Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Responsiones of Pope Gregory from an 8th century codex of religious writings (Cologne Cathedral Library, MS XCI, f.57b). Images from The New Palaeographical Society, 1905, Plate 57.
This page is from a codex of assorted patristic writings, produced at the end of the 8th century in the Rhine region or perhaps Burgundy. This page represents the beginning of the Responsiones of Pope Gregory to St Augustine in England; a very important and much reproduced work. In this version, the text is described as very faulty and corrupt. The script is described as intermediate between Merovingian and Carolingian type, but there are many letter forms unfamiliar to those of us brought up on the descendants of Caroline minuscule, and many peculiar ligatures. The rubric headings are described as being in uncials. There are some enlarged coloured initial letters, but generally it is a plain vanilla text. This is an example indicating that the Carolingian reform of scripts did not suddenly happen overnight.
A translation of the text of this letter can be found in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, although the version in this manuscript is somewhat truncated at the beginning. If you want to look it up in some august patristic work, the full reference is Gregorius papa. Registrum Epistolarum lib. XI, indict.IV, ep. LXIV. The entire manuscript is illustrated on the Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis website, and high quality images of the page illustrated here can be found here, indicating that our image is not all that flash.

| overview | text | alphabet | abbreviations | exercises | transcript | translation |

Click on each of the above to walk your way through a segment of 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 22/4/2005.