The Beneventan bookhand derives most of its features from half-uncial, but some characteristics are heirs to late Roman cursive. It develloped in Southern Italyaround the middle of the 8th century and lasted for more than half a millennium; locally it survived even until the 16th century. As a script that predominated in Italy, however, it yielded generally to the Gothic littera textualis by the 13th century.
The name ‘Beneventan’ comes from the medieval duchy of Benevento in Southern Italy, with the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino as its cultural center. Most specimina of Beneventan script nowadays extant in Dutch libraries are written in this monastery. They all date from the 11th or early 12th century.
Virginia Brown. Terra Sancti Benedicti. Studies in the palaeography, history and liturgy of medieval Southern Italy. Roma, 2005.
decem et septem. Ab altero
trecentos uiginti et tres.
Ab alio ducentos. Ab alio
uero trecentos. xxxvii
Septimo huius abbatis
anno ceperunt nor
manni melo duce
Qualiter autem uel qua occasi
one normanni ad istas
By the 7th century common minuscule scripts in Ireland had developped a state mature enough to be used for luxurious codices. At the same time a majuscule form, going back to the uncial script introduced in England in the 6th century, spread over Britain. Both scripts account for a seperate writing phenomenon known as Insular script. Some of the masterpieces of medieval book production have been written in these bookhands. The highlight of Insular script fell between the 7th and the mid-9th century, altough it was practised up to the 19th century locally.
The long-argued difference between Latin script written in Ireland and Anglo-Saxon script is of little importance for the few manuscripts written in Insular script that rest in Dutch collections. On the other hand, the insular influence on the continent is not to be underestimated. For instance, one of the preserved books has been localised with some probabillity in an Irish enclave in France.
W.M. Lindsay. Early Irish minuscule script. Oxford 1910.
Wolfgang Keller. Angelsächsische Palaeographie. Die Schrift der Angelsachsen mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Denkmäler in der Volkssprache. 2 vol., Berlin, 1906-1922.
Janet Bately, Michelle P. Brown and Jane Roberts. A palaeographer's view. The selected writings of Julian Brown. London, 1993.
acrocerauniis incipit montibus
finitur helisponto amplectitur
praeter minores simus ∙xix∙xxu∙
passuum in eo epirosa acarnania ae
tolia phocis locris acaia messenia
laconica argolicis megaris attice boetia
iterum que ab alio mari eadem phoris
et locris doris phietis thesalia mag
nesia macedonia thracia omnis greciae
fabulositas. sicut et litterarum clari
tas ex hoc primum sinu effulsit, qua
propter paulum in eo commorabimur.
Commune autem proprii et accidentis inseparabilis
quod praeter ea numquam consistant illa n> quibus considerantur.
Quemadmodum enim praeter rissibile non subsistit homo.
Nec praeter nigredinem subsistit Aethiops.
Et quemadmodum semper et omni adest proprium. sic et inseparabile
accidens. De propriis proprii et accidentis.
Differt autem quoniam proprium uni soli speciei adest.
Quemadmodum risibile homini. inseparabile vero acci
dens vt nigrum non soli Aethiopi. sed etiam omni corbo
adest et carboni et ebeno et quibusdam aliis.
Visigothic script comes almost exlusively from the
Only two codices in Visigothic script are preserved in Dutch public collections, both of them now in
Satis praecum datum deo
Quamuis satis numquam reis
Fiat precatu numinis.
Abitum forensem da puer
Dicendum amicis est habe
Ualeque, quod fit mutuum
Quod cum per horas quattuor
Inclinet ad meridiem.
Monendus est iam sosias.