Fragmented Beauty: European Scripts
Prayers for the ninth hour
Leaf from a 15th-century Book of Hours
Manuscript on parchment, fragment, 19.3 x 13 cm
Arca Artium Collection, Arca Frag. 51 (aap2295)
While the light appearance of this page would seem to point toward humanist page layout, the script itself is actually a late French Gothic (note the “r” that looks like a “z” in “mortem,” the multiple forms of the letters “s” and “f” and the elaborate “v”). The text contains prayers for Nones (or afternoon prayer) from a Book of Hours.
Leaf from a 12th-century Martyrology, from Central Italy
Manuscript on parchment, binding fragment, 43.5 x 29.3 cm
Saint John’s Rare Books, Ms. Frag. 15
This Latin martyrology is written in a 12th-century Caroline minuscule, with very legible letter forms. Nevertheless, the wide use of abbreviations can still make the text a challenge to read. The fragment contains legends about Saints Alexander, Eventius and Theodolus. The re-use of this leaf in a book binding damaged the ink and also resulted in the loss of a few lines of the text.
Unidentified Latin text with a large number of abbreviations
Manuscript on parchment, fragment, 27.6 x 19 cm
Saint John’s Rare Books, Ms. Frag. 8
This fragment has not yet been studied and contains an unidentified Latin text. According to a note in the HMML files, this might come from a Latin Bible, but it could also be from a scholastic text. Such heavy use of abbreviations makes the contents difficult for paleographers to verify. This piece probably came from the Abbey of Saint Matthias in Trier, Germany, where HMML microfilmed manuscripts in the early 1980’s.