Reading Medieval Script: Three (not-so) Easy Steps!


By Jenny Weston

Medieval manuscripts are often beautiful to look at. With their strange letter-forms, their often gold-plated initials, and their aged parchment, they inevitably spark a sense of curiosity and awe.

They can also be complex and mystifying. Almost as soon as the eye has adjusted to the beauty of the page, it is met with a  jumbled terrain of mysterious letter shapes and unfamiliar symbols. The text is written in an abbreviated medieval script, and deciphering it may seem like a rather insurmountable hurdle for some modern readers.

Even the seasoned palaeographer who specializes in medieval script may hesitate for a moment when asked to read a passage from a manuscript—the task is definitely not without its challenges.

But fear not dear reader! By following these (not-so) quick and (not-so) easy steps, you too will find yourself blissfully flipping through a thousand-year-old book, soaking up ancient knowledge from…

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