The page begins with the number of the Psalm, 52, and a heading in rustic capitals. The first two words of the Psalm DIXIT INSIPIENS are in an elaborate and decorative heading script in which some of the letters are intertwined in the manner of a puzzle; a feature of high quality Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. The first D forms a historiated initial. Even in a colour reproduction it is diffucult to untangle these Anglo-Saxon puzzle headings, but it is necessary to remember that these were the texts that the clergy recited on a daily basis. They would have known the words off by heart. The distinctive initial and heading probably served more as an identifier and place marker than as a text which was required to be read.


Vespasian Psalter, 8th century (British Library, Cotton Vespasian A1 f.53r). All photographs by permission of the British Library. Reproduction of these images is permitted under Creative Commons licence.

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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.
Medieval Writing
Script sample page for uncial script in this example
Script sample page for insular minuscule script in this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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