Visigothic script

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Visigothic script
littera mozarabica, littera toletana
Alphabet in Visigothic script
Script type
Time period
7th century to 13th century
Directionleft to right
RegionIberian Peninsula
LanguagesMedieval Latin
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
Beneventan, Merovingian
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

Visigothic script was a type of medieval script that originated in the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, modern Andorra, Spain and Portugal). Its more limiting alternative designations littera toletana and littera mozarabica associate it with scriptoria specifically in Toledo and with Mozarabic culture more generally, respectively.

The script, which exists in book-hand and cursive versions, was used from approximately the late seventh century until the thirteenth century, mostly in Visigothic Iberia but also somewhat in southern France. It was perfected in the 9th–11th centuries and declined afterwards. It developed from uncial script, and shares many features of uncial, especially an uncial form of the letter ⟨g⟩.

Evolution from Visigothic Zet ⟨Ꝣ⟩ to modern ⟨Ç⟩

Other features of the script include an open-top ⟨a⟩ (very similar to the letter ⟨u⟩), similar shapes for the letters ⟨r⟩ and ⟨s⟩, and a long letter ⟨i⟩ resembling the modern letter ⟨l⟩. There are two forms of the letter ⟨d⟩, one with a straight vertical ascender and another with an ascender slanting towards the left. The top stroke of the letter ⟨t⟩, by itself, has a hook curving to the left; ⟨t⟩ also has a number of other forms when used in ligatures, and there are two different ligatures for the two sounds of ⟨ti⟩ (“hard” or unassibilated and "soft" or sibilated) as spoken in Hispano-Latin during this period. The letters ⟨e⟩ and ⟨r⟩ also have many different forms when written in ligature. Of particular interest is the special Visigothic z ⟨ꝣ⟩, which, after adoption into Carolingian handwriting, eventually transformed into the c-cedilla ⟨ç⟩.

Folio 2r of the Chronicle of 754

From the standard script, a capital-letter display script was developed, with long slender forms. There was also a cursive form that was used for charters and non-religious writings, which had northern ("Leonese") and southern ("Mozarabic") forms. The Leonese cursive was used in the Christian north, and the Mozarabic was used by Christians living in the Muslim south. The cursive forms were probably influenced by Roman cursive, brought to Iberia from North Africa.

Visigothic script has many similarities with Beneventan script and Merovingian script.

Character information
Preview Ç ç
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex dec hex
Unicode 42850 U+A762 42851 U+A763 199 U+00C7 231 U+00E7
UTF-8 234 157 162 EA 9D A2 234 157 163 EA 9D A3 195 135 C3 87 195 167 C3 A7
Numeric character reference Ꝣ Ꝣ ꝣ ꝣ Ç Ç ç ç
Named character reference Ç ç

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Alturo Perucho, Jesús (2004). "La escritura visigótica. Estado de la cuestión". Archiv für Diplomatik (in Spanish). Viena (50): 347–386. ISSN 0066-6297.
  • del Camino Martínez, Mª del Carmen (1990). Los orígenes de la escritura visigótica. Actas del VIII Coloquio del Comité International de Paléographie Latine (in Spanish). Madrid-Toledo. pp. 29–37. ISBN 84-7094-111-9.
  • Díaz y Díaz, Manuel (1979). Libros y librerías en la Rioja altomedieval (in Spanish). Logroño: IER.
  • Díaz y Díaz, Manuel (1983). Códices visigóticos en la Monarquía leonesa. León: CSIC.
  • Millares Carlo, Agustín (1973). Consideraciones sobre la escritura visigótica cursiva. León.
  • Millares Carlo, Agustín; con la colaboración de José Manuel Ruiz Asencio (1983). Tratado de Paleografía Española (in Spanish). Madrid: Espasa Calpe. ISBN 84-239-4986-9.
  • Mundó, Anscari M. (1965). "La datación de los códices litúrgicos toledanos". Hispania Sacra (in Spanish). XVIII. ISSN 0018-215X.
  • Mundó, Anscari M.; Alturo Perucho, Jesús (1990). "La escritura de transición de la visgótica a la carolina en la Cataluña del siglo IX". Actas del VIII Coloquio del Comité International de Paléographie Latine (in Spanish). Madrid-Toledo: 131–138. ISBN 84-7094-111-9.
  • Núñez Contreras, Luis (1994). Manual de Paleografía (in Spanish). Madrid: Cátedra. ISBN 84-376-1245-4.
  • Rodríguez Díaz, Elena E. (2011). Die Mozaraber. Definitionen und Perspektiven der Forschung [Los manuscritos mozárabes: una encrucijada de culturas] (in German). Münster: Lit. ISBN 978-3-643-11117-3.
  • Selig, Maria; Frank, Barbara; Hartmann, Jörg (1993). Le passage à l'écrit des langues romanes (in French). Gunter Narr Verlag. ISBN 9783823342618.
  • Velázquez Soriano, Isabel (1989). Las pizarras visigodas. Edición crítica y estudio. Antigüedad y Cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad Tardía (in Spanish). Murcia: Universidad de Murcia. ISSN 0214-7165.