14th century

Mardin, Chaldean Cathedral, CCM 83, f. 38r, 1334 January 7

Ibn al-Ṭayyib, Gospel Commentary

The scribe of this manuscript uses a relatively casual script. The ductus is angled more downward (from right to left) than is typical for Naskh. Vowels and diacritics are only sparingly given. Even the dots for the letters are not always present, e.g. the yāʾ in yakūn of line 1. The lemmata (the Gospel text, in this case) are indicated by qāla with red overline, followed by the appropriate evangelist’s name, and the commentary is introduced by aqūl with red overline; other commentators are introduced like the Gospel is, as in line 8 (here al-mufassir, referring to Theodore of Mopsuestia, as also in the last line).

Mardin, Chaldean Cathedral, CCM 56, f. 188r, 1345

Acts of the Apostles

There is some variation in line thickness. Vowels and diacritics often indicated.

Note: the shape of the non-final hāʾ in waǧhihi (line 6), more compressed than usual. 

Mardin, Chaldean Cathedral, CCM 53, f. 9v, 13th/14th century

Gospel Lectionary, Syriac and Arabic parallel

The script here is relatively uniform in line thickness. Some vowels and diacritics are present, but not consistently. There are some four-dotted dividers (as often in Syriac manuscripts). The rubricated section title is in a different type of writing, but easily legible. The tear in the bottom half of the page (nine lines from bottom on the Arabic side) interferes slightly with legibility.

Mardin, Church of the Forty Martys, CFMM 251, f. 73v, 14th century (?)

Synaxarion, Rūm Orthodox

On this manuscript, see also https://hmmlorientalia.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/a-fine-arabic-synaxarion/.


This hand shows the clarity that a careful scribe could attain when the manuscript (and patron) merited it. There are occasional vowels and diacritics, and some variation in line-thickness; note that the pen used for the red ink shows more variation.

15th century

Mardin, Church of the Forty Martys, CFMM 311, f. 100r, 15th/16th century

Collection of Canons

The script is again relatively straightforward, but more casual than the previous example. The chapter numbers and titles are rubricated.

16th century

Jerusalem, Saint Mark's Monastery, SMMJ 262, f. 148v, 1524 September 12

Old Testament Lectionary

The script here was written with a rather thick-nibbed pen, with little distinction in line thickness.

Midyat, Dayro d-Mor Gabriel, MGMT 118, p. 73, 1533/34 September 17

Gospel Lectionary

This scribe’s hand has little variation in line thickness and is angular in some places. The writing is a bit shaky, but there are few surprises in the letterforms.

Mardin, Chaldean Cathedral, CCM 92, f. 15r, 16th/17th century

Gospels in the version of Asʿad ibn al-ʿAssāl (see f. 74r)

The writing here seems to come from a well-practiced scribe. It is fairly fully vocalized and otherwise marked with diacritics. There is some variation in line thickness; see e.g. ǧamīʿ in line 6. There are some smudges in the first few and the last few lines.


The two rubricated section titles are not consistent in terms of color; in the second one, the dots are black, while they are partly red, partly black (or missing) in the first.