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.

Exercise 2 - Beneventan

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


Transcribe the first ten lines of this manuscript.