This shows the top half of the recto of the page, showing verses 34 to 39 of the Psalm. The script is a Gothic textura, but not of the highest grade, with some unevenness in the letters and no formally constructed feet, just a sort of upward flick at the bottoms of the letters. The very short ascenders and descenders make this a kind of classic textura or textualis, these terms being derived from the similarity of the script to the appearance of a woven textile.
The Latin text also contains abbreviation marks and certain punctuation marks, these being in the form of a single dot, a double dot like a colon and a dot with a mark like a tick above it. On the orginal leaf, these tick marks, and the occasional thin diagonal slashes that serve as dots for i in words where the letters are confusing, look as if they have been added in a different, paler brown ink, but this may be an optical illusion. In a script in which the words disappear into a muddle of minims, it is easy to see why new scripts were developed for more rapidly written works, and also how abbreviations actually increase legibility. For example, in this script it is probably easier to resolve the word tuum when it is written as tuu with a horizontal slash than if it was written out in full. This example occurs in the third line from the bottom.
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Psalter or Breviary, 13th century. From a private collection. Photographs © Dianne Tillotson.

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Medieval Writing
Script sample for this example
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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 9/1/2010.