|Old Roman Cursive|
Script Type : majuscule
Date : Early Roman, 1st century AD to around 4th century
Location : Roman Empire
Function : Document hand, especially for rapidly written business documents
|This example is a segment from a purchase agreement of AD 166. (British Library, Papyrus CCXXIX). (From Steffens 1929)|
|This example is written on papyrus in Old Roman Cursive script.|
Pass cursor over letters to see enlarged examples taken from the photograph above.
: The combination of the fact that all the letters are capitals, they
are cramped together to the point of overlapping, there are no word spaces
and the letters are rapidly executed makes this very difficult to read.
Most of the letters approximate to familiar forms, except that there is
no crossbar on A, B appears to be back to front, P is open at
the top and Q is lying on its back. The letters
are constructed from individual slashing strokes rather than a flowing,
continuous use of the pen, suggesting that this script was really more
at home on a wax tablet than on papyrus.
The segment shown, taken from the main body of the text, actually has the clearest lettering. The section at the bottom of the document where the various parties have signed the agreement is even more cramped and incomprehensible. At the bottom are two lines of Greek, not that you could tell.
As this was not a script in use in the medieval era it is included here for purely historic interest. As Dr Steffens has provided an excellent transcription, you can pass the cursor slowly along the first couple of lines just to get the general idea. After that you are on your own. Anyone who wants to study old Roman purchase agreements is welcome to them.
If you do really want to pursue this area of paleography, try the Vindolanda Tablets Online web site.
|What is Paleography?|
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