories and are always immediately recognisable while others, like a, have thrilling histories of changing form and idiosyncratic variation. I don't know why this is so, but if we work our way through them, perhaps we may get some inspiration on the subject.

While there are broad general trends of change in handwriting styles as they have occurred across western Europe, changing fashions within particular sectors, and interactions between them, reflect changing patterns of social history. Have patience as we gradually add to the sections here to build up a picture.

Histories of Individual Letters

Histories of Script Families

Histories of Scripts in Literate Institutions

Regional Histories

Histories of Headings and Capitals

Histories of Scripts for Specific Purposes

History of Scripts
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 27/7/2010.