Arabic Scripts: 11th-13th centuries

Example 2

Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Sin. ar. 312, f. 19v, 11th century (?)

Homilies of Ephrem

This two-column manuscript with a very clear Naskh shows how early a seemingly standardized form of presentation had developed. The dots to distinguish letters are clear. There are a few vowels and extra diacritical marks. The lām-alif is a bit more rounded on the bottom than the earlier type with its sharp angles, but in general no letter shape or combination of letters is surprising. The lines are straight, both word-internally and line-internally. Only the kāf (e.g. col. a, line 5) evokes a memory of the earlier angular shape of writing.

Example 3

Diyarbakir, Meryem Ana Kilisesi, DIYR 133, fol. 303v, 1239 CE

Praxapostolos. Rum Orthodox

This two-column manuscript with a very clear Naskh shows how early a seemingly standardized form of presentation had developed. The dots to distinguish letters are clear. There are a few vowels and extra diacritical marks. The lām-alif is a bit more rounded on the bottom than the earlier type with its sharp angles, but in general no letter shape or combination of letters is surprising. The lines are straight, both word-internally and line-internally. Only the kāf (e.g. col. a, line 5) evokes a memory of the earlier angular shape of writing.

Example 4

Mardin, Church of the Forty Martyrs, CFMM 346, fol. 182r, 1266 October 23 CE

Homily by Theodore the Studite

The script here shows very little difference in thickness. Fading and water damage, commonly found, makes some of it not readily legible.

Example 5

Mardin, Church of the Forty Martyrs, CFMM 389, fol. 108r, 1294 CE

Extracts from the Fathers on Various Theological Themes

Vowels and šadda are occasionally indicated. The letter-positions vary a bit in relation to the line, as in al-sayyid yasūʿ (line 6), fa-l-sayyid al-masīḥ (line 8), and ʿišrīn (3 lines from bottom). There is no word division in mart maryam in lines 4 and 5.

Example 6

Jerusalem, Saint Mark's Monastery, SMMJ 261, fol. 61v, 13th century CE

Gospels

Vowels and diacritics (šadda, sukūn) are often indicated. The script is generally crisp and clear.

Example 1

Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Sin. ar. 32, f. 2r, 11th century (?)

Psalter and Odes

The script here is a relatively straightforward Naskh, but word and the line are often not absolutely horizontal. In general, the sharp angularity that characterized most of the examples in the previous section is gone.