Latin Visigothic and Beneventan: Transcription


Remember in Visigothic script


  • The a and u in this script, as in many of the early medieval minuscules, are very easy to mistake for one another. 

  • Remember that the letter g, which looks like a c with a very long tail. Like a c, it is open at the right. The form resembles the Uncial g in ductus.

  • T can join with preceding or following letters, and can take several different forms depending on the ligature. It is easy to mistake t for a or c or e, depending on context.

  • Scribes writing Visigothic use two forms of t-iligature: ti with an that stands on the line represents "hard" t + i, whereas tj, with an elongated, j-like i is used where the t is assibilated – where it has the sound "ts-". Visigothic also uses a tall (i-longa), which stands on the baseline and looks like it could be a lowercase lI-longa is used at the beginnings of words (unless anther tall letter immediately follows it) and also between vowels where it represents consonantal i (the ­"y" sound), as in eIus (eius).

Remember in Beneventan script

  • The Beneventan script is characterized above all by the broken minim, in which the letter part that in other scripts is the smallest vertical stroke is made of two lozenge-like diagonal strokes written with a broad pen held at an angle.

  • Remember that Beneventan shares several features with Visigothic: a tall e that joins in ligature with following letters; the i-longa that resembles a lower-case l; an r with a very pointy top; and a whose headstroke curves around to the left and resembles c.

  • In ligatures, the letters e, f, g, r, and t all have connecting strokes that reach out and join the following letter at minim-height.

  • Beneventan also uses a variety of ligatures with i in which the i is long and curvy like a j.

Exercise 1 - Visigothic

The British Library, Add. 11695, f. 194r.

Transcribe the first eleven lines of this manuscript.

Transcription Answer Key

1 Qui principes estis eius un hac ciuitate
2 singulorum officia singillatim
3 supra disseruit uel non audienda
4 hec in ea ultra disposuit;
5 Propter quam causam sic iudicetur
6 interserit in ea dixit sanguis pr(o)f(et)ar(um)
7 et s(an)c(t)or(um) inuentus est et omnium qui
8 interfecti sunt super terram;

Exercise 2 - Beneventan

The British Library, Add. 30337, fol. 8r


Transcribe the first ten lines of this manuscript.

Transcription Answer Key

1 Oramus te domine ut cereus iste in honorem nominis tui
2 consecratus. ad noctis huius caliginem destruendam
3 indeficiens perseueret. et in odorem suauitatis
4 supernis luminaribus misceatur .,.
5 Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inueniat. ille inquam
6 lucifer qui nesciat occasum. ille qui regressus ab inferis
7 humano generi serenus illuxit .,.
8 Precamur ergo te domine ut nos famulos tuos omnem
9 clerum et deuotissimum populum.´ Una cum beatissimo
10 papa nostro. .Et antistite nostro. .prȩsentis uitȩ