1450 – 1499 French Batarde


A little over two years ago I shared with you a manuscript called Medieval and Renaissance 29 located at the Lilly Library in Bloomington, Indiana, USA.  In June I taught a class using this manuscript, on  how to look at a script and try to determine how it was written at the SCA‘s event Known Work Heraldic and Scribal Symposium just outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Today I am sharing with you the material I used for that class so that you may see a way to look at a latin alphabet script and then try to write it.  The latin alphabet is what this blog is written in.  If you are unfamiliar with how to analyze a script my blog post about a humanist hand and the follow-up may be of some help.

Something to keep in mind when analyzing a script.  You are analyzing that scribe’s hand of the script.  So it is that individual’s way of writing that particular script at that particular time.

Below please find the scans of the pages of the hand out that I used for the class.  I created this pages by opening up pictures I had taken of the manuscript with the free “paint” program.  I then cut out individual letters and pasted them onto a blank word document.  I did re-size the letter to be more uniform with the other letters and so that they would fit four to a line.  I took great care when re-sizing the letter to maintain the integrity of the ratios so that the letter would not become malformed in the process.

I find that this system of separating out the letters lets me analyze them in a clearer fashion.  When I take the pictures I try to have at least 10mpx resolution or higher.  So the picture makes the letters much larger than they were on the page.  When I look at the picture then I get an image that is very much like looking at everything in the picture through a very clear distortion free magnifying lens.  This lets me see much more detail than I would otherwise be able to do.

Please feel free to download or print out these pictures for your own person use.  For all other uses please contact me for copyright permissions.  As always please click on the picture to get a larger version of it.

Minuscule letters first.

a through d.

Minuscule a - d analyzed

Minuscule a – d analyzed

e – h

Minuscule e - h

Minuscule e – h

i through n with no letters j or k.

i - n notice the lack of j and k.

i – n notice the lack of j and k.

o through r.  Notice that the letter r has two forms.  A stand alone form and a ligatured r.

o through both forms of r

o through both forms of r

s – t

Tall s, short s and another s that seems malformed but showed up frequently enough that I included it.

Tall s, short s and another s that seems malformed but showed up frequently enough that I included it.

u – x

A note about the letter x.  I found it easiest to write this x simply by reversing the order of strokes one would use for the letter o.  Instead of writing ( and then ) for the letter o, simply write it ) and then ( for the letter x.

u - x no w

u – x no w

y and z. When I originally wrote this blog entry I was unconvinced that the z was a z as the script would have it.  There are abbreviations that use a mark very similar to z. I recently came across a period exemplar for the Latin alphabet that shows writing the letter “z” exactly this way.  It is wise to remain skeptical if there is reasonable doubt and to be ready to change your opinion when research properly warrants it.

y and maybe z

y and maybe z

Majuscules – Not every letter had a Majuscule version in the pictures i have of the manuscript.

Majuscule A - M letters missing

Majuscule A – M letters missing

N – T

Majuscule N - T

Majuscule N – T

I hope you found this interesting and useful.  A note.  I am in the process of moving.  I do not expect to put up another post until the month of September.  Please enjoy my blog posts in the meantime.

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