Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
The Politics and Economics of Aristotle, from a 1451 copy of a Latin translation (from a private collection). Images from The New Palaeographical Society, 1907.

This segment of a page shows the explicit for the Economics of Aristotle, followed by the scribe's colophon. This work was translated into Latin by Leonardo Aretino for Cosimo de Medici, as detailed in the explicit for the Politics section and the incipit for the Economics section. This particular copy was made for Giovanni Amerino, doctor of civil and canon law and auditor, or ecclesiastical court judge, for Francesco Sforza-Visconti, Duke of Milan. In other words we are dealing with a prestigious volume produced for some of the most important and influential people in Italy at the time.

The choice of work exemplifies the interest in the revival of Classical works during the Renaissance in Italy. The script could be described as a humanistic display script which combines some features from the rotunda form of formal Gothic book hand used in Italy, a more rounded and less compressed form than that of France and other northern areas, with letter forms derived more directly from the revival of Caroline minuscule.
I have chosen this example rather than a segment from the core text because you can get yourself a copy of Aristotle at any good bookshop, but the scribe's colophon, here displayed in rubric, adds a little individual touch to the book. Also, I can't help but feel that this is a very Italian kind of Latin, with all those -issomos in it, so maybe there are some cultural characteristics showing themselves here. (I once had an Italian language tutor who would shout "Bravissimo!" or "Benissimo!" at any student who managed to utter even a semi-coherent sentence in Italian - very encouraging!)

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Click on each of the above to walk your way through the text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 4/6/2005.