Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Palaeography - Notes upon the History of Writing and the Medieval Art of Illumination
Author: Quaritch, Bernard
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Palaeography - Notes upon the History of Writing and the Medieval Art of Illumination" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcriber's note: Some typographical errors in the printed work have been
corrected: they are listed at the end of the text.

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Page numbers enclosed by curly braces (example: {25}) have been
incorporated to facilitate the use of the Index.

Images of the original plates are available through Internet Archive. See
      https://archive.org/details/palographynote00quarrich

       *       *       *       *       *


PALÆOGRAPHY

NOTES UPON THE

HISTORY OF WRITING

AND THE

MEDIEVAL ART OF ILLUMINATION

BY

BERNARD QUARITCH

Extended from a Lecture, delivered at a Conversazione of the Sette
of Odd Volumes, at the Galleries of the Royal Institute of
Painters in Water Colours, 12th December, 1893

London

_PRIVATELY PRINTED_

1894



_This Volume is_

Dedicated to my excellent friend

BROTHER ALEXANDER T. HOLLINGSWORTH,

_ARTIFICER, and PRESIDENT OF_

The Odd Volumes, 1893-94,

_AND TO_

THE BRETHREN OF THE SETTE

WITH WHICH

I have been united since 1878 in O. V. bond,

BY

_BERNARD QUARITCH_,

_Librarian to the Sette_.

London, 15 Piccadilly, _March 31st, 1894_.



{1}_Foreword_

Of the books which preceded the invention of Printing, a much larger
quantity is still extant than the world in general would suppose, but they
are nevertheless so widely scattered and so seldom immediately accessible,
that only a very long experience will enable any one to speak or to write
about them in other than a blundering fashion. So many qualifications are
required, that it may seem presumptuous in me to treat upon a matter
bristling with difficulties and uncertainties. The brief but admirable
outline of its history which Mr. Maunde Thompson has lately published is
likely to mislead the inexperienced into a belief that a science defined
with so much clearness and apparent ease may as easily be mastered. No one
knows better than that accomplished scholar how hard it would be to supply
sure and definite criteria for the guidance of palæographical students in
all the branches of their fascinating pursuit. My excuse must be that the
observations which appear in the present opusculum may be useful to some
who are unable for various reasons to give the necessary fulness of
{2}study to Mr. Thompson's work, and who, while loving manuscripts as well
as I do, have not had so large an experience. I may venture to justify
myself by a personal anecdote. The author of the "Stones of Venice" once
said that he was surprised by my apparently exact knowledge of the
commercial value of manuscripts; and my reply was that, as I had for twenty
years been the buyer of, or the underbidder for, all the fine examples
which had appeared in the public auctions, there was no great reason for
his wonder.

The following sketch will consist of a number of cursory remarks upon the
calligraphy and the ornamentation of medieval manuscripts; preceded by an
historical sketch, arranged in chronological paragraphs, of the beginnings
and the gradual diffusion of the art of writing throughout the world.


_The Beginnings of Writing_

Palæography is the branch of science which deals with ancient writing
([Greek: palaia graphê]). As the Greek word for writing comprises a great
deal more than the work of pen and ink, palæographical study would be
imperfect if it did not take into consideration the ancient inscriptions
upon stone and metal which are usually left to numismatists and other
archæologists. In a small treatise like the present, no such ambitious and
comprehensive treatment is intended. The object is mainly to summarise the
results of other men's labour, and to give a general idea of what is known
at the present day about the diffusion of the art of writing and the
methods of producing books before the sixteenth century.

The name for _book_ in various ancient languages is indicative of the
earliest stage in the history of writing. The English word itself appears
in its oldest written form in the Gothic Scriptures of the fourth century,
in which _boka_ = writing, and _bokos_ = things written = books. This is
{3}believed to be derived from the name of the tree we call _beech_ and the
Germans _buche_, because it is supposed that the bark or wood of that tree
was used for cutting runes upon. Similar to this is the Latin _liber_,
which originally meant the inner bark of a tree, and afterwards came to
mean book, because leaves were made from that inner bark for the purpose of
writing. _Diphthera_, in ancient Ionic-Greek, was equivalent to book,
because it meant a polished skin (like parchment or leather) used for
writing upon before the Greeks adopted papyrus (_byblos_, _biblos_) from
the Egyptians. Then the name for papyrus became the name for a book, and
has been retained in modern speech in the word Bible. The word _diphthera_
passed into use among the Persians about five hundred years before Christ,
as the material was borrowed by them from the Ionians for the use of the
scribes who kept the royal records, and it still remains in the speech of
the modern Persians as _defter_ = book. The Hebrew word _sepher_ =
engraving, and is therefore used to designate a book; and the same sense
underlies the Arabic word _Kitab_. Writing was a scratching or incising of
symbols representing sounds (or ideas) upon stone or metal, upon wood, or
bark, or leaves (folia), dressed leather, parchment, papyrus, wax tablets,
and paper.

The form in which the sheets (of skin, parchment, bark, papyrus, or paper)
were gathered, may have been rolls in which they were united to form a
single page, or a square combination of successive leaves united only at
one side. The former was of course the earlier mode, but the latter was
also in use at a remote date. Greek and Roman scribes had evidently begun
to prefer the square fashion during the early days of the Roman empire; and
we may take it to have become the prevalent custom in the fourth century.
Black ink has always been in use for writing, red and blue ink are of
comparatively recent date. The use of gold ink, which was of course so
costly that it could never be otherwise than rare, originated probably when
the empire was as {4}yet unshaken by barbarian inroads; it was, however,
not extinct in Rome during the sixth and seventh centuries, and was
relatively not uncommon at the magnificent court of Byzantium. Late
examples were produced in Gaul for the Frankish princes in the ninth
century; and in these the simple splendour of the Roman style was
embellished with ornamentation chiefly drawn from Irish and Anglo-Saxon
models.

Although people knew how to write and to read more than five thousand years
ago, "a reading public," as we understand the term, came into existence for
the first time in Greece in the fifth century B.C., and again in Rome in
the first century B.C. By this it is meant that there were people who
bought books for the pleasure of reading them, as distinguished from the
class which produced or used books as an official necessity. The
requirements of that reading public among the Greeks, led to the disuse of
skins for the purpose of writing, since only a cheaper and more plentiful
material could satisfy the demand. Egyptian papyrus being both cheap and
plentiful, it was adopted and remained in use for over a thousand years
among the people who spoke Greek and Latin. Books upon vellum or
parchment--_charta pergamena_, an improved form of the old skins--were only
produced occasionally, as luxuries, between the second century B.C. and the
fifth century of our era. At this latter period, the reading public was
extinguished in the revolutions of barbarian conquest, and the cheap
material ceased to be necessary. In the absence of a popular demand for
books, and when only persons of exceptional learning, churchmen, statesmen,
and monks, experienced the need of reading and writing, the supply of
vellum was sufficient, and this dearer material was relatively economical
because of its durability. A reading public can hardly be said to have come
into renewed existence till the fifteenth century, and then once more
vellum was superseded by the cheaper material of paper. Paper, from linen
or rags, had been made in the {5}Saracenic east for several centuries, but
was little used in Europe till the thirteenth century, and was not
fabricated in the west to any considerable extent until the fourteenth
century.


_Writing in Egypt 5000 B.C._

The origin of writing, that is of the art of transmitting information by
means of symbols representing speech, is, like the origin of every other
invention, obscure and uncertain. It is not the proud Aryan, nor his elder
brother the Semite, who can claim the honour of the invention. It belongs
neither to Japhet nor to Shem (convenient eponyms) but to the despised Ham,
with whom they are unwilling to acknowledge kinship. Four thousand years
before Christ (the very period at which, in Milton's opinion, Adam and Eve
were banished from Paradise) the people of the Nile Valley formed a rich
and powerful monarchy, with an old civilisation, and possessed the arts of
painting, sculpture, architecture, and writing. Their writing was chiefly
upon stone monuments, and recorded the deeds of their Kings or the
greatness of their Gods. They also wrote upon leaves of papyrus the forms
of prayer and eulogy which were buried with their dead. Among the surviving
written productions of that great monarchy is a work containing the Moral
Precepts of Ptah-Hotep. Written in the language of Khem (old Egypt), and in
the hieratic character, upon papyrus, it is "the oldest book in the world."
The period of its composition is more ancient than the date of the writing,
which, by internal evidence, has been proved to be over 2000 B.C. It is now
in the Bibliothèque Nationale, and is known by the name of the Papyrus
Prisse. As there can be no question that hieroglyphic writing (engraving)
upon stone was considerably anterior to the evolution of the cursive
hieratic written with pen and ink upon papyrus; and as there is a
hieroglyphic inscription on stone in the Ashmolean Museum {6}which is
assigned to 4000 B.C.--we must infer that the real age of Egyptian writing
is beyond our ken. It must be at the least six thousand years old; and
there are numerous examples in lapidar inscriptions which represent the
millennium preceding the date of the Prisse Papyrus. With this book,
written several centuries before Moses dwelt in the land of Egypt, a sketch
of the history of writing may modestly begin. It must not be imagined that
the dates of Egyptian and Babylonian documents are based upon enthusiastic
conjecture, or upon unaided calculation of the years assigned to the lives
and reigns of monarchs in their newly discovered and deciphered records.
Josephus and Eusebius have preserved fragments of older historical writers,
among them portions of the lost Chronicles of Berossus the Chaldæan and
Manetho the Egyptian, whose works were written in Greek in the fourth and
third centuries before Christ. In former days, when scholars were nurtured
upon the Christian chronology which counted the birth of Christ as A.M.
4004, or A.M. 5870, according as the Hebrew Bible or the Septuagint was
adopted as the authority for dates, it was the custom to deride as fabulous
the immense lists of Chaldean and Egyptian dynasties, which spoiled the
story of Genesis; but the hieroglyphic and the cuneiform monuments have
yielded up their long-buried testimony to justify the discredited
chroniclers. Nothing in romance is more wonderful than the story of the
work of interpretation, by which old Egypt and old Assyria have been
brought forward into the light of authentic history. Two generations of
acute and patient scholars working contemporaneously in England, France,
Germany, and Italy, have contrived, without dictionary, without grammar,
without even a key to the mysterious letters, to decipher and to read the
stony records of those ancient empires. Their first labour was to
distinguish the symbols, and to assign to them a phonetic value, then to
compare the resultant words with the vocabulary of known languages supposed
to be akin to the old {7}ones. In the case of the hieroglyphics, the Coptic
language alone offered its aid, this being the tongue of Egypt as written
and spoken in the first ten centuries of our era, genuine Egyptian indeed,
but necessarily differing enormously from its earliest phases thousands of
years back. As to the cuneiform inscriptions, the various Semitic tongues
furnished means of comparison for Assyrian texts, the Persian and "Zend"
for old Persic and Median, and certain cuneiform vocabularies were
discovered which rendered it possible to understand a third language, the
most ancient of them all, which had been utterly unknown even by name. From
the time of Christ, perhaps even before it, down to sixty years ago, the
languages and monuments of Egypt and Chaldæa had never been looked upon by
the eye of intelligence. The mystery of ages is a mystery no more.


_Writing in Chaldæa, 4000 B.C._

The age of Chaldæan writing (engraving) is not far behind that of the
Egyptian hieroglyphics. It is said that an inscription of the first Sargon,
King of Akkad (in the square or angular character out of which the
wedge-shaped or cuneiform letters were evolved), carries the record back to
3800 B.C. Even if we take a large latitude in discounting the chronology,
there still remains a certainty that the cuneiform character of Babylonia
was used over the greater part of Western Asia from at least 2500 B.C., and
in Persia and its tributaries down to 300 B.C. While, of the Egyptian
writing, we have remains exhibiting all the stages of development, namely
(1) the hieroglyphic, (2) the hieratic, (3) the demotic, (4) the Coptic in
Greek letters; of the cuneiform script we have only the two phases which
may be roughly said to correspond to the Egyptian hieratic and demotic, or
more exactly to two stages of the hieratic. We cannot reconstruct the
original Chaldæan hieroglyphics which must have preceded the Chaldæan
hieratic and {8}cuneiform; nor do we know (at present) of any truly cursive
hand developed from the wedge-letters. Among the relics of the Assyrians is
a great number of stone tablets of small size, containing reports to the
monarch from provincial governors. One of them, now in the British Museum,
is supposed, from a phrase which occurs in it, to show that the stone
tablets were simply copies made for preservation in the archives, while the
actually transmitted originals were written on papyrus. If that were the
practice, and there is inherent probability in the suggestion, there would
assuredly have been a great quantity of papyrus used throughout the
Assyrian empire; yet not a fragment of that material has been discovered.
In the absence of some positive evidence, we can but suppose it likely that
the Assyrians used papyrus (or skins) for writing on, as well as the
Egyptians, but applied it only to temporary purposes, trusting rather to
granite and brick, than to paper or to leather, whatever was intended for
enduring record.


_Progress of the Art, B.C. 2500-1500_

At about 2500 B.C. all the civilisation of the world was confined to the
regions bordering the whole length of the Red Sea, and extending northwards
to Armenia. In the South was Egypt, a powerful monarchy dominant at times
from Ethiopia to Asia Minor, and in the North the Chaldee kingdom of Akkad
dominant over Mesopotamia and the frontier lands. The country of Egypt was
named by its people Keme or Kheme, and their language was called the speech
of Keme (out of which the Hebrews made Ham). The name of Ai-Gupt was given
to the Delta by its Semitic neighbours and inhabitants, while they called
the whole country Mizr (Mizraim) or Misr. The former name has prevailed in
European use, as well as furnished the words Copt and Coptic, although this
is questionable. The Kheme language was written both in hieroglyphic and in
hieratic {9}characters at the year 2500 B.C. The former were the ancient
picture-symbols, which were arranged in vertical columns and read from top
to bottom and from left to right. This practice was retained to the end,
notwithstanding that the Egyptians had been long in contemporaneous
possession of the cursive hieratic characters, written in horizontal lines
from right to left, just as Hebrew and Arabic. The hieratic character was
simply an abridgment of the hieroglyphic, a reduction of the pictorial to
conventional forms.

The two scripts endured side by side till Christianity supervened, and then
the modified Greek alphabet which we call the Coptic came into existence.
The demotic script, a still more cursive reduction of the hieratic, had
come into use probably a thousand years B.C., but it was only used for
private mercantile transactions, and it died out on the establishment of
the Coptic. Examples of both hieroglyphic and demotic writing are given in
the plates accompanying this sketch.

The Akkadian Chaldee language (to be distinguished from the later Semitic
Syro-Chaldee) has, like the Egyptian Khemi, no immediate affinities with
any other important form of speech. They are both of an older type and
stock than the oldest known members of the Aryan and Semitic families. The
Akkadian is called Turanian, as showing undoubted resemblances to the Turki
and Mongol languages of the lands lying north and east of Persia, which
were named by the Persians Turan, as distinguished from Iran. The place of
the Khemi in philology is not so easily defined. It does not seem that any
other language than that of Egypt was ever written in the Egyptian script.
The case is somewhat different with the Chaldee characters. They were
adopted in varying modes for writing Semitic and Aryan languages, as well
as the native Akkadian. This resulted from the blending of populations by
successive conquests. The Akkadian-Chaldees ruled in Mesopotamia till 1500
B.C., when they went down before the Semites from Northern Arabia. {10}A
branch of these Semites had already for a considerable time occupied the
eastern side of Mesopotamia and were in possession of the region round
Nineveh, at the time when their Arabian kindred swept away the old dynasty
that had had its chief seat in Babylonia.

At or about 1300 B.C., the Ninevite Assyrians or Syro-Chaldæans united the
whole of Mesopotamia by conquest, and completed the downfall of the
Akkadian Chaldæans who were thenceforward reduced to servitude. Even the
later uprisings in Babylonia were only the work of princes of Assyrian
blood. The date mentioned is another standpoint in the history of writing.
The Semite Assyrians were now the chief users of the cuneiform script. At
Babylon they seem to have retained it in the same form into which it had
developed in the hands of the Akkad people. At Nineveh, it had undergone a
modification; the combinations of the symbols being considerably altered,
so that one may speak of Babylonian characters and of Assyrian characters
as being two scripts, although they look identical.


_The Semitic Alphabet about 1700 B.C._

This is (in chronological sequence) the place at which mention should be
made of the Greek myth that alphabetical letters were introduced into
Boeotia by Cadmus the Phoenician. It has always been accepted as
substantially true, even by those who knew that Cadmus in Semitic speech
meant simply The Ancient, or The Eastern; and has usually been assigned to
about 1500 B.C. The story requires some modification, and the date is
probably a good deal out of reckoning. Here it is only referred to as
showing the early use of letters by the Phoenicians. There are really no
extant monuments to prove the anteriority of the Semite alphabet to that of
the Greeks, but there can be no question as to the fact. The names of the
Greek letters are manifestly borrowed from a Semitic speech, and the Cadmus
story is in {11}itself a sufficient acknowledgment of the secondary
position of the Hellenes. It is generally held that the Phoenicians derived
their alphabet by means of a selection from the phonetic symbols of the
Egyptian hieratic script. Whether the process was due to the Phoenicians
themselves, is not so clearly asserted. Mr. Maunde Thompson, following
Lenormant and the Vicomte de Rougé, seems to consider that it gradually
took place in Egypt after the Arabs had conquered the country, and when the
Hyksos or Shepherd Kings had established their dynasty (2000 B.C.). During
the five hundred years of their rule there must have been a large Semitic
immigration, and it is not unlikely that the Semitic alphabet was then
derived from the Egyptian for the use of the Syrians and Arabs who dwelt in
Lower Egypt. There is, on the other hand, a modern theory that the Semitic
alphabet was not evolved in this way, but from the hieratic Babylonian
writing. It is true that similarities may be found between them, and it is
also demonstrable that the Greek names of the alphabet were drawn from the
speech, not of Phoenicia or Palestine, but of Aram or Semitic Chaldæa.
Nothing is certain as to the origin of the Semitic alphabet,
notwithstanding the elaborate comparative tables produced by Rougé and
others, beyond the fact that several letters resemble Egyptian (and
Chaldæo-Assyrian) symbols having sometimes the same phonetic value. The
names given to their characters by the Semites are undoubtedly descriptive
of their apparent iconism, and the initial sound of each name is the power
of the letter. This, on the face of it, would imply that the Aramaic
alphabet was an original invention. The Greeks who first received it, must
have been those of Asia Minor, not those of Hellas; and the first
transmitters were neither Arabs, nor Jews, nor Phoenicians, but Babylonian
Aramæans in contact with Cilicia and Cappadocia. The names of the letters,
as sounded by the Syrians of Palestine (Phoenicians, Israelites, Jews),
were: _Aleph_, _Beth_, _Gimel_, _Daleth_, _He_, _Vau_, _Zain_ (_Zai_),
_Hheth_ (_Kheth_), _Teth_, _Yod_, {12}_Caph_, _Lamed_, _Mem_
(_maim_=_waters_), _Nun_, _Samekh_, _Ain_ (_Oin_), _Pe_, _Tsade_, _Koph_,
_Resh_ (=_head_), _Shin_, _Tau_.

We have no actual knowledge of the Chaldæo-Aramaic sounds of these names,
but we know that the Eastern Syrians would probably have written them
thus:--

_Alpha_, _Beta_, _Gamla_, _Dalta_, _He_, _Vau_, _Zaita_, _Hheta_, _Teta_,
_Yoda_, _Kappa_, _Lamda_, _Mu_ (=_water_), _Nun_ (_Nu_), _Samkha_
(_Simkha_=_Sigma_), _Oin_ (_Oi?_), _Pe_, _Tsada_, _Koppa_, _Rash_
(_Ro?_=_face_), _Shen_, _Tau_.

Leaving aside for the present any consideration of the changes and
additions in the Greek alphabet, we may assume that it passed from
Babylonia through Cilicia to the Phrygians and Lydians; and that, whatever
intercourse may have taken place between the European Greeks and the
Phoenicians then or afterwards, the Ionians of Asia Minor had already
formulated the Hellenic alphabet before it reached the Thebans. As it seems
to be nearly certain that the Phrygians possessed it in the tenth century
before Christ, the Aramæans must have had it much earlier, and we may
credit them with the use of writing as far back as 1300-1200 B.C. It is
very unlikely that the Western Syrians were far behind, but the oldest
monuments extant go no higher than the tenth century, and are probably
surpassed in antiquity by some of the Sabæan (Himyarite or Homerite)
inscriptions of Southern Arabia. The Himyari alphabet, which is the direct
ancestor of the modern Abyssinian, introduces some novel forms, and has
less resemblance to the Aramaic original than any of the others. Most of
the letters are, however, ultimately traceable to the Aramaic, although the
date must have been remote, to judge from the large divergences in shape
which had had time to develop themselves before the type was fixed.

About, or soon after, 1000 B.C., we find a considerable portion of the
earth's surface occupied by people knowing how to write; namely, Egypt,
Nubia, Abyssinia, Arabia, the whole of Asia Minor, Syria, Babylonia,
Assyria, Armenia, {13}and China. Abyssinia and Armenia are included because
into the one country Egyptian and Himyaritic characters had been imported,
and into the other a form of Babylonian. China is placed in the list, far
below her pretensions, because we do not really know the age of the
character in which Chinese books preserve the inscriptions of Yu. It
appears derivable from the dissertations of M. Terrien, whose sagacious
learning has attracted many scholars, that the earliest history recorded in
Chinese annals is not geographically Chinese; but that it represents the
legends and traditions which were carried into China by the ancestors of
the race. A connexion has been found to subsist between those traditions
and the early history of Babylonia, which leads to the inference that the
Akkadian people of 3800 B.C. and the ancestors of the Chinese were at one
time united. Assuming that the theory is justifiable, we may treat the
Chinese in China as having inherited the art of writing, however strangely
altered in form. It is probably true that they used the letters out of
which their present characters descended, in the country they now inhabit,
at more than 1000 B.C.


_The Alphabet in European Greece, 800 B.C._

The European Greeks are not included in the preceding paragraph, simply
because there are no means of proving that they had the use of letters in
the tenth century B.C. The probability, however, is that they were not far
behind their brethren in Asia Minor. The variations in the forms of some of
the letters of the Greek alphabet which are found in inscriptions at
different places both in Asia Minor and in Greece, are attributable to
local fashions and to the fact that the script was not built up all at once
from a single model. It is here that the tradition about Cadmus has its
chief significance; for there can be little doubt that the alphabet of
Tyre, not quite identical with its elder Aramaic {14}sister, had some
immediate influence in modifying the forms borrowed by the Boeotians from
the Ionians. The older Greek alphabet has been already mentioned. It was
found after a while to be both insufficient and more than sufficient. The
Tsade (ts) and Koppa (q) were not needed in Greek, and were only retained
formally as numerals. As most Greek organs could only give the same sound
(s) to both the _simkha_ and the _shen_ (which they called _sigma_ and
_san_), one of the two names was superfluous. So they kept the symbol for
_shen_ as an _s_, but transferred to it the name of the _simkha_. The
symbol of the latter they retained in its place, but sounded it as ks, and
called it _Ksi_, a name which did not badly suit the original Semitic sound
of the letter which was like _hs_ rather than _s_. The unaspirated _He_
they called _mere E_ (_E psilon_); to the aspirated Heta, they left its
name, but regarded it as _aspirated E_. Its original Semitic value as an
aspirate (adaptable to any vowel) was not wholly lost sight of, and this
idea of its power survived the stage at which H had become nothing more
than _ê_ or _ee_. The necessity of making aspirated letters led to the
prefixing or over-writing of the _H_, at first in its full size, then (so
as to avoid confusion with Eta) in small, then in half shape, thus |-. This
custom produced its complement in the shape of -|, to mark the soft
breathing; until in the eleventh century of our era, the two breathings
were worn down into semicircular form, thus ( , ). Another rejected symbol
was the _vau_, formed like the letter F and sounded like our V. It dropped
out of usage, and they forgot its name, although it had been considerably
used by the old poets, in connexion with whom it is usually named
_digamma_, because of its resemblance to a double gamma, or one gamma
superimposed on another. It was found necessary to have a character for
_u_, and advantageous to use single symbols for double letters frequently
occurring, such as _ph_, _kh_, _ps_ and _oo_ (long o). The old Eastern form
of _vau_ supplied the _u_; in fact, having dropped the letter as a
consonant out of its sixth place in {15}the alphabet, they put it in its
vowel-character at the end. The symbol of the discarded _koppa_ was used
for the _Ph_, which was not equivalent in sound to our _ph_, but must have
resembled the German _pf_. The discarded _tsada_ (a trident) was used to
represent, in some places _ps_, in others _kh_, but finally the symbol fell
into two distinct forms, by being written upright as + ([psi]) and leaning
sidewise as × ([chi]). By the time of Herodotus the Greek alphabet may be
considered as having reached exactly its present form in capital letters.
The cursive hand which must have existed at all times of Greek writing was
simply a rapid deformation of the capitals, and consequently did not attain
to any uniformly distinctive character till much later. The general use of
minuscules in any such uniform type is always referred to the eighth
century after Christ, but really there is no essential change of form
between the cursive letters a hundred years before Christ and those of a
thousand years after Christ. The chief difference is in the greater freedom
and fluency of the late letters, an air of practised familiarity which is
lacking in the earlier cursive.


_Writing in Italy from 700 to 100 B.C._

The Greeks and the Phoenicians had a similar aptitude for establishing
colonies abroad to that which the English have shown during the past three
centuries. Thus the coast line of the Mediterranean from Tripoli to
Morocco, and from Sicily and Southern Italy to Spain and Gaul, was dotted
with Punic and Greek settlements created for purely commercial purposes,
but gaining an independent importance as time went on. The chief seat of
Phoenician domination was at Carthage; of Greek nationality at Syracuse,
Cumæ (near Naples), and Marseilles. The age at which those colonies
acquired political greatness may be roughly set down as in the fourth
century before Christ, but it is sufficient for our purpose to know that
they had been founded considerably {16}earlier; and that the art of writing
had been carried westward as far back at least as the seventh or eighth
century B.C. It was virtually the one alphabet, applied by various races to
their various languages, which was used at Carthage and Cadiz, at
Marseilles and in Sicily and Italy, in the seventh century B.C. Italy was
occupied by several distinct sets of people. The Umbrians, Latins, and
Oscans occupied all the middle of the peninsula; the Pelasgic tribes who
were in the heel and toe of the geographical boot were nearly Grecised; the
Etruscans held Tuscany, and Celts occupied Lombardy. Mommsen thought that
the Greek alphabet had reached the Italians more than 1300 years before
Christ; but a more modest estimate will be safer. It was probably about
seven hundred years B.C. when the Etrurians received their alphabet from
the Greeks; and there is no reason for thinking, as Mommsen implies, that
their first contact with Greek letters had been elsewhere than in Italy.
The alphabet reached them no doubt from Cumæ, as it did the Latins, and
there was sufficient variation in the practice of the Greek colonies in
Italy to account for the differences which mark Etruscan, Umbrian, and
Latin writing.


_Roman Writing._

The usual date of the founding of Rome is undoubtedly correct or nearly so.
It was about the middle of the eighth century B.C., and the rapid
enlargement of the new Latin town on the Tiber, produced by the influx of
settlers into a trade emporium with waterway, must have led to an early use
of writing. This indicates something like 700 B.C. for the period of the
extension of that art over the whole of Italy. The custom of writing from
right to left and left to right in alternate lines was retained for several
centuries among the various Italic peoples, but the Latins seem to have
been the first to adopt the Greek modification by which {17}the letters
took their permanent shape from the left-right sequence. In several Greek
towns, the old [GAMMA] was replaced by a C (the result of a cursive mode of
writing), and the triangular [DELTA] had its second and third lines
represented by a single curve. The [PI] was still a [Symbol: P not
connected in the middle], and the P had a little stroke added to it
([Symbol: R with short tail]) for the sake of distinction. The Sigma was
commonly written [Symbol: reverse tilted Z] instead of [Symbol: reverse 3]
([SIGMA]). The Latins omitted of course such letters as they found
superfluous (_z_, _th_, _k_, _ph_, _ch_, _ps_, and _oo_), but were
naturally bound to retain letters already becoming superfluous to the
Greeks (F, Q). The third letter of the alphabet was used for both K and G;
but later, when the need of some differentiation became felt, the useless Z
was replaced by a second C to which a tail was added ([Symbol: C with
diagonal tail]). The Eta (or Heta) was made to retain its earliest function
as a strong breathing (H), although the Greeks were treating it as no more
than EE. The Greek confusion between the symbols for _ks_, _ps_, and _ch_,
affected the Latins so far that one of the three letters, _i.e._ X, was
taken to represent the only sound of the three which their language needed,
namely _ks_; and this being an afterthought, it was put at the end of the
alphabet. Thus in the second century B.C. the Romans had their alphabet
completely formed in the capital shapes, and with the phonetic values,
which it thenceforward retained. The letters were A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H,
I, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, X, the F being sounded probably as our V
and F, the V as our U and W. It was long afterwards that the F was
restricted to the sound of English F, and V as a consonant took the sound
of English V (instead of W.) The Q was a more guttural letter than the C
originally, but afterwards lost its distinctiveness of utterance. When it
became fashionable to learn and quote Greek, in the time of Cicero and
after, the letters [KAPPA], [UPSILON], and [ZETA] were reinserted in the
Latin alphabet for form's sake, as K, Y, Z. It was not till the sixteenth
century that, in the northern countries of Europe, the letter J was evolved
from the black letter form {18}of I ([Symbol: blackletter I]) and the
letter V split into U and V. As for the W, it was needed only by Germanic
people, and was consequently a late intruder into the modern Roman
alphabet.


_Indian Writing about 300 B.C._

To return to the East, the first examples of native Indian writing appeared
in the rock-inscribed decrees of Asoka, found in various places over the
north of India, from the Indus to the Ganges, and even in the Dekkan; which
can be dated between 250 and 230 B.C. The language is Prakrit or Pali, the
characters (although at first sight they seem an independent script) were
derived like so many others from the Semitic system, and the nearest of the
parallel types is the alphabet of the Himyarite inscriptions. The Sabæan
monarchy which ruled over Southern Arabia a thousand years B.C. had had
large commercial relations with India, and it was probably from that source
that the people of Bombay and the North-West acquired the art of writing,
how long before Asoka it would be difficult to learn. Out of the simple
forms of Asoka's alphabet all the modern scripts of Indian native writing
descended, including the artificial and elaborate Nagari alphabet which is
one of the latest of them.


_Writing in Central Asia from 300 B.C._

In the kingdom of Bactria, the coins of the kings who from about 150 B.C.
followed the older Greek princes, bear inscriptions in Indian Prakrit, but
not written in the same character as was used by Asoka. The two scripts
differ so much in appearance not only from all others, but also between
themselves, that one does not easily recognise the fact that they both must
have been of Himyaritic origin. They are very different from the Pehlvi
which was used by Parthian sovereigns in the second century after Christ,
and by the Sassanide kings in the fourth. The {19}Pehlvi had been evolved
from the later Aramean, and must have been in use in Persia before the time
of Alexander; but the existing specimens are all subsequent to the
beginning of the Christian era. And as for the script which is called Zend,
and which is used for writing the Zoroastrian books of the most ancient
Persian language, there is nothing to prove that it is not of much later
invention than the Pehlvi.


_Oriental Letters after the beginning of the Christian Era_

_Samaria._--The writing of Palestine was probably identical originally with
that of the Phoenicians, and the Samaritan script, which is still in use
for biblical purposes, has retained to the present day a considerable
resemblance with that of Tyre and Sidon. The expatriation and partial
repatriation of the Jews and Israelites during the seventh and sixth
centuries B.C., had the effect of leaving only a small remnant in the north
of the land who preserved their ancient writing. From that time to this
some of the descendants of the Samarians have continued to write their
Pentateuch (which for them is the whole of the Bible) in the ancient
characters of the Hebrew language (a specimen is found on plate 4). All the
rest of the Jews, in whatever part of the world they may have been, have
retained the square character (with its various Rabbinical modifications)
which they learned in Chaldæa in the seventh century B.C. But the Hebrew
language never returned to the Holy Land. Hebrew, as spoken among the
Samaritans, underwent the same Aramaisation as the language of the Judæans,
and from three or four centuries B.C. down to the eighth century of our
era, the language of all Syria was Syriac with local dialects, and Greek in
the great cities. The usual character in which Syriac was written has
already been mentioned, but the Samaritans wrote even their semi-Syriac
speech in the old {20}characters of their Bible; and there is a really
Samaritan Pentateuch--different from the Hebrew Pentateuch in Samaritan
letters--which corresponds in Samaritan literature to the Chaldee Targums
of the Jews. None of the Hebraeo-Aramaic dialects long survived in Syria
the conquest of the Arabs. Syriac still lived on in Western Persia and in
Mongolia, and in India for a time, but only survived as a dead liturgical
language. Chaldæo-Hebraic made its way westwards to Morocco, Italy, Spain
and Gaul. The faithful in Samaria, now nearly extinct, clung to their
Pentateuch and their religion through all vicissitudes, and have never
ceased to write the Bible in the Hebrew script of ancient Palestine.

_Arabia._--Arabian writing before the time of Mohammad is only known to us
under the name of Haurani and Nabathæan in the North, of Himyaritic in the
South. None of these scripts resembles the Islamic characters called
distinctively Arabic. The Gospel-script (Estrangelo) of the Syrians is the
nearest of all the Aramaic hands to that used by the earliest Mohammadans,
which (from its special cultivation in the town of Cufa) is called Cufic.
But even here, the resemblance is not so close as to make it improbable
that there was a link between them in some lost script of pre-Christian
days. The Cufic writing which prevailed for three centuries as the mode of
writing the Koran cannot strictly be shown to be the mother of the Naskhi
which replaced it and has flourished for a thousand years. It is clearly
older than the Naskhi in its forms, but the Naskhi has been proved to have
existed contemporaneously with the Cufic almost from the beginning of
Mohammadanism. After the third century of the Hijra, the Cufic was only
retained for ornamentation and head-lines. By that time the Arab conquests
had created a vast Mohammadan empire; the Syrians, the Persians, and the
Egyptians were obliged to give up their old scripts, and to accept that of
their conquerors. Arabic writing occupied not only all {21}the seats in
which Phoenician letters had been used fifteen centuries before, but even a
far larger area. The writing and the language were used and known from
Seville to the frontiers of India. Soon after, India likewise fell a prey;
and Arabic letters have been used there ever since by the Mohammadan
population. The elegant script called Talik, which was peculiar to the
Persians (but has been borrowed in India), was developed in the fourteenth
century. It differs little, except in gracefulness, from the typical
Naskhi.

_India and the further East._--The characters in which the Pracrit
inscriptions of Northern India were engraved on stone, in the third century
B.C., descended, with considerable modifications of form, to the various
tribes of Hindus who developed the modern languages of India, now called
Hindi, Gujarati, Mahratti, Panjabi, Bengali. All these languages are akin,
their differences being produced by segregation and by local contact with
aboriginal or foreign populations. Their character two thousand years ago
(before local diversities were perpetuated in names) is described by the
term Prakrit (=Natural) as distinguished from the title given to another
form of the language, namely Sanskrit (=Artificial) which is believed to
represent a far more ancient stage of Indian speech. In this artificial
language the earliest traditions and literature of the Hindo-Aryan race are
preserved, but it is supposed to have died out of speech (if ever it was
spoken) several centuries before the Christian era. However that may be, we
have no monument or record to show that it was written till the tenth
century after Christ, and the Sanscrit alphabet is undeniably not more than
eight or nine centuries old, having been artificially elaborated from the
much simpler script of Asoka's time.

The graphic systems of Southern India, Ceylon, Thibet, Burma, and Siam were
all derived from the script of Aryan India after Budhism had begun to
spread.

{22}In North-Eastern Asia, the Mongolian script (and out of it, the
Manchurian) were formed from the writing of the Nestorian Christians who
carried their Syriac books to the frontiers of China.


_Spain and Gaul under the Romans_

It has been already said that Punic settlements were made in Spain probably
as far back as the seventh century B.C. To the Phoenicians or Carthaginians
we may ascribe the introduction of letters and their application to coins
and inscriptions, not only in the Punic language of the men who held Cadiz,
Carthagena, and Barcelona, but also in the Iberian and Celtiberian language
of native princes. Strabo says that the Turdetani (of the present
Andalusia) boasted the possession of historical and poetical books of
immense age in their own language; but when he was writing, about the time
of the birth of Christ, they were all Romanised and unable to speak any
other tongue than Latin. There exists, however, a great quantity of coins
struck in Spain between 400 B.C. and the time of Augustus. There are three
varieties (omitting those of Greek colonies in Aragon), namely, those in
Punic language and Punic letters, those with Iberian names in Punic
letters, and those with Celtiberian names in modified Punic letters. The
later Iberian and Celtiberian have sometimes Latin inscriptions added to
the native ones. In the first century after Christ, the whole of Spain was
virtually Romanised. The Transalpine Gauls retained their own speech longer
than the Spaniards did theirs, because the conquest was later; but the
people of Cisalpine Gaul were Romanised even earlier than the Spaniards.
The independence of Marseilles as a Greek republic came to an end in the
first century of the Roman empire, and the Greek language probably died out
in a few generations. Then, no doubt, Roman letters took the place of the
Greek, which, as Cæsar said, were used by the Gauls in his time.
Henceforward, till the fifth century, Spain and {23}Gaul were simply
outlying provinces of the empire, without anything in literature or
calligraphy to distinguish their people from the Romanised Italians. It was
not till the sixth century, when the Gothic kingdom had become a stable
institution, that anything like a local fashion of calligraphy began to
develop itself in Spain. Gaul was similarly affected by the influx first of
the Visigoths, then of the Franks.


_Influence of the Bible upon writing_

The events which led to the compilation of the Gospels were of the greatest
moment in the history of writing. The educational influence of the
Bible--apart entirely from its claims to supernatural importance--in
spreading the use of letters and creating schools for the study of reading
and writing, has been incalculable. The historical and religious traditions
of the Jews would probably have had but little effect upon the world, if
the result of the various wars by which Syria was so often desolated had
not been to expatriate the chosen people of the Lord. A large Jewish
population occupied Northern Egypt at the time when Alexander's conquests
revolutionised the old world. The establishment of Greek dynasties in that
country and in Syria speedily Hellenised the upper classes and the citizens
in both; and the linguistic subjugation of the Jews in Egypt was even more
complete than that of their old masters. Their peculiar condition
facilitated a change; for while they possessed the sacred book of the Law
of their forefathers in a language that had been dead for centuries, they
had only translations in the language of the country of their former exile
(Chaldæa); and though they had the commercial qualification of
bilingualism, their Chaldee and their Egyptian were probably equally weak.
Two generations were enough to Hellenise them, and seventy years after
Alexander's death, the Bible was introduced to the knowledge of the Greek
world in an edition destined to render the old Hebrew {24}scripture
intelligible to Egyptian and Syrian Jews. This fortunate circumstance drew
a number of people into the Elohistic fold who would never otherwise have
been found there; and had no small influence in bringing about the social
and moral revolution which signalised the beginning of our era.

The Septuagint must remain the true Bible of Christendom until the Hebrew
text of the præ-Christian ages is discovered. Next to it in importance is
the Syriac Bible, and next to that, the Latin Vulgate. All three indicate
the prior existence of a Hebrew original; but to obtain a critically exact
knowledge of what that original was at the time of Alexander the Great, one
must resort to the Septuagint; at the time of Christ, to the Syriac; and at
the time of the Emperor Julian, to the Vulgate. The Hebrew text, as we now
have it, underwent so many changes and corruptions during the first few
centuries of the growth of Christianity as a younger rival to Judaism, that
even the oldest Hebrew MSS. are precluded by their comparative modernity
from claiming equal importance with the three versions referred to. The
multiplication of copies of the Syriac Scriptures, between the first
century after Christ and the seventh, must have been very great; that of
the Greek Bible and Testament, from the first to the fourteenth century,
still greater; and that of the Latin Vulgate, from the fifth to the
fifteenth, enormous. The early missionaries of the Christian Church were
Hellenised Syrians or Egyptians, and they stamped the art of their native
countries upon the new Biblical literature in every country except Italy.
Italy was the exception, simply because it was the centre of political
power and of Græco-Roman culture, and thus too learned and too fastidious
to accept a new popular religion or an inferior type of ornamental art. But
all the external provinces of the Empire underwent the influence of the
enthusiastic proselytizers, and even Byzantium succumbed to it after the
Empire of the West had been extinguished. The types of ornament created for
the embellishment of Bibles were Egyptian in {25}design and colouring; and
this is the reason why the pictures in all the early examples of
book-illustration in the West are supposed to have a Byzantine aspect; the
fact being that while classical art faded away almost with paganism in
Italy and Hellas, the Oriental substitute, which reigned from Asia Minor to
Ireland, was preserved in Byzantium till the downfall of the Greek empire.
A few belated specimens of degenerate classical ornament are found to
represent the ages between Constantine and Charles the Great; but in
general terms it may be said that Roman book-illustration died out in the
fourth century. It came to life again, but in utter metamorphosis, in the
decorated Irish books of the sixth-seventh century, which were really the
first examples of the mediæval art of illumination.

The Coptic alphabet and the Gothic alphabet were two late and artificial
inventions, due entirely to a holy rage for producing the Bible in the
language of the Egyptians and the Goths. The two Slavonic alphabets
likewise were late scripts, invented for the purpose of translating the
Bible into Slovene. The Armenian alphabet (and out of it the Georgian) had
a similar origin, and seems to have had some relationship to the Slav
Glagolitic. They are both attributed to the fifth century.


_Writing in Italy during the first five centuries of the Christian era_

We have not as full a knowledge as could be wished for of the ordinary
styles of writing under the Roman empire. The books of the fourth and fifth
centuries which are extant show that calligraphy was then flourishing in
great splendour, so far as capitals and uncials were concerned; and the
coins and inscriptions of the three preceding centuries show us Roman
capitals at their best. That rustic capitals were used in the first century
is proved by the Herculanean remains, and that the fashion of writing in
square capitals, {26}rustic capitals, and uncials was still practised in
Italy down to the eighth century, we have sufficient grounds for knowing.
But as to the style of handwriting used in books of which editions of
perhaps a few hundred copies were issued--such, for example, as the edition
of his own epigrams which Martial found at Lyons--we can only form
conjectures. The semi-uncials of the fifth and sixth centuries, which grew
into the minuscules of the seventh and eighth, must have been as much
needed in the first century as the sixth, but there is no trace of them.
The Roman cursive hand, upright or backsloped, that appears in the few
extant tablets and wall-inscriptions of the first and second centuries,
would have been too difficult for the readers who bought books to enjoy
them, and would assuredly have served as an obstacle to their sale. It
resembles rather the charter hand of later days than the minuscule writing
of books, but the letters are unconnected, and there is no trace of any
attempt at neatness. It is indeed almost illegible, without slow and
painful decipherment. One striking peculiarity is the _b_, which has
frequently the shape of _d_, a form that was retained in the official
diplomatic hand of the fifth century. Such as it was, however, the cursive
hand would have had considerable influence in shaping the semi-uncial or
minuscule writing, which must have existed before it was adopted by the
Irish in the fifth century and most other barbarians in the sixth. That
semi-uncial, although we find no examples of its use in the empire before
the end of the fifth century, had evidently been the immediate parent of
the first Irish, which only differs from it in the superior evenness and
regularity of the latter. It included the _g_, _r_, _s_, _t_, which are
usually looked upon as special and characteristic letters of the Irish and
Anglo-Saxon alphabet.

After the fifth century Italy ceased to be entirely Roman. In Rome itself,
and in the region subject to the Popes, the production of fine manuscripts
of the old style in capitals and uncials still went on, sometimes written
in gold {27}and on purple vellum; and the modified cursive hand above
referred was applied to the writing of books as well as the writing of
despatches. When this custom began is just what we should like to know,
because it would give us the true origin of all modern minuscule writing or
printing. A specimen, dating from the seventh century, is given in the
Palæographical Society's facsimiles, which is clearly the type that was
followed and improved upon in Central France, in the Caroline period.
Carelessly written as it seems, it indicates that a considerable length of
time had elapsed since the pen had been trained to form alternate light and
heavy strokes, and to give to the curves of the letters an agreeable
roundness, which was wholly missing in the earlier Roman cursive. It does
not seem unreasonable to suppose that such writing was used in books long
before the arrival of the fifth century; but there is no proof accessible.


_The British Isles during the Roman period_

It would have been correct enough to bracket Britain along with Spain and
Gaul in a preceding paragraph, but we cannot venture to claim for this
country any knowledge of writing before the arrival of the Romans. It is
true that a great part of the south of the island was Gaulish, and that the
Gauls of Gaul, who knew how to write, were in intimate relations with the
Britons. Britania was probably a land of Celtiberian population like Spain,
but without such traditions as the Turdetani. It was Romanised very
effectively all over the south, and with the Latin language the people used
Latin letters like their fellows in Gaul and Spain. Like other Roman
citizens, the Britons became Christians, underwent subjugation by pagan
barbarians, and lost their lives or their Latinity, those who escaped
massacre being absorbed by the invaders. So far as writing is concerned,
they have left nothing beyond some lapidar inscriptions; but these and
whatever else they {28}produced in the form of MSS. during the first four
centuries were no doubt as wholly Roman as anything of the kind in Italy.

At so short a distance from the shores of Roman Britain, it is not likely
that the Irish remained letterless till the fifth century of the Christian
era. It is almost certain that the labours of St. Patrick (about the middle
of that century) were but complementary to those of earlier missionaries;
and that the adoption of the Roman alphabet in Ireland may be dated from
the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century. The consummate
ornamental beauty of the MSS. executed in Ireland during the seventh
century, and the testimony given by St. Adamnan (writing about A.D. 670) to
the expertness of St. Columba as a calligrapher (about 550) tend to prove
that the art had been practised for a long time before it attained to such
excellence. The particular merit of the Irish is that they seem to have
developed (out of Roman semi-uncials) a handsome minuscule form of writing
earlier than any other people. The cursive of the Romans had always been an
ugly and ill-decipherable script; and it was only in the seventh century
that even the Italians, under barbarian pressure, evolved a fairly good
readable minuscule. The minuscules of Gaul and Western Germany, called
Merowingian, were still in a formless and primitive rudeness at the time
when the Irish had already attained the elegance of practised penmanship.

The Goths have next to be mentioned, as they and the Irish were the only
two barbarian nations that adopted the Græco-Roman alphabet before the
break-up of the Roman empire.


_The Goths and Germans_

The people who in the fourth century after Christ called themselves
_Gut-thiuda_, _i.e._ Goth-people, had been for many centuries the most
easterly branch of the Germanic race. {29}Down at least to the second
century B.C. their tribes occupied the regions bordering on the Vistula and
the Dniester, extending from the Bay of Dantzig to the Black Sea. At the
north-western end of the line they were in the time of Tacitus known as
Guthones; those at the other end were called Bastarnæ by Polybius and
Strabo, and recognised as _Germans_. The latter people were the first of
their race to become acquainted with civilisation. The amber-trade was
already in the time of Herodotus a vigorous traffic, carried on between the
Baltic and the Greek settlements on the Euxine. It passed through the lands
of the Guthones and the Bastarnæ, and led undoubtedly to the growth of the
form of notation called Runes. The Runic alphabet, inscriptions in which
are numerous in Scandinavia, was evidently deformed from the Greek, and
must have originated about the Dniester some five or six centuries before
Christ. As time went on, that alphabet naturally drifted further and
further north; the Goths and Germans, nearest to the Greeks, having, of
course, less need of it according as their knowledge increased. From the
shores of the Baltic it was carried into Scandinavia, and became the
earliest form of writing in Northern Europe. Mr. George Stephens claims for
the oldest of the extant Norse Runes an antiquity exceeding that of our
era, but a more moderate Scandinavian writer sets the earliest date at
about A.D. 300. In any case, it must be allowed that some form of writing
was obtained by Gothic tribes from Greek traders before the time of Christ,
and that it afterwards found a home in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The
name of _Runes_ is equivalent to that of ciphers or riddles or mysteries,
and we may infer that its real origin was in the cutting of strokes to
express numbers. Runic letters never reached the pen-and-ink stage of other
alphabets, and their records are hardly more than inscriptions upon
tombstones. For that and similar purposes they continued to be occasionally
employed, both in England and Scandinavia, long after the {30}use of Roman
or modified Roman letters had been established in all countries. The
singular variations in form and number and value between runes of different
dates and different places, are easily accounted for by the circumstance
that there can have been no continuous practise of such inscriptions in any
country in which Christianity had already established a simpler script.

Runes do not seem to have come into use among the Western Germans, that is,
the tribes which occupied the region which we now call Germany. Hrabanus
Maurus, in the tenth century, wrote about the runes of the Marcomanni, and
gave figures of them. This has led German writers to assert the existence
of Runic letters among the Suevi in the early days of the Roman empire; but
Hrabanus adds to "Marcomanni" the gloss "quos nos Northmannos vocamus." His
Marcomanni were not the Marchmen of the Roman period. Bede is also said to
have formulated a list of the runes of the Northmen. One reason which
retarded the educational advancement of the Western Germans was that they
never came into contact with the Romans till the beginning of the first
century B.C., and even then only for a short time, in the invasion of the
republic by the Cimbri and Teutones. They were shut away from the Roman
frontiers by the buffer states of Celtic countries, and it was only after
the conquest of Gaul, Rhætia, and Noricum that the Romans came into
continuous conflict with Marcomanni and Suevi. It was Cæsar who first made
the name of Germani historical, and Tacitus who invented Germania as the
name of the country.

The name Germani is, as Zeuss suggests, Gallic for "Neighbours," and was
pronounced _Gármani_ by the Gauls, who had first been asked by the Romans
how their neighbours were called. It is curious that even in this country
the Britons called the invading English _Garmani_, by what Bede supposed to
be a corruption of speech. (The Celts in later days were not Latinised
Britons, and knew nothing of {31}Germans. They made no distinction between
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, but called them all Saxons.)

The name by which the Germans call themselves is not a race name, but
merely the adjective meaning national, native, vernacular. Just as the
Italians afterwards used the phrase _in volgare_ to mean "in Italian," as
distinguished from Latin, so the Germans had the word _diutisc_ or
_thiutisc_ (deutsch) to mean vulgar, as opposed to _walahisc_ or _walesc_
(welsch), which meant Latin. The two adjectives became in time proper
names, with the sense of German and Roman. The Western Germans had nothing
to do with writing till they conquered the Welshmen of Gaul. Consequently,
we proceed to the Gothic alphabet.

After repeated attacks on the Roman empire in the third century, and
repeated defeats, the Goths had extended their seats southwards, and were
resident, in a partly Christianised state, in the lands north and south of
the Danube. Wulfila, or Ulfila, a Goth, said to have been born in
Cappadocia, a man of great ability, who was able to preach in Gothic, in
Greek, and in Latin, thought the time had come to Christianise his
countrymen completely. For that purpose he translated the Bible into the
Gothic language, and created an uncial alphabet, derived partly from Greek,
partly from Latin, and partly from Runic. Of his twenty-seven letters, two
are merely numerals. In the twenty-five that were used for writing, the _c_
(g), _d_, _l_, _p_, and _ch_ have their Greek uncial shapes, the _a_, _b_,
_e_, _f_, _h_, _i_, _k_, _m_, _n_, _r_, _s_, _t_, and _z_ may be called
Latin uncials; the _q_ resembles our capital _u_, but is plainly an
adaptation of the Greek _koppa_, the _th_ seems to be modified from the
Greek _ph_, but may have easily been the Greek _th_; a Roman G is inserted
in the alphabet in the place of the Greek _Ksi_, and seems to have been
used as _gh_ or _Y_ consonant; a Greek Y is used for the Runic angular P
which represented the Teutonic _w_; an o with a dot in the centre stood for
_hw_; and the vowels O and U appear as [Symbol: 8 without bottom half-loop]
and [Symbol: inverted U]. The Gothic _th_, _hw_, _w_, _o_, {32}and _u_ are
found in the Runic alphabet, from which Ulfila must have borrowed them. So
far as it was possible to him he avoided the letters of his pagan
ancestors, but for certain sounds existing in Gothic, and not in Greek or
Latin, he was compelled to fall back upon the Runes. Just in a similar way,
the Anglo-Saxons two hundred years later, when adopting the Irish-Roman
alphabet, were obliged to add the necessary _th_ and _w_ from the same
Runic source.

The Gothic letters of Ulfila were used for about two centuries by the
so-called Ostrogoths, all the extant manuscripts of the Gothic Bible having
been written in Italy in the sixth century, the famous Silver Gospels of
Stockholm included. Of the Visigoths who had preceded the Ostrogoths in
Italy, but gone onward thence to fix their rule in Southern Gaul and Spain,
we have nothing to show that they ever made use of the Ulphilan alphabet.
Their coins of the sixth and seventh centuries bear inscriptions in debased
Roman capitals; and the so-called Visigothic writing in manuscripts of the
eighth to the twelfth centuries is simply Spanish-Roman. The use, in modern
times, of the word Gothic to indicate special forms of writing and
architecture is very absurd, but the phrase has become convenient. In so
far as writing is concerned, we may continue to use the word gothic (with a
small g) to denote the angular "black letter" of the fourteenth, fifteenth,
and sixteenth centuries.


_Irish and British writing_

Of the various species of national writing which were evolved from Roman
calligraphy, and which, from the seventh century onwards, are divided by
palæographers into Lombardic and Visigothic, Frankish (Merowingian), and
Irish (Hibernian and Anglo-Saxon), the Irish was probably the first to
attain a distinct type of its own. There would be {33}inherent probability
in the notion that the Irish alphabet and the Irish style of ornament were
created in Britain and transferred to Ireland in the fifth century when the
English arrived. Professor Westwood seemed to regard the idea with favour
but hesitated in giving it full expression. He says "it may be observed
that the earliest of the sculptured Christian stones of Wales exhibit the
same system of ornamentation, _as well as the same style of writing_, as
the Irish MSS. which are, in all probability, of a somewhat more recent
date." One will naturally seek to test the value of this observation by
examining the writer's Lapidarium Walliæ. In that work, however, no
substantiation will be found. There are a couple of instances in which
sculptured stones bearing names, which are assigned by Bishop Stubbs to the
ninth century, are said by Prof. Westwood to be _perhaps_ of the sixth or
seventh; and that is all. On the contrary, the one salient fact observable
in the Lapidarium is, that all the inscriptions of the Roman and early
post-Roman time are in pure Roman capitals, while the inscriptions upon
sculptured stones in minuscules resembling the Irish alphabet, all belong
to the period when the Angles and Saxons were in full possession of Irish
calligraphic and artistic models--that is, _after_ the seventh century. The
Britons of the fifth century, at least all over the Southern half of the
island, were a Romanised people as much as the Gauls, and it would be
ridiculous to expect Celtic provincial art in the home of Roman culture.
They were exterminated or absorbed in the east and middle of the island by
the Germanic invaders, and they were harried out of the west by their Cumri
kindred from the north, and by pirate Scots from Ireland. The latter part
of the fifth century and the whole of the sixth and part of the seventh,
formed a period during which the inhabitants of Cambria can have produced
little or nothing in the way of letters or art. It was probably not till
the beginning of the eighth century that the Cumri began to identify
themselves with the {34}ancient Britons, and to gather up the legends and
historical traditions of the British remnant as their own. There is a clear
testimony that the Cumri and the Britons were closely akin as a race, but
not identical, in the fact that names beginning with V in British use down
to the fifth century are found to begin with Gu (Gw) in the language of the
Welsh. Guend and Vend were of course two phases of an old Celtic word, but
the former is necessarily the older. Consequently the people who have used
_Gw_ from the fifth to the nineteenth century cannot be the same as those
who had already reached the _V_-stage in the first century. They were close
relatives undoubtedly, but had little in common beyond their racial
affinity and the original homogeneity of their speech. It may be surmised
that the Briton found no more kindness in his Cumric stepbrother, or his
Irish cousin, than in the fierce strangers who called him a Welshman
(because they found him talking Welsh, _i.e._ Latin).

Bede, in spite of his Romanist tendency, and his Romanist aversion to the
practice of the Celtic church with regard to the Paschal festival and the
tonsure, gives clear evidence that in the middle of the seventh century
"many Englishmen of the noble and the meaner sort" resorted to Ireland, and
dwelt there for the purpose either of study or of leading a religious life
(divinæ lectionis vel continentioris vitæ gratiâ), and states that "the
Scots received them all most willingly, giving them their daily food
without charge, _also books for reading_, and gratuitous instruction." The
Angles were apt pupils. They learned to write and ornament books of their
own in the Irish manner, and they had Irish monks in their new monasteries
who fostered the art. By the close of the seventh century, there were
expert penmen among the Anglian monks, and during the eighth century,
although the very close adherence to Irish models is the feature of most of
the ornamental manuscripts, they began to strike out a new and
characteristic line of their own in which they soon surpassed their
masters. This was in {35}figure-drawing, in miniatures painted with a
mastery of design which was altogether unknown to the Irish. The heads or
figures which appeared in Irish illuminations were merely accessory and
subordinate to the scheme of decoration, utterly contemptible as
delineations of human form. In the Anglo-Saxon miniatures of the period
which began--say about 750 and continued to the eleventh century, there is
a distinct national school, in which the over-anxious treatment of
draperies and the striking addiction to light green pigment, are prominent
characteristics. The style gives a sort of general impression that it had
been formed upon a Byzantine model, but the probability is that the later
classical survival in Italy in the seventh century had helped to form the
Anglo-Saxon taste as well as the taste of the Carolingian school. A
similar, but ruder, expression of the same Anglo-Saxon method of
illustration appeared in German work of the tenth and eleventh centuries;
and as this had its parentage in the French Carolingian art of the ninth
century, we may suspect that the tendency which brought that art to its
perfection in the time of Charles the Bald, had begun in Gaul before the
time of Charles the Great, that is, earlier than the usual date of its
sudden genesis. This conjecture would make the production of books
illustrated with miniatures synchronise in France and England, and thus
obviate the difficulty of supposing that the Anglo-Saxons invented the art
and carried it to perfection within a century of their learning how to
write. It is sufficient glory for them to have converted the artistic
movement of the time into a national school of painting unmistakable with
any other, at a time when the calligraphical schools of central and
Southern France, under an enlightened Frankish emperor, and with far
superior opportunities, were labouring for a Gallo-Roman renaissance.


{36}_Origin of Mediæval Illumination_

Books in the classical period had of course been ornamented with
illustrations, but the illumination of books (in the mediæval sense) did
not originate with the Græco-Roman calligraphers of the Empire. We cannot
suppose that it sprang into life in Ireland, but certainly its first
European manifestation was in Irish MSS., and the art had not been received
by the Irish from any of the European nations. The only alternative is,
however, far fetched, that Christian missionaries from the East (or with
Eastern training) had preceded St. Patrick and brought with them those
characteristics of Syro-Egyptian art which are traceable alike in Irish and
in Byzantine work. The documentary period of writing in Ireland is of
course later than the actual practice of the art in that country, but it is
earlier than amongst any other of the unromanised barbarians. Adamnan,
writing about A.D. 670, relates the life of St. Columba (dead in 598) and
describes the writing materials which that saint had used in his
scriptorium in the island of Hy. As he had learned to write in Ireland and
had begun his priestly career there before 540, we may place the
historically ascertainable use of writing in Ireland as beginning with the
early years of the sixth century. Irish monks carried the art to Britain,
to Gaul, to Germany; and those elaborate and intricate patterns to which
the French give the names of "lettres perlées, lettres brodées, spirales,
noeuds, et entrelacs, initiales ophiomorphiques, ichthyomorphiques," &c.,
and which they claim as indigenous productions of Carolingian France in the
early part of the ninth century--were fruits of the teaching of Irish
missionaries, in the houses which they founded in Britain and all over the
continent in the seventh century.

Some of the remarks in the preceding section will be found in strong
disagreement with the authority of Professor {37}Westwood, whose work on
the Anglo-Saxon and Irish miniatures is such a splendid testimony to his
zeal and ability. His conjectural dates are, however, frequently
misleading. An instance is that of the so-called Bible of St. Gregory,
figured on his plates 14, 15. In the text he says that Sir Frederick Madden
had declared the MS. to be "unquestionably of the eighth century," but he
prefers to call it of the seventh, in agreement with Casley and Astle (who
thought so in the last century!). He ought to have accepted the opinion of
a recognised master in palæography like Sir Frederick, so far as the
writing is concerned, in preference to that of two men living at a time
before the science had attained anything like exactness in England. He
ought also to have seen or felt, while making his elaborate facsimile, that
the nearest parallel to the style of illumination of his "first page of
Luke" is to be found in Carolingian work executed about 800; and that no
great space of time could separate the two examples. The English work was
probably the earlier, but it can hardly have been accomplished before 770.
The purely Irish patterns in the columns supporting the arch, with the
excellent picture of St. Luke that surmounts it, prove by their combination
that the work is Anglo-Saxon of its second and finer period, that is after
the phase in which it was merely and wholly imitative of the Irish. With
these considerations in view, and a remembrance of Bede's words quoted
above in relation to Anglian education in Ireland about A.D. 650, the
assignment of the Bible of St. Gregory to the seventh century is a pure
absurdity.--Again, Westwood's facsimile from the Golden Gospels of
Stockholm, bears the attribution "Sixth Century? Ninth Century?" while its
position in the book, as the first plate, tends to show that Professor
Westwood leaned to the earlier date. Yet the book is unquestionably not
Irish; its artistic illustration is a singularly fine development of
Anglo-Saxon art--think of Anglo-Saxon art and chrysography in the sixth
century! The writing cannot be {38}mistaken for Roman uncials of the sixth
century; it is plainly in Carolingian uncials of the latter half of the
eighth. The book seems to have been illustrated by an Anglian hand, and
written by a Frankish one,--probably on the continent rather than in
England.

Books in Irish or Saxon-Irish writing are found all over the continent. As
they were written in monasteries founded by Irish missionaries during the
seventh and eighth centuries, they only indicate that a succession of Irish
or of Saxon monks continued to make their way for a considerable period to
France, Germany, and Italy. The writing can hardly be said to have left any
traces in the various national hands of those countries, but the Irish
house at Bobbio probably transmitted the use of the interlaced
ornamentation which revived in Italy several centuries later.

Most of the motifs of decoration in the illuminated Carolingian,
Visigothic, and Lombardic MS. were derived from the Irish methods of
ornamentation introduced through monastic houses and schools established by
Irish monks on the continent. French writers deny their indebtedness to
foreigners for it, since, as they say, the pattern was always at hand in
the tessellated and mosaic pavements of Gallo-Roman architecture. But there
is something of unnecessary vanity in the denial. The Irish MSS. of the
seventh century are the first in Europe which contain decorative initials
of the kind. This fact is indisputable, and is not affected by the question
of original derivation, which in my opinion is to be sought for in the east
among those Hellenised Syrians and Egyptians who were the propagators of
Christian art as well as Christian religion in the west.


_Merowingian, Lombardic, Visigothic_

These names, applied to varying styles of writing, are without historical
exactness. Roughly speaking, the first {39}means the debased Roman used in
Gaul and Western Germany from the sixth to the eighth century, the second
was the script of the larger part of Italy (but chiefly the east and the
south) between the ninth and the twelfth centuries, the third was the
national hand of Spain and Languedoc during the eighth to the twelfth
century. The names are based upon erroneous historical assumptions. The
Frankish kings, supposed to be descended from Merowig, carried with them
across the Rhine no graphic system whatever. They found in Gaul the
identical styles of writing which were used in Italy, and such of their
people as gave up the trade of warriors to assume that of clerics and
councillors, were obliged to learn the arts of the Gauls. The circumstances
under which the new kingdom was established as a permanent institution,
were not such as to make the Franks a nation of penmen; and the influence
of their bad taste in calligraphy could hardly have been felt till the
beginning of the seventh century. Their Gallic underlings continued to
write as before, but in the absence of enlightened patronage, the schools
of art no longer produced good work, except in the monasteries of the
Provincia Romana, where less deterioration took place than elsewhere. The
Frankish monarchy was so widely extended throughout the territories
stretching from the Loire to the Main, and along the whole course of the
Rhine from south to north, even in "Merovingian" times, that the use of the
word to designate a special style of writing is hardly desirable. It is
probable enough that in the seventh century and the early part of the
eighth a kind of uniformity existed in the writing used in all the region
between Paris and Mentz, but it was nothing else than Roman uncials,
semiuncials, and minuscules written in more or less cramped and graceless
fashion; varying only in the degree of badness according to the locality.
It is Roman cacography with a Germanic stamp upon it. There was a decided
improvement in it when the eighth century was in progress.

{40}The Lombardic hand is also a Roman hand as written by or for barbarians
who lived nearer to the centre of civilisation than the Franks did. To
justify its name it would be necessary to show that it originated and was
practised in the region we call Lombardy in the seventh century. There is,
however, no trace of its existence before the ninth century, and very
little show of its having been used to any extent in Cisalpine Gaul. Most
of the surviving examples of its employment as a national or local script
indicate Eastern and Southern Italy as its home during the ninth to the
twelfth century; while most of the manuscripts produced in Lombardy and
northern Italy during that time belong rather to the Carolingian type. In
fact, the Carolingian minuscule, the Visigothic minuscule, and the
Lombardic minuscule all show at their beginning so much similarity that we
look for examples of the latter two sufficiently early to decide a doubt
which arises--which of the three was the fountain head of modern letters.
The chief marks of distinction in the Lombardic through its whole career
are the _t_ shaped nearly like _a_, and the _a_ shaped like _cc_. The
Visigothic _t_ is identical with the Lombardic; and in the _a_ there is so
little unlikeness that the form of the letter seems to be something halfway
between _u_ and _cc_. (It is equivalent to _cc_ without their beaks or
initial knobs.) The circumstance that two scripts so widely removed in
place should retain common peculiarities, down to the very end of their
severed existence, leads to a suspicion that the so-called Lombardic was
probably a post-Ulfilan Ostrogothic. The peculiarities referred to, and
some others which need not be specialised, are also found in the "Merowing"
writing of books produced west of the Rhine in the seventh century. Now as
Carolingian writing is quite free from these peculiarities, we can safely
conclude that the Lombardic and the Visigothic are both older than the time
of Charles the Great. It is usually supposed by those who see the
difficulty attaching to the use of the name Lombardic, that the mode {41}of
writing so styled was used in the kingdom of the Longbeards, but died out
in its chief home after the conquest by the Franks, and only maintained a
continued existence in the Neapolitan duchies held by princes of Lombardic
origin. The suspicion hinted at above becomes stronger when we review these
facts. The Lombards were a far rougher and more uncultivated race than the
Goths, and found a Gothic-Roman script in use in Italy when they entered to
destroy the kingdom of Theodoric. It was probably in Ravenna that the
so-called Lombardic minuscule had its seat during the sixth century, side
by side with the declining Gothic uncial of Wulfila. From Ravenna, its
spread over the east and south of Italy would be much more easily effected
than from Milan or Pavia; and its undeniable similarity to the Visigothic
script of Spain leads to the belief that these two were the real Gothic
writing of the early Middle Ages, as distinguished from the Moesian
alphabet, which cannot have endured much longer than the reign of Theodoric
himself. The hand which is called broken Lombard belongs to a later time.
Its characteristic is an attempt to produce an ornamental wavy effect by
suspending the weight of the pen-stroke in the middle of each descent, but
the forms of the letters remain unchanged. It was a fashion of Neapolitan
writing in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and seems to correspond in
its own school with that tendency in the schools of northern countries
which produced the angular "gothic" of the thirteenth. As has been remarked
in another paragraph, the "Lombardic" flourished even in Italy, side by
side with the pure Carolingian, which had become the most favoured of all
handwritings since the Empire of the West was renewed in the family of
Charles the Great. The Carolingian, however, seems to have encroached to no
more southerly point than Rome itself, leaving all the region beyond to its
Lombardic rival.

Of the Visigothic, as of the Lombardic, it has to be said that, so far as
extant specimens are concerned, it might {42}well have been the offspring
of the Carolingian, rather than an elder form of writing. Its kinship,
however, to "Merowingian" and "Lombardic" is undeniable, and there is a
very fair show of probability that the Visigoths had something to do with
it, notwithstanding the fact that we only know it in examples later than
the destruction of the Gothic monarchy in Spain. What the term Visigothic
means we do not know. Most people think it meant West Gothic, and that is
how it was interpreted by Jornandes, who, as an Italian Ostrogoth of the
sixth century, ought to have been capable of understanding the sense of the
word. It is, however, very uncertain; for Jornandes, though intelligent and
well-informed, was not impeccable even as regards his Gothic kinsmen. Most
of his knowledge was derived from his Latin education, and to him probably
we owe a good many misconceptions, arising from his acceptance of various
geographical names in Latin and Greek writers as referring to his own
people and their kindred. Nothing which he has said has had a more enduring
influence upon opinion than the statement that Scandinavia, the "vagina
gentium," had bred all the barbaric tribes which overpowered the Roman
empire. Of course, he knew nothing of Scandinavia beyond the vague facts
that Goths, Heruli, Burgundians, Lombards, and Cimbri inhabited the
southern shores of the Baltic, and that there was a vast land beyond that
sea. Everything that descended from the north seemed to have come down from
Scania, or Scandinavia. He did not know, as we do, that the climate of
Scandinavia must have been at that time much more severe than now, and that
the population of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark cannot have reached in the
fourth and fifth centuries to anything like its present numbers. The
movements of that age, which carried millions of warriors to Greece, Italy,
France, Spain, and Africa, represented a wave of emigration, caused by an
overflow of population, beginning in the far East, on the confines of
China, of which the typical originators, so far as {43}Europe is concerned,
were the Huns. No such overflow was possible from Scandinavia.

The Visigothic script had certainly not yet come into existence when the
kingdom of Alaric had its capital at Toulouse in the fifth century. After
the Franks had driven the Goths southward, and the monarchy was established
in Spain (incorporating the Suabians, who had held a separate state in
Portugal), we may suppose that the Visigothic hand was derived from that of
the Ostrogoths, and used in the service of the Gothic monarchs until their
dynasty was destroyed by the Saracenic conquest in 713. From that time
onwards to the twelfth century it was employed in all the Christian lands
of Spain, although, as in Italy, the Carolingian script began to be
introduced in the ninth century. The two kinds of writing went on side by
side, the Carolingian always gaining ground as time went on, until in the
thirteenth century Spain fell into line with the other countries of Europe
in adopting a sort of French "angular gothic."


_The Carolingian Renewal_

The renewal of art and learning in Gaul in the second half of the eighth
century is ascribed to the patronage of Karl the Great and his descendants.
He was a man of extraordinary gifts, and few figures of equal majesty have
ever appeared on the stage of history. King of the Franks and the Lombards,
Roman Emperor of the West, a great conqueror, a wise statesman, and a man
of learning, he has left his name even in the annals of palæography. It can
hardly have been in the beautiful Roman handwriting which is called after
him that he transcribed the Frankish ballads or set down the rules of
Frankish grammar, as he is said to have done. He was fond of practising
with his pen, but, as Eginhart says, the study was begun too late in life
to be cultivated with success. He had excellent taste, however, {44}and
bestowed generous rewards upon the calligraphers who worked for him. His
usual home was at Aachen, and his palace there contained a library and a
scriptorium, in which scribes were always busy. A greater school of
calligraphy was in the Abbey of St. Martin at Tours, directed by the famous
Alcuin, under the Emperor's patronage. It was at Tours, undoubtedly, that
the Carolingian writing reached the stage at which it became the model for
all succeeding time, and Alcuin was almost certainly the man who introduced
the Irish-Saxon fashion of decorative ornament, as practised in York when
he resided there with Archbishop Egbert. A great deal of the learning which
(with some latitude of phraseology) has been attributed above to the
Emperor, was due to the frequent lectures upon all branches of science
which Alcuin was in the habit of delivering when he and his patron were
together--usually at Aachen. Karl did not spend much of his leisure time in
the France which regards him as her own prince. He is believed to have
founded the University of Paris, but he did not regard the city on the
Seine as equal to Rome or Arles. It was not included in the twenty-one
metropolitan cities of his empire.

Wherever the movement arose which produced the beauty of Carolingian work,
we can have no difficulty in declaring it to have been in central or
Southern France, not in the Rhenish territories. That contemporary
calligraphers would have followed the lead was to be expected, whether they
worked at Aachen or at Metz, or at Trier or elsewhere; but the real
perfection of the style must have been attained in those parts of France
which were most nearly connected with Provence. The uncials of Carolingian
work were imitated from Roman work of the fifth century, the capitals from
Roman inscriptions of the empire, and the minuscules were improved from the
two contemporary Italian scripts in which they were found, that is the
Papal Roman and the Gotho-Lombard. The art was cultivated (and we may allow
that it had been so cultivated for many years before Alcuin's {45}arrival)
so carefully that a fine æsthetic sense had arisen, and every letter of all
three kinds was drawn with an elegant simplicity and truth which the world
has never ceased to admire. The letters are upright and wholly without
angularities, and are quite free from the mannerisms by which in the two
Gothic hands of the time certain unessential portions of the outline were
dwelt upon and made over-prominent, to the deterioration of the graphic
form. Fine as the writing is in the time of the great Emperor, it is still
finer throughout the half century or so which followed his death, in all
the Gallic centres.

At the same time, the decoration of manuscripts, otherwise remarkable for
their calligraphical excellence, with illuminated initials, border
ornamentation, and miniatures resembling in character those of the
Anglo-Saxon school but infused to a greater degree with the feeling and the
style of late classical art, render the Carolingian French school of the
ninth century one of the most splendid in the history of palæography.

The scripts of Spain and Italy lived on for centuries uncorrected in
certain peculiarities by the example of Carolingian writing, but gradually
drawing nearer, and visibly improved in manner. This was brought about by
the introduction into both countries of pure Carolingian work, practised
simultaneously with the native styles, and constantly increasing in
influence. In England the Carolingian type won but little ground,
notwithstanding the Romanising tendencies of Winchester and Canterbury and
the Southern monasteries in general. It was not till the tenth century that
certain signs of Carolingian influence are seen in the writing of Latin
charters, and it was only in the twelfth century that the handwriting of
Northern France and of England began to take an identical character. In
Germany, of course, Carolingian writing was an inheritance, but it was
never cultivated with the same elegance as in France. The letters began
gradually to slope and grow {46}narrow, and to take small projections at
the extremities which by and bye became medieval gothic forms.


_A Review at the standpoint of the Ninth Century_

The middle ages began with the establishment of barbarian monarchies over
the area of the Roman empire of the west; and with the middle ages began
the final and the most important chapter in the history of manuscripts. The
study of manuscripts, for most persons, is confined to the period between
the twelfth century and the sixteenth; since it is not given to everyone to
make pilgrimages to the museums scattered over Europe, for the purpose of
looking at the earlier and rarer examples of writing. Besides, the chief
interest of the study lies rather in the decoration than the calligraphy of
manuscripts; and it was not till the fourteenth century that the production
of such work became so large and general as to leave a sufficient number of
specimens readily accessible to modern inspection. The history of
illuminated manuscripts begins in Ireland in the sixth century, that first
phase being the application to written books of a system of Oriental
decorative ornament which had previously been confined to architectural
work. It spread into England in the seventh century, a little later into
Gaul and Germany, and a new phase began in the eighth century by a happy
combination of Romanesque pictorial design with the more purely decorative
features of barbaric art. In the ninth century England and central France
were easily ahead of all the other barbarian states. In Germany, in
Aquitaine, in Spain, and in Northern Italy, the same system was followed,
but with a prevailing stamp of barbarism, especially in the design of the
human figure, which affords a striking contrast to the refined luxury of
Carolingian art and the more sober splendour of English work. The only
parallel was in Byzantium and Alexandria, where a similar combination had
led to a nearly similar {47}effect, with this difference however, that the
decorative illumination was a far less prominent feature than the pictorial
designs. Roman Italy and Roman Provence still kept aloof from the new
movement. The classical traditions which survived there permitted the
production of MSS. written in gold, and perhaps also illustrated with
pictures, such as had constituted the splendour of books in the first five
centuries; but the immixture of decorative patterns from architectural
design, which formed the art of _illumination_, was a thing of alien
character to the taste of the older school. Examples of course were
produced both in Rome itself and in Provence of the new mode of
illumination, but they are to be ascribed to the barbarian element which
was encroaching there as elsewhere, and which finally triumphed.


_Byzantine Work_

The traditions of classical art, which had begun to grow weaker in
Byzantium even before the seventh century, had faded away when the Eastern
Emperor lost all hold upon Italy. Not Athens, nor Rome, but Memphis, seemed
to inspire the later æstheticism of Byzantine art; and the Greek emperors,
from the ninth century onwards, appeared to be the successors rather of a
line of Ptolemies than of Cæsars. When we contrast the sculptures of
ancient Greece, the designs upon Græco-Roman coins, and the pictures in
Pompeii, with the work of Byzantine illuminators, we are inevitably
reminded that the word Greek is rarely appropriate in connexion with MSS.
There is very little of true Greek in the artistic features of
Thraco-Græcian or Ægypto-Græcian work; and it is not to real Greeks or to
real Romans that we owe the handsome Roman and the handsome Hellenic type
in which the texts of the ancient classics are now printed.

In the minuscule writing of Greek, which is usually {48}supposed to have
come into use about the end of the eighth century, there never was the same
calligraphical character as the uncials of an earlier time had exhibited,
nor the same desire to attain symmetrical beauty as was shown over and over
again in the manuscripts of Western Europe. The best writing of Greek
minuscules belongs to the ninth and tenth centuries of our era, in which a
sufficient amount of practice had been gained to ensure regularity of form.
A specimen of such writing, executed towards the end of the tenth century,
probably in Cyprus, will be found in Plate 6. From the eleventh century to
the sixteenth all minuscule writing in Greek looks like a free cursive
written without any calligraphical ambition, and it became more and more
ungraceful as time went on. The value of Greek MSS., however, depends more
upon their contents than upon their beauty, and frequently the
roughest-looking piece of work may command an interest far greater than
attaches to the splendid penmanship of the west.

The recently discovered "Gospel of Peter" is in a curious primitive
minuscule hand, which the editor of the facsimile, Oscar von Gebhardt,
ascribes hesitatingly to the eighth or ninth century, as had already been
done by H. Omont. It would not be surprising if other scholars were to
assign it to the seventh century, and thereby throw back the age of Greek
minuscule writing to a century or more behind the date usually fixed for
it. The mingling in that curious Christian document of many uncial forms,
with a set of minuscular letters that betray a want of familiarity with set
minuscules, seems to prove that the book is older than the eighth century.
This observation is made, not from any desire to be critical, but simply in
order to show that the question of age, mentioned in the preceding
paragraph, is a thing which is still not finally settled.


{49}_The Tenth Century_

The Irish school of writing, after its triumphs of the seventh, eighth, and
ninth centuries, lost much of its home-life in the midst of the struggles
with the Norsemen. In England and on the continent its influence was still
felt for some time longer; even in the thirteenth century many of the
Psalters produced by English illuminators have the initial letter B
decorated in the style adopted from the Irish six centuries before. Irish
MSS. of any age are excessively rare; even the comparatively worthless
transcripts of the eighteenth century are in no inconsiderable request.

The English school continued to blend its Irish style of writing with the
illustrative pictures and borders which may have been entirely of native
production in the eighth century, as was seemingly the fact, or may have
originated from the artistic tendencies of Frankish Gaul, as has already
been surmised. They were, in any case, influenced to some degree by
examples of late Roman work, introduced by the Italian missionaries who
came to convert the Saxons of South England after the Angles of the north
had been converted by the Irish monks of Iona. It was really this English
phase of decorative art which blossomed into Anglo-Norman in the twelfth
century.

The French schools were still Carolingian and splendid, but their
pre-eminence was not maintained after the breaking up of the empire of
Charles the Great. The revolutions of the ninth century led to the making
of nations. France ceased to be the Gallo-Roman province of a Frankish
monarchy. A French language and a French nation emerged into existence in
the tenth century, but the grand ornamental and calligraphic work of the
Franco-Gallic time was no longer equalled. The Caroline writing, which
attained its greatest beauty about the middle of the {50}ninth century,
gradually lost its elegant boldness, tending towards angularity and
crampness when the eleventh century had begun.


_Scandinavian Writing_

The Scandinavian countries have not yet been alluded to specifically. The
immense quantity of Runic monuments found in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway,
of all ages, and in England, of and after the Norse period, proves that
Runic writing was almost exclusively Scandinavian. There is now no question
as to the actual origin of the Runic alphabets. They came into existence,
as already said, by reason of the necessities of the amber-traffic between
the coast of the Baltic and the Crimea long before the time of Christ; but
what has survived belongs to the monuments of the North. The real age of
the extant runes does not probably exceed the fifth century. That they were
prized as national characteristics seems to be proved by their continued
use among the Northmen, even after they had come into collision with a
superior civilisation in the British isles.

Christianity was not so easily adopted in Scandinavia as in some other
countries. From the time of the first mission to its ultimate triumph at
least two centuries elapsed, and the result might have been still further
delayed if it had not been for the example of two royal proselytes, Olaf
Trygvason and St. Olaf, who belong to the first half of the eleventh
century. With the first introduction of Christianity, the Norse people also
received the script which they had found in use in England. The colonisers
of Iceland, in the ninth and tenth centuries, carried with them the
language and the writing of Scandinavia; and it was probably the remoteness
of that island from Norway which has caused the preservation in it, down to
the present {51}day, of the old Norse tongue (little modified by age) and
the Anglo-Saxon letters of the tenth century.

In Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the influence of North Germany prevailed in
time over old national tradition, and the gothic hand of the thirteenth
century took the place of the special alphabet. By the time of the
Reformation the writing in Scandinavia had been wholly Teutonised (with
some exceptions too slight to need mention). The most remarkable part of
the change was the exclusion of the _th_ letter from the script of Sweden,
Norway, and Denmark. This tendency, which had for centuries been in growth,
had the remarkable effect of practically confining the old Norse literature
to Iceland, and of making it the apparent home of all the poems and Sagas
which Norway had produced. It was at least the home of most of the literary
men who in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries wrote for the
delight of their kinsmen, in both Norway and Iceland. The great literary
activity in Iceland, at that time and afterwards, produced a large quantity
of MSS., usually written on vellum, and rudely decorated with painted
initials; but of those which remained in the country most have perished. A
relatively considerable number were, however, carried to Denmark in the
sixteenth and later centuries, and have been preserved in museums. Very few
yet remain in circulation, unsecured by public appropriation.


_The Slavonic Alphabet_

Slavonic writing is said to have begun with St. Jerome. To him is ascribed
the invention of the Glagolitic alphabet, a set of symbols for Illyrian
use, which seem to have no affinity to any of the familiar scripts. It
cannot have obtained much currency, notwithstanding the ample sufficiency
of its twenty-eight letters; as otherwise the Cyrillic alphabet (derived
from the Greek, with necessary {52}additions) would never have come into
being. In any case, St. Cyril's alphabet, devised in the ninth century for
the use of the Slovenes in Moravia, quite overpowered the Glagolitic of
Dalmatia, and while the Croats and the Dalmatians, who came under the
influence of the Roman see, retained their Glagolitic only for liturgical
use, the Slavs to the east fell into communion with the Greek Church, and
employed the Cyrillic letters as their national type of writing. It has
lasted to the present time in its old form, in biblical and liturgical
books of which the texts are ancient, but a plainer type, more like the
Greek of to-day, has been adopted for modern literature. The Poles and
Bohemians, and the various Slavs in Germany, have always followed the
custom of Germany in writing. The Russian alphabet is more complex than
that of Servia; but it is only in modern time that the latter has been
simplified. The Bulgarians, since the establishment of their autonomy, have
given up the old Slovene alphabet, and adopted that of Servia.


_The Labour of Mediæval Scribes from the Ninth Century onwards_

The literature which was to afford material for the exercise of the
penmen's skill was restricted within Christian boundaries. It was rarely
that a scribe condescended to make copies of any of the literary work
produced in pagan Rome or Greece. Occasional instances are found which
offer exception to the rule, but as in the ninth century all the men who
knew how to write were, in one form or another, servants of the Church, it
was not to be expected that many among them would help to perpetuate the
pernicious books of the dead heathens. Consequently many of the treasures
of ancient literature perished. The Bible was the substitute; and
innumerable copies were made in the East and the West of the book which has
influenced the world more powerfully {53}than any other production of the
wit of man. In the East, there was a more logical tendency to neglect the
Old Testament and to copy only the New; in the West, it was the custom to
multiply transcripts of the complete Latin Scripture as left by St. Jerome.
Besides the Bible, there were the liturgical monuments. The Sacramentary
which contained the order of sacrifice and adoration in the most solemn
office of the Church, with all the prayers that preceded and followed the
acts of offering and worship, required careful and frequent copying, so
that it should not deviate in the smallest degree from the established
model. The slight changes which constituted differences of use in this part
of the liturgy, and which have distinguished the so-called Gallican,
Mozarabic, Milanese, and Celtic churches as at least co-æval with (and
possibly older than) the Latin church of Rome, began to lose their historic
distinctness in the ninth century and soon faded away. The survival of
belated and rare examples (by the grace of papal sanction) at Toledo and at
Milan, is but an antiquarian curiosity without any significance. Rome
triumphed in the ninth century, and the diversities in certain respects
which have been dignified in England and elsewhere with the name of "use"
since then, are simply local varieties in unimportant particulars.

Beyond the establishment of the supreme rite of sacrifice on certain holy
days, the Church began, at an early period of its existence, to treat every
day as consisting of so many hours of which some were necessarily to be
yielded up to religious service. The use of the Psalms, and of set prayers,
for that purpose, and the fact that the anniversaries of saints' and
martyrs' deaths had to be borne in remembrance, led to the creation of the
Breviary. Besides this, the office of the Mass itself became requisite for
celebration on every day as well as on the more solemn days, and thus a
variable portion (according to the character of the day) had to be added to
the invariable. Thus enlarged, the volume of the {54}Sacramentary, with all
its lessons from the Bible, and its accumulations of antiphonal phrases,
grew into the Missal as we know it. The Breviary underwent similar
increase, and the result was to make the Liturgy so extensive and so
complex that it gave continual employment in the scriptorium of every
church and monastery all over Europe. There were Psalters, Sacramentaries,
Missals, Breviaries, Lectionaries of several kinds, Hymnals, Graduals
(Books of the chanted antiphonal portions of the Mass), Antiphonaries
(Books of the chanted antiphonal portions of the Hours-offices),
Martyrologies, Homilies, and (at a later time) Rituals, Processionals, and
Pontificals (offices to be performed by Bishops). St. Gregory had been the
latest official arranger of the Sacramentary or Missal, in the seventh
century; but its text was hardly settled till the twelfth century, and the
same may be said of the Breviary. In the ninth century, however, the texts
had grown to something not very different from their ultimate state. Here
was plenty of work for the priestly and monkish scribes.

Besides the Bible and the Liturgy, there were the works of the fathers, and
by-and-by the treatises of the schoolmen and the chronicles of monkish
historians; quite enough, in all conscience, to render useless the heavy
lucubrations of Livy and Trogus Pompeius, and the absurd conceits of the
heathen poets.

Things were not dissimilar in Byzantium. The Liturgy there was even more
complex and extensive than in the West, and the foolish literature of old
Hellas was generally ignored by the men who were engaged in daily study of
the Euchologium, the Horologium, the Menologium, the Archieraticon, the
Synaxarium, the Octoechos, &c. The Bibliotheca of Photius shows, however,
that the race of students who cultivated the old literature was not wholly
extinct.

At all times, both in the East and the West, the letters and charters of
Kings, and diplomatic documents of every {55}kind, needed the service of
trained penmen. This department of graphic labour was not completely in the
hands of churchmen; and it led to the creation of a caste of writers in
every country who were not under the influence of the monkish schools. They
could not afford to spend so much time as the book writers over their work,
and thus a hand of cursive character was established in every chancellery
in Europe, devoted only to the service of the State and never employed for
any other purpose. It was nearly always ugly, sometimes fantastic,
sometimes difficult to be read except by the officials engaged in such
work. From the earliest days of diplomatic writing, in the sixth century in
Italy, down to the seventeenth century in England, it preserved a strange
and fanciful style, first long, thin and narrow letters looking like a
congeries of wandering parallel lines indistinguishable without a glass,
and finally letters of proper size, but so disguised in shape as to be
indecipherable without a special training. At only one period, that is, in
the late eleventh and in the twelfth century, was diplomatic writing fair
and readable. That was in England and Northern France; but even here, the
upright strokes of letters like l, and d, and b, were elongated to an
enormous extent, and in their sweep offered to the scribe his few
opportunities of ornamentation. As our business, however, is with books we
leave the charters and the rescripts on one side, and proceed to the
consideration of the main character of the calligrapher's work.

The Bible and the Liturgy for churchmen have been spoken of as the chief
objects of reproduction among the scribes for many centuries. It was not
till the twelfth century that their labours required to be augmented for
the service of laymen. Men (and women) who could afford the expense, or
whose position demanded that they should have prayerbooks for their own
use, whether they could read ill or well or not at all, were furnished with
Latin Psalters, to which were added, at the end, the Athanasian {56}Creed,
a Litany of Saints, some general prayers, and the office for the Dead. They
were extracts from the Breviary for the use of persons who only prayed
occasionally. The growth of something like education, and a religious
desire to share to a somewhat greater extent the communion with Heaven
which was monopolised by monks and priests, caused a further extension of
calligraphic labour towards the beginning of the fourteenth century. The
Psalter with its scanty additions was no longer sufficient for pious
laymen. A larger selection of prayers and lessons from the Breviary was
concocted; the offices of the Virgin, of the Cross, of the Holy Ghost, and
of some special saints were united to form the Book of Hours. It was
nothing like the severe and frequent task of orisons with which the monks
performed their duties at the canonical Hours of the day and night, but it
was sufficient for the most zealous laymen and laywomen; and it became the
private Prayerbook of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and early sixteenth
centuries. During that period it was produced in countless thousands of
manuscripts in England, France, Flanders, Italy, and to a less extent in
Germany and Spain. In England it was called Horæ Beatæ Mariæ Virginis, or
Book of Hours, or Primer; in France always Horæ, or Livre d'Heures; in
Italy it was Officium B.V.M., and in Flanders and Holland Ghetijden. The
Gebetbuch of Germany belongs chiefly to the fifteenth century, and was
nearly always in German, while in France, Flanders, and England, prayers in
the vernacular only crept in gradually here and there. (In Italy the book
always continued to be written in Latin only.) In the English Hours or
Primer the vernacular portions became at last so important that it was
found advisable to issue many of the printed Primers in the sixteenth
century in bilingual form, Latin and English; and it was undoubtedly this
tendency both in England and in Germany which produced the Reformation. It
was not so much the desire for a Reformation of the Church--even Boccaccio,
himself a churchman, {57}and many others of his kind had wished for
_that_--as an invincible demand for a vernacular liturgy, which widened
through opposition into an eagerness to sweep away everything that opposed
it. Hence the break with Rome, which still imperiously demanded the
uniformity that could only be maintained by the use of a single language
throughout Europe. The few exceptions to the rule which ecclesiastical
policy had ever allowed were in the concession to the affiliated Greek,
Slavonic, and Oriental congregations of a right to use their own vernacular
liturgies. The antiquity of the Greek and Syriac formulas, on the one hand,
the utter impossibility of making Latin familiar even to the priests of the
Slavic and Oriental churches, and the certainty that a denial of their
needs would throw them into the Byzantine fold--account for Papal
acquiescence in that respect. But the Popes could not see that England and
Germany, which had from so early a time been the seats of Roman colonies
and the homes of Latin churches, likewise needed a liturgy that the people
could understand; and that the Teutonic speech of the north had no such
generic sympathy with the language of the Roman liturgy as the rustic Latin
tongues of Italy, Spain, and France.

The Canon Law, deriving from the remains of the apostolical constitutions
and the acts of the Councils, the Penitentiaries which had been formulated
by bishops for the government of Christianised barbarians, and the decrees
of Popes, began to take shape as a Code in the eleventh and twelfth
centuries. The existence of forged documents among the decretals was a
matter of no great importance. Everything was sufficiently old to be
respectable; and the schools of law, which had never given up the study and
cultivation of the Civil Code (digested in Justinian's time from the
various works of the old Roman jurists), set to work to arrange and gloss
the Canon Law. The two Codes, especially the Ecclesiastical, provided the
scribes of Western Europe with an enormous amount of work. Bologna,
{58}Padua, Paris, and Oxford were renowned for their lawyers and their
schools of law; with the accompanying armies of students and copyists.

Christian poets, too, were not lacking. From the time of Lactantius
onwards, the quantity of metrical Latin work done by churchmen was very
large; and the lyrical yearning inherent in all societies had produced an
immense hymnology, which comprised a great deal of real poetry--most
poetical and most charming when least Ciceronian. Here, again, was rich
material for the copyists of the scriptorium; and both Hymnals and Lawbooks
lent their aid towards the gradual tendency of students to go back and
investigate the ancient sources of literature and philosophy and history.
Pliny had never been wholly forgotten, even in the most anti-pagan times,
and the treatises on natural science which had appeared among the
schoolmen, all stimulated curiosity to learn what had been written before
the days of Constantine. The result of these intellectual tendencies made
the fourteenth century a dawn of the Renaissance, and with the beginning of
the fifteenth a large body of heathen literature was annexed to the
libraries of universities, scholars, and monasteries, giving increased
employment to the transcribers who were at that time busy all over Europe.
It was in the thirteenth century that the monks and the priests lost their
monopoly of the practice of ornamental writing; in the fourteenth century
every great city had its ateliers of calligraphers unconnected with the
Church; and when the fifteenth century arrived the trained citizen penmen,
who formed crafts throughout Europe, were probably not inferior in number
to the scribes who worked in ecclesiastical edifices.


_The Illuminated MSS. of the Middle Ages_

This division of our matter is the largest, and is also the most
interesting to the majority of students and {59}collectors. In beginning
it, some repetition will be necessary in order to bring the subject as a
whole before the reader.

Between the ninth century and the sixteenth, the multiplication of MSS. in
Europe was very great, but comparatively few of the ninth, tenth, and
eleventh have been preserved. Beautiful examples of blended writing and
decoration were produced in England in the ninth century by Anglian and
Irish calligraphers in the north, and by Saxon writers in the south. In
York and Durham, and Lindisfarne, the style and the motifs of ornament were
still thoroughly Irish; in the south, although the late Roman had conquered
the Celtic, their collision had produced a singularly fine type of
illumination, reminiscent of Byzantine work, but much more free and
natural. That art had already beautified the Carolingian French school; in
the Carolingian German its influence appears in a weaker and ruder form.
When with the tenth century France and Germany emerged as two distinct
nations from the chaos of the Frankish empire, their modes of
book-decoration began to diverge. The rudeness of an earlier time remains,
with a good deal of spirit, in the illustrative designs produced in
Germany; the beauty of French work began to decay, while the English was at
its best. Winchester, Canterbury, and Glastonbury were the real centres of
English art at the middle of the tenth century; the Norsemen having
destroyed the Anglo-Irish monasteries in the north. This south English
school is considered to have benefited materially by the technical
superiority of French methods. What the north English schools of York and
Lindisfarne had given to Tours in the eighth century, came back to
Winchester at the end of the ninth, refined and embellished. Thus the
supremacy of English art was assured at a time when French art was
declining. The great variety, however, in all countries, of work done by
different men, renders it difficult to draw general deductions. The
calligraphic decoration of "Visigothic" and "Lombardic" manuscripts during
the ninth, {60}tenth, and eleventh centuries is visibly Celtic in origin
and style. Their pictorial illustration is sometimes very striking, and
indicates the existence of several central schools of design in Europe. The
English, the French, the German, the Spanish, and the Italian, had all
certain qualities in common, but the first two were most nearly akin. The
other three schools produced in the eleventh and twelfth centuries books
containing pictures, in which the composition is more remarkable than the
drawing, and the painting is full of barbaric contrasts of colour. At all
times, fine work was to be found in Italy, but only in isolated examples,
and Italy as a whole underwent the same barbarisation as the other
countries. From that stage the English and the French were the first to
emerge. They can hardly be said to have _revived_ any former state of art
in connexion with books. It was with them a real creation. The frequent
reference to Byzantium as having supplied the models for European
illuminated work is misleading. The first sign of actual contact with
Byzantium is in the early part of the ninth century, when certain pictures
produced in Carolingian MSS. show that the painters had been made aware of
the existence of similar Byzantine work. And that is actually all that can
be referred to as direct imitation of Byzantine art. The magnificent early
examples of chrysography on purple vellum were not Byzantine but
Eastern-Roman, and the Roman traditions of the Eastern capital lingered on
into the ninth century, having begun to grow weaker at the end of the
sixth. Italy was nearer and more potent in its influence upon barbaric art
than Byzantium, and there was little difference in book-decoration between
East Rome and West Rome till after the time of Justinian; so far as the
cultivation of the arts was concerned. Consequently there is no need to
look to Byzantium as having supplied models for the rest of Europe to
follow. There is a difference of kind, not merely of degree, between the
_livres de luxe_ of the two Roman empires, and those of the new nations
which began {61}with Irish work about A.D. 600, and ended with Italian and
French work about 1550. The former were books written in gold, perhaps;
perhaps decorated with red ink only; illustrated, maybe, with a picture or
with pictures. The latter were books of which the principal characteristic
was not their bookishness but their decorativeness. A set scheme of
ornament sustained from beginning to end, with due proportion in the
intervals, in which even the pictorial designs were subordinate to the
decorative plan, constituted the value of the illuminated books of the
European middle ages.

Bibles and liturgical books in the twelfth century are remarkable for their
large size and the quantity of decoration with which they were produced. In
Germany, the method of ornament still repeats the Anglo-Saxon type derived
from Carolingian work, and the handwriting is still Carolingian, but the
letters lean forward instead of being upright, their forms are narrowed and
chiselled off by short sharp terminal strokes that give an appearance of
angularity. (An example of the art is given on plate 21.) In Spain, the
beautiful round "Visigothic" letters are still retained, with large
initials of interlaced Celtic pattern, and the illustrative pictures (if
there are any) have the same style as had been developed some centuries
earlier in Aquitaine. The German and the Spanish have a sort of resemblance
by reason of their common origin, but more especially because of the
striking combination of green and yellow in the paintings, the note of
yellow apparently being strongest in the latter, and of green in the
former. The use of green tints predominates likewise in English work of the
eighth-twelfth centuries, but became much more sparing under the influence
of the French school which, after the eleventh century, began to avoid
indulgence in that colour. It never lost its favourite place in German art,
and the MSS. of Holland and Flanders only dropped it when they began to
assimilate French methods in the fourteenth century. England in the twelfth
century {62}produced much finer work than the French. In fact the English
school of that century was the parent of nearly all the art of the
following century. Both in calligraphy and in pictorial designs, it
forestalled the work done in the whole of Western Europe between 1200 and
1300, which has rendered the thirteenth century the most noteworthy in the
history of illustrated MSS. The mode and style of drawing, unfinished by
illumination, which were practised in England towards the close of the
thirteenth century, may be examined in plate 10. Italian work of the same
time is shown in plate 11 to have been much more barbaric and unskilful.
The difference between English twelfth-century work and that of Europe in
the thirteenth century consisted in the large and ample freedom of hand
which marks the former and the delicate minuteness which characterises
alike the writing and the miniatures of the latter. As for style and
quality of work, there is scarcely any difference between them. This new
English school, so admirable in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, had
grown up over the decline of the Anglo-Saxon phase, which, fine as it was,
had still somewhat of a barbaric air about it. The conquest of the Saxon
monarchy by a Duke of Normandy in the eleventh century, and the succession
in the twelfth of a Count of Anjou who united under his sceptre England,
Normandy, and Aquitaine, made this country the centre of French art and
literature for a considerable period. Hence the almost complete identity of
the modes of writing and ornamentation between English and French work in
the thirteenth century. In Central and South-eastern France the style
varied somewhat as will be seen by comparing the examples given on plates 8
and 9. There is no school of art more interesting than the Anglo-Norman, as
it is called, of that time. The illuminated border had not yet established
itself, but the initials, drawn upon a ground of burnished gold or of
diapered tints, enclose painted miniatures looking like very fine
pen-and-ink designs carefully coloured. Bibles thus decorated are very
{63}numerous. As they approach the end of the century, they exhibit now and
then long straight lines, ending in curves or fleurons, which spread from
the pictured initial upwards and downwards, and form a simple border to
more than half the page. This incipient practice increased gradually from
the beginning of the following century onwards. The fleurons became gold
ivy-leaves, and similar leaves were figured as sprouting out from the long
straight border-lines, these lines being extended so as to enclose the page
on all sides. Still the effect was stiff and imperfect, but by the close of
the fourteenth century, a very splendid kind of foliated border was used by
French illuminators. The gold leaves called ivy-leaves were now introduced
in greater number and made to sprout, no longer from the straight border
frame itself, but more naturally out of branches which festooned from the
frame. The ivy-leaf border in this state was very much favoured in French
illumination, but was little used elsewhere. It generally accompanies
pictorial illustration of superior merit, and gives an air of distinction
and elegance to any MS. in which it is found. The French schools of Central
France and of Paris had by the middle of the fourteenth century regained
their lost pre-eminence in art.

The thirteenth century was the first and the finest period of mediæval
"gothic," so far as handwriting is concerned. (The name is a misnomer, but
has a clear recognised sense, and is useful.) The letters are angulated at
their extremities, but the bodies are still rounded and perfectly clear.
The square and lapidar Gothic was introduced in the fourteenth century, and
prevailed during that and the two succeeding centuries. It was a vicious
script, indistinct and difficult to read; and although some examples,
distinct, legible, and handsome, were brought out in the fifteenth century,
the system was generally bad, and there is no reason to regret its
extinction, which took place in France, Italy, and Spain about the middle
of the sixteenth {64}century, and in England somewhat later, although it is
lingering on even now in Germany and Denmark.

The square Gothic of the fourteenth century, however unclear and
objectionable as a script, was not ill adapted to ornamental purposes, as
the vast number of prayerbooks for the laity produced between 1350 and
1400, and throughout the succeeding century, make manifest. Of those
prayerbooks, which for a hundred and fifty years were the chief medium for
displaying the skill of the mediæval illuminator, the number of copies
which were made for individuals or families, as birth-day or wedding gifts,
or for whatever reason, was incredibly large. The existence of such
prayerbooks, well written and decorated with paintings, for private
persons, is enough in itself to show that the office of calligrapher and
miniaturist was a secular trade, and that the "old monks," to whom so many
persons ascribe the writing of the "missals," had long ceased to be the
sole producers of MSS.

Not many of the earlier Books of Hours have survived, that is, of those
which were written between 1300 and 1350; but from the latter date onwards
to 1400 they are not uncommon, and from 1400 onwards very numerous. This
statement refers to French and Franco-Flemish and Burgundian work. Of
English work, there are very few extant anterior to 1400, and the same may
be said of Dutch examples. As for those written in Italy and Germany, it is
only towards the close of the fifteenth century that they are met with. The
English and French Hours produced during 1350-1420 are very different in
their mode of ornamentation. The Gothic writing was pretty nearly the same
everywhere, and the larger illuminated initials had followed one model
since the thirteenth century. These initials (when not historiated with
little miniatures) were painted in colour upon a ground usually of gold.
The space within the letter-forms was filled up with a conventional
flower-pattern, having buds of red and blue tints. At the earlier
{65}period the letter-form has a small extension upwards and downwards, in
a simple style resembling wood-carving. In the fourteenth century this
extension is increased, and the long straight border, with ivy-leaves here
and there, was produced. While that kind of border was in France being
developed into its most elegant phase, a different type was preferred in
England. The gold ground of the initial is prolonged into a stem, around
which twines a corresponding prolongation of coloured foliage springing
from the curved extremities of the initial letter. Thus they form a border
which would be pretty enough in itself, but which is further decorated with
tufts of long feathery grass, tipped with buds, which grow out of the stem
and sweep in graceful curves outside the line of foliage. This feathery
ornament--which, except for the little fleurons in colour here and there,
seems drawn with a fine pen in brown ink--is distinctly English, and was
retained till late in the fifteenth century, side by side with newer
methods borrowed from France. The red and blue, with white lights, which
are used in the initials and capitals by the French illuminators, are in
the English MSS. pink and pale blue, and the white lights are broader.

As soon as the ivy-leaf pattern, with its brilliant gold points, began to
go out of fashion in France, a new kind of border came into vogue. The
conventional red and blue foliage still continued to spring out from the
initials and at intervals below and above; all the intervening space was
filled in with curling and twining tendrils, drawn with a pen or a very
fine brush, forming a kind of hedge, in the midst of which were scattered
here and there little natural flowers and fruits, growing out of the curled
tendrils. This was in use in French and Burgundian and Flemish MSS. from
about 1420-30 onwards, and became a favourite method of decoration in
England towards the middle of the century. At that time, and in that style,
prayerbooks done in the three countries are often much alike, and it is
{66}only the painting of the miniatures and the differences in the calendar
and litany which distinguish them.


_The chief Liturgical Books distinguished_

A word may be said here as to the means of distinguishing the liturgical
MSS., and obtaining an idea of their place of origin. It ought not to be
necessary, but, as a matter of fact, there are many persons of fair
education, and possessing no inconsiderable familiarity with manuscripts,
who call every Book of Hours a "Missal," and who cannot distinguish between
a Breviary and a Missal.

The Missal gives the service of the Mass for the whole year. Its essence
lies in the Canon of the Mass, beginning with the words "Te igitur," which
is preceded by a number of præfationes (some of them general, some of them
appropriated to special occasions), and followed by the Communion and the
concluding thanksgivings. This was in more ancient times the first and the
larger part of the Mass-book, and was followed by a set of prayers, which
in the service itself preceded and led to the Preface, these preliminary
prayers being arranged under the festivals of the year from December to
December. In the Missal, as arranged and enlarged in the thirteenth
century, there are four divisions: 1. De Tempore (Sundays and festivals);
2. Prefaces, Canon, and Ordinary of the Mass; 3. Mass-prayers appropriated
to special Saints' days; 4. Mass-prayers common to all Saints' days. The
chronological order from Advent to Advent (30th November to 29th November)
was followed, except in the case of some of the most solemn and ancient
commemorations, and also of some special festivals that had been appointed
after the original compilement of the Mass-book. These were incorporated in
the part De Tempore, in succession to the text relating to the Advent. At
the end of the fourth part were also added some of the special offices in
regard to the laity, which had to be {67}performed by the priest, such as
matrimony, baptism, and burial.

The essence of the Breviary was the Psalter, which formed the groundwork of
all the forms of devotion used at the Canonical Hours. With the appointed
extracts from the Psalter a number of prayers were used, and these were
divided in exactly the same way as those of the Missal into Temporal (of
Sundays and festivals) in one sequence; and Sanctoral, in two sections,
Proper and Common. The perpetually recurring rubrics of Matins, Lauds,
Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, and Vespers (ad matutinas, in laudibus, ad
primam, ad tertiam, ad sextam, ad nonam, ad vesperas) mark the hours of
their use from midnight to midnight. These headings, repeated from day to
day all over the year, ought to be sufficient even to the least observant
eye to indicate the Breviary. It also contains at the end the offices of
Marriage, Baptism, Burial, &c.; and in some of the Breviaries the office of
the Mass itself (not the whole Missal) is included.

The Book of Hours (or Private Prayerbook) is a selection from the Breviary,
and is likewise marked with the rubrics of the hours (Matins, Lauds, Nones,
&c.), but they are applied only to the offices selected, and do not contain
the chronological divisions, Temporal and Sanctoral, for the year. The
offices are usually those of the Virgin, of the Cross, of the Holy Ghost,
of the Trinity, and these, with the Office for the Dead, and commemorations
of some special Saints, form the chief bulk of the Horæ.

The Calendar, which is found at the beginning, and the Litany (or Litanies)
of Saints, which is found in the body, of each of the three books, are
usually the most obvious sources of information with regard to the origin
of the manuscript. If the _use_, or diocesan form of the liturgy, is purely
Roman, as is sometimes the case even in books written in France, Flanders,
and England, then the search is frustrated. It happens, however, frequently
that even {68}the Roman Calendar and the Roman Litany are enlarged by the
addition of names to which a special local veneration was paid, and then
one is able to discover hints of origin which may indicate either a country
or a diocese. In the French books, the number of French Saints is usually
considerable, that is of French Saints who do not appear in the Roman
calendar, but they are generally gathered impartially from all the
dioceses. It is only when we find that a single diocese furnishes the names
of two or three canonised bishops, or when a name appears in gold in the
calendar which had no special importance for the whole of the country, but
must have had a particular interest in one city or diocese, that we can
begin to think of special attributions. Thus, if St. Ives (Yvo), Ste.
Genevieve, St. Germain, St. Leufroy, St. Louis, S. Faro, St. Ursin, St.
Saintin, St. Saturnin, Ste. Radegonde, St. Fiacre, St. Austrebert, and many
others, are found in the Calendar, and any of them in the Litany, it is a
sure proof of French origin. If St. Saturnin appears in gold in the
Calendar, it serves to indicate Toulouse; if St. Sainctin, Meaux; Martial,
Limoges; Firmin, Metz or Amiens; and if SS. Ursin, Guillaume, and
Austregisile occur together in the Litany, they point out Bourges--all
three having been Archbishops of that see. But in all cases collateral or
cumulative testimony is required.

Saints Vedastus and Amandus (Vaast and Amand), although belonging to
Flanders, may occur either in French or Flemish Calendars; but when they
are combined with Bavo and Bertin, and Quintin and Aldegund, they indicate
Ghent or its vicinity as the place of origin. St. Piat, St. Lehyre (or
Eleutherius), and St. Guillain point to Tournay. St. Valery or Walery
(Walaricus) is another Flemish Saint, as also are Audomar, Gaugericus,
Godeleve, Winnoc, and Amelberga. As for MSS. of Flemish origin, it must be
remembered that the word Flemish is loosely used to designate all portions
of the Low Countries except the {69}purely Dutch provinces, and that Artois
and Picardy and other portions of the French _Pays Reconquis_ of the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were part of them. In the same way
Franche Comté and the Duchies of Burgundy and Lorraine were also outside of
France in the fifteenth century; and Languedoc and Provence and Dauphiné
were late additions to the French monarchy. The words Flemish (in its
fullest sense) and French have therefore to be used with caution. Even
Brittany was only incorporated at the end of the fifteenth century.

Manuscript liturgies of English origin of any date are unmistakable by
reason of the saints' names. St. Thomas a Becket is _not_ one of the
distinctive ones, for he was worshipped everywhere; but all the English
books, whether they be of Roman use, or of Salisbury or York use, contain
the names of SS. Alban, Cuthbert, Aldhelm, Guthlac, Botulph, Grimbald,
Edward, Richard, Edmund, Swithin, Dunstan, Etheldreda, Edith, Winifrid,
Chad, John of Beverley. The names of St. Wilfrid, St. William, St. Hilda,
St. Aidan, St. Bede, and St. Everilda, are proofs of York and northern use;
St. Milburga, St. Guthlac, and St. Thomas Cantilupe indicated Hereford, as
also does St. Osytha, although one name alone is not sufficient. St.
Wulfstan points to Worcester, St. Hugh to Lincoln, but not always. Aldatus,
Kinburga, Egwin, and Elwin, are only found in books of Gloucester or
western origin. St. Erkenwald always indicates London or the south.

Scottish liturgies of the kind are very rare, and contain the names of
saints not elsewhere met with. There can be no doubt as to the origin
beyond the border of a book which either in its calendar or its Litany
gives the names of Kentigern, Ninian, Aidan, Adamnan, Monan, Queen
Margaret, Duthac, and Modoc. Even any one of these names is sufficient,
although Adamnan, Aidan, and Ninian might possibly appear on this side of
the Tweed, as well as St. Adrian who was likewise Scottish.

{70}Special German saints are Gotthard, Lambert (not always), Adelbert,
Bernward, Sebald, Swibert, Cunegund, Hermenegild, Willibald, Kilian,
Hedwig, Wolfgang, Irmin.

Among the saints of the Spanish calendar are Isidore, Ildefonsus, Eulalia,
Raimund, Leocadia, Gumersind, Baldomer, Leander, Braulio, Turibius,
Quiteria, Froilan. There is sometimes a curious coincidence between the
Spanish and the German calendars. The Spanish coincidences with the
calendar of Southern France are more easily to be accounted for.

The Italian saints are always those of the Roman calendar, but St. Zenobio
is seldom found outside of Tuscany. SS. Bernardinus of Siena and Nicolas of
Tolentinum are Italian saints of the fifteenth century more frequently
found in Italian calendars (after 1450) than in calendars of other
countries. In the case of the latter two, their names are sometimes useful
in fixing a limit for the age of a book, because MSS. of the time of their
canonisation are numerous. The dates of beatification of some earlier
saints such as Thomas Becket, Francis, Dominic, and King Louis, are also
occasionally of service; but as a rule the names of the saints in the
calendars are far older than the thirteenth century.


_The Fourteenth Century in Italy and Germany_

To go back to the fourteenth century. In Italy the broken Lombard had given
way to the general adoption of the modern gothic. Some excellent decorative
work began to appear in the borders and miniatures of MSS. executed in
Northern and Central Italy. As a rule in the earlier times, Italian
miniatures were rude in drawing, and barbaric in colour like German and
Spanish work; but in the thirteenth century a distinct Italian type arose,
based at first on imitation of the semi-Byzantine art of Calabria and
Sicily; but soon growing more national under the influence of Giotto. There
is no resemblance in style or manner between the miniatures and borders of
Italian artists, and {71}those of Northern Europe. The figures and faces
are painted with opaque colour, and a broad brush; giving altogether a
stronger impression of representing real men and women, than the exquisite
drawing of the French artists, in which faces were washed with colour after
having had the features drawn in with a pen or a fine brush. (Plate 12
shows the style of illustration used at Venice in the first half of the
fourteenth century, in which there is a curious combination of French-like
calligraphy with the painty miniatures of the home school of art.) There
was in fact more of _modelling_ in the Italian illuminator's work in its
purely national stage from about 1350 to 1450. After the later date a more
subtle and minute delicacy in the drawing altered the character of the
pictorial work. The borders which prevailed during 1320 to 1420 are also
quite different from French work. Broad foliage of architectonic pattern
hangs in soft tints of red and blue from a long upright slender pole like
an ornamental curtain-rod, and little buds or drops of burnished gold fall
here and there within the line of sight, but there is no attempt to fill up
the spaces with any elaborate scheme of twining branches and real leaves
and flowers, as in the French parallels. The writing is usually square and
gothic, but with few of the oblique angles and little projecting points
that are seen in Western gothic. The Lombardic hand of Eastern and Southern
Italy, had left no trace in the script which succeeded it. The round and
beautiful Carolingian letter of North Italy had a distinct influence in
moulding the Italian gothic, and preserving its freedom from Teutonic
angularities. It had lasted longer here than in other countries, but
Spanish Visigothic was also a late lingerer, and did not succumb to French
influence till the thirteenth century.

In Germany, the fourteenth century proceeded as elsewhere to produce a
closely packed difficult Gothic letter, and also to introduce an ugly
cursive which came generally into use in the next century. In decoration,
the old {72}Germanic style had given way to the influence of French and
Italian work, and a sort of new school was created, which in the following
century became distinctively German. The cursive writing alluded to was an
ugly rapid script deformed from the minuscule, which was very largely used
in the fifteenth century, and developed in time the handwriting which still
prevails in Germany, although gradually giving way to the Roman.


_English Work in the Fourteenth Century_

The cursive hand in England, as used between 1250 and 1550 for all
purposes, and in legal documents for a long time afterwards, seems to have
grown up in the early part of the thirteenth century. It is quite unlike
the earlier charter hand, although it must have been derived from it. For
the first century or more of its use, it is remarkable by reason of the
long strokes which are broad and heavy above, but taper into thin lines
below, those heavy heads being bifurcated in the earlier times and looped
in the later. During the thirteenth and a great part of the fourteenth
century it looked handsome, and could be read without difficulty; from the
late part of the fourteenth century onwards it deteriorated both in aspect
and in clearness. Nothing resembling this English hand was used on the
continent, except (in a slight degree) in the notes written sometimes on
the margins of philosophical and legal books, by means of a hard leaden
stylus. Another cursive was also employed, which was merely the rapid
writing of the gothic minuscule, like that of Germany; but this appeared
rather on the continent.

It has been remarked that the Norman conquest introduced a new fashion in
writing; but the observation is too strong. That event led gradually to the
disuse of writing in the angular Anglo-Saxon letters, but had little
influence on the fashion of the script used for writing Latin, which had
become round and clear since the tenth century. The {73}Carolingian
reformation had failed to supersede the Anglo-Irish hand, but its influence
extended far enough to improve the shape even of the purely English
letters. In Ireland, the angular character had fixed its type which has not
since varied.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the English, as has been said
above, began to relinquish the lead in calligraphy and ornamentation, which
they had held since the twelfth. The Latin Bibles which had been produced
towards the end of the twelfth century were usually folios of good size,
written in a large and fine hand, and decorated with miniatures of the type
seen in the Huntingfield Psalter. The fashion of the thirteenth century
inclined to work of smaller dimensions, and the Bibles came out in small
octavo or duodecimo size until the end of the century approached, when
there was a tendency to revert to small folios. In the fourteenth century,
a favourite size was quarto or small quarto. The illustrations in MSS. of
both twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and of the beginning of the
fourteenth, were similar in style, but varying in appearance according to
the space allowed the artist.


_French Work in the Fourteenth Century_

The French took the lead in the fourteenth century, especially during the
second half. There was not much to choose in the writing of the time in any
country, but it was best in Italy. It was in the dainty adornment of their
illuminated MSS., and in the fine and delicate beauty of the pictorial
designs, that the French school now assumed its place of pre-eminence. The
Apocalypse was a favourite book in the first half of this century, as it
had been in the twelfth, and artists delighted in drawing pictures of its
strange visions. These pictures were seldom quite original in design, since
the earliest delineations had acquired a sort of traditional authority, but
they were sufficiently variant in {74}particulars to exhibit the strength
of the artist. Diapered and chequered patterns came more prominently into
fashion along with the older use of burnished gold, for backgrounds; and a
great deal of excellent work was done. An example from a French Apocalypse
is given on plate 13. In most cases, the picture was drawn with a fine
brush and the colours delicately washed in afterwards. French artists
attained to singular perfection in this dainty method of illustration, and
nothing of the kind excels some of the superior specimens. Amongst them
will be found a number of charming Books of Hours executed at Bourges,
Tours, and Paris, for Charles V of France and his brothers. Whatever may be
thought of the beautiful paintings in Flemish and Italian MSS. at the end
of the fifteenth century, it is undeniable that the last thirty years of
the fourteenth produced French work which will hold its own against the
illumination of any period or of any country. It is curious as showing how
little the warfare against Edward III had affected the progress of art in
France.


_The Fifteenth Century_

The second half of the fourteenth century saw a dynasty of French princes
established in the Duchy of Burgundy, and the union of the states which had
belonged to the Counts of Flanders, to the Duke's dominions. These
political circumstances had the effect of diverting some of the best French
miniaturists to the court of Philippe le Hardi, and of founding a grand
Burgundian school of art, which led to the creation of the Flemish one. The
Burgundian MSS. of the first half of the fifteenth century were usually
executed at Dijon (the capital of the Duchy) or Besancon; and were thus
simply works of French art, not very different in style from those produced
at Bourges, Nevers, and Auxerre; but a certain local type was developed in
the ornamental borders of the miniatures; and as soon as the political
centre of gravity {75}was shifted northwards, by reason of the greater
wealth and importance of the Low Countries, Bruges and Brussels became the
chief towns in Philip the Good's dominions, and a new element was
introduced into Burgundian art. The Flemish artists of Bruges, Lille, and
Liege had been renowned since the middle of the fourteenth century for
their skill in miniature painting, and Van Eyck himself was a dependent of
Philippe le Bon, in whose service he spent the last nine years of his life
at Bruges (1432-1440). It is supposed that the earlier Flemish artists were
the creators of grisaille painting, although that beautiful mode of
pictorial illustration is first found in French books of the middle of the
fourteenth century. (A specimen is given on plate 14.) The finest examples
of grisaille were produced by Flemish artists at Bruges between 1440 and
1470, and a book of Hours, illuminated for Jaquot de Brégilles in 1443, in
the possession of the writer, is one of remarkable beauty. Another fine
specimen, of somewhat later date, is the Miroir Historial, a miniature from
which is reproduced on plate 17. Side by side with this kind of chaste
work, splendid illumination of the rich French style was practised in
Flanders, and a favourable example is given of a Book of Hours painted at
Tournay about 1460, on plate 16.

Grisaille painting originated evidently from the suggestions of carved
stone-work in cathedral-decoration. The figures of saints occupying niches,
which were familiar to the visitants of churches, were the first models
that led to the painting of miniatures with the figures in grey tints. It
must have been, for a true artist, delightful to triumph over the
difficulty of achieving the effects of relief and of modelling with the aid
of a single pigment only. To be the master of such an art, and to handle
the monochrome in such a way as to run with perfect touch through a gamut
of gradations in tone, would surely have been more gratifying than to win
success by the splendour of full illumination. The artist did not, however,
entirely abstain {76}from the use of gold; he allowed it to shine on the
crowns of kings and around the heads of his saints; and colour was used
sparingly in the backgrounds. These backgrounds in the pictures of earlier
date were ornamental diapered surfaces, but after the first decade or two
of the fifteenth century, landscape backgrounds made their appearance. It
was, however, some time before the miniaturist succeeded in realising
effects of distance, and thus producing true pictures as distinguished from
ornamental historiation. The Italians were the first to gain a tolerable
knowledge of perspective, but the Flemings were not much behind them. It
was not, however, till late in the fifteenth century that anything like a
faithful expression of perspective is found in the miniatures of MSS.

In the latter part of the fifteenth century, pure grisaille was extended
into camaieu; that is, the monochrome might be any other colour than grey,
so long as it was used in the same manner. This, however, was usually
confined to parts of miniatures, and not inconsistent with a lavish use of
gold for the lights, and masses of different colour in other portions of
the same picture. The quantity of gold that gave magnificence to the work
of the miniaturist in Flanders and France in the last quarter of the
fifteenth century became excessive. It was a relief to the eye when this
blaze of gold receded before the outcome of late Flemish art. Scarcely any
school produced work comparable for delicacy and truth to the miniatures
painted in prayerbooks at Bruges and Ghent between 1490 and 1520.


_Illuminated Borders in the Fifteenth Century_

After the year 1400, as has been already said, the private Prayerbooks, or
Books of Hours, which at that time were used in France and England, but not
to any great extent elsewhere, began to increase in numbers and develop new
styles of ornament. The pages with illuminated {77}initials still preserved
the older border, the basis of which was a double line of gold and colour
issuing from the initial and running squarely round the page. At the
corners and at intervals gold branches, bearing gold and coloured
ivy-leaves, went forth in somewhat stiff curves to form the outer
decoration of the border. This was in French MSS. In the English ones,
heavy masses of gold and colour representing conventional foliage appeared
at the corners, and out of the border-lines emerged the long sweeping tufts
of feathery grass with red and blue buds, which have been already alluded
to. Towards 1430 the ivy-leaves lost their prominence in France, and were
only preserved in portion of the ornament. The straight framing lines were
abandoned both in England and France, and a broader border was obtained by
a methodical arrangement of hundreds of curling hair-lines, black or brown,
out of which sprung little red and blue flowers of natural appearance. This
pattern was drawn and massed so as to represent a broad frame, even and
square, enclosing the page. This became a customary mode of ornamentation
in both countries, so that a large proportion of English and French work
was much alike in style, though not always in execution. When the middle of
the century arrived, a modification began to take place in French MSS.; the
fine black hair-lines of the borders gave place to wreathing green
branches, less numerous, and thus more proportionate in quantity. The
flowers and leaves springing from them became more numerous, more natural
and less conventional. By this time Burgundian and Flemish Livres d'Heures
were also produced in large numbers, and brilliant pictures of blossoms
growing in the rich gardens of Burgundy added the weight of their influence
to the tendency towards floral decoration. The flowers in the borders grew
more realistic and varied, and were sometimes fine large examples of their
species. This method was followed in England as well as in France. Next
appeared {78}in continental work backgrounds, either of gold or of colour,
to the borders; which had previously been painted on the plain vellum.
Finally, in France it became fashionable to break the border into spaces
(taking various shapes), of which some had gold grounds and some were
without grounds; or to treat the border in such a fashion that the branches
and flowers should appear partly on gold, partly on russet, partly on blue,
or in other combinations. This bizarre fashion did not take the taste
either of English or of Flemish artists. The English retained their crowded
border of flowers and branches painted on the plain vellum, while the
Flemings began to paint rich natural cut flowers upon a monochromatic
ground of pale gold or yellow. On this pale ground, free from all the
convolution of twining branches seen in French and English work, they were
enabled to throw shadows beneath the cut flowers, so that these appeared to
stand out in strong relief, with excellent effect. The new fashion at once
found copyists everywhere; the celebrated Hours of Anne of Brittany is one
of the finer French examples. The imitations done in England were not very
successful.


_End of the Fifteenth Century_

We now reach the last decade of the fifteenth century; in which the late
Flemish school already alluded to arose in Bruges and Ghent. In combination
with those beautiful borders of fresh cut flowers painted in apparent
relief upon pale gold or yellow, the delicate art of Memling and Gerard
David produced small and exquisite miniatures with architectural and
landscape accessories; the like of which had not yet been seen in the
illustration of books, unless we find a parallel in the lovely and no less
exquisite pictures in Florentine manuscripts of the same period. The
radical difference between the work of the north and that of the
{79}south--notwithstanding that each of them betrays to some extent the
influence of the other--is, that the Fleming took his types from real life,
the Florentine from his conceptions of angelic existence.

All the rest of Europe was behind the two favoured countries in which
pictorial and decorative art now reached their culminating point.
Sentimental writers have been, from time immemorial, in the habit of
scouting at wealth and of pouring enthusiastic praise upon penury, as
though the two conditions were equivalent to vice and virtue in morals, to
dulness and genius in intellect. It is quite true that an impoverished
state of society produces better poetry than a rich one; but it is equally
true that the finest artistic work is born amid luxurious surroundings. It
was the wealth of Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and Brussels which attracted
talent to a warmer air in which it could grow and flourish, on the border
land between the Celt and the Teuton, with all the advantages derivable
from either side. In the same way the riches and luxury of Venice,
Florence, Rome, Naples, Verona, Cremona, Padua, stimulated the faculties of
men who had inherited the traditions of Græco-Roman art. It was a brilliant
autumn in the annals of illumination, but a short one, by reason of the
changes which the new art of Printing had brought about in all things.
Dürer visited Bruges and Venice; he admired the work of Gerard David and of
the Italian miniaturists, but he did not seek to imitate or to rival their
efforts. He belonged to the modern world, and he gave to the art of
engraving what he would, twenty years earlier, have given to the art of
illumination. We have nothing to do here with his profession as a painter
of canvases in which he followed the same tendency as had during the
fifteenth century so wonderfully multiplied the number of Giotto's
descendants in Italy. We may imagine, if we choose, what wonderful
illuminators of manuscripts were lost in Schongauer, Dürer, and Lucas van
Leyden, three men who owed {80}their artistic existence and taste to the
atmosphere of rich cities. From the year 1450 the career of Calligrapher
and Illuminator had been doomed to extinction. Its members gradually
retired from an unequal strife with the clever mechanics from Mentz; some
became printers, some became engravers, and others joined the ranks of the
canvas-painters. Those who remained true to their early training achieved
the most brilliant triumphs of their profession before it was extinguished.
This is the reason why we look to the Flanders, and to the Italy of
1480-1520, for the most absolutely perfect work that was ever produced in
the illumination of manuscripts. Considering that it flourished side by
side with the paintings of the Bellinis and of Andrea Mantegna, and that it
was in touch with the times of Lionardo, of Raphael, of Michel Angiolo, of
Titian, and of Paolo Veronese, we cannot wonder either at its marvellous
beauty or at its sudden withering.

Of the late Flemish school, certain work done for the Austrian Archduchess
Margaret (resident in Bruges with her brother Philip, as children of
Maximilian who had become sovereign of the Low Countries in right of his
wife Mary of Burgundy), of which the famous Grimani Breviary is only one
amongst some ten or twelve examples--was the finest of its kind. The
present writer has possessed one of them--a little volume internally
justifying the tradition that it was illuminated by Gerard David for the
Archduchess

  ( .   .   Margot la gente demoiselle
  Qu' eut deux maris et si mourut pucelle

as she once suggested for her own epitaph when in danger from a storm at
sea) for presentation to her sister-in-law Juana, the heiress of Castile
(Juana la Loca, the Crazy Jane who has become a personage in nursery lore).

As for the Italian school, it was of wider extent. The illuminators found
generous patrons at Milan, at Venice, at Padua, at Cremona, at Verona, at
Florence, at Bologna, at Rome, and at Naples. In the last city, the Kings
of {81}Aragonese origin were noble employers of talent, and found their
chief rivals in the Medicis, and in Mathias Corvinus, the King of Hungary,
who divided with them the patronage of the best Italian miniaturists. They
also helped to stamp on Spanish work the Italian impress which
characterises it in the last half of the fifteenth century, and thereby to
continue the line which in contact with Naples on the one hand, with Bruges
on the other, formed at the end of the century a ring, uniting Flanders and
Italy as its chief jewels.

The name of Attavante, so famous as a Florentine miniaturist, reminds me of
a Petrarch manuscript which I have seen sold in Paris as illustrated by
him. One of the illuminations contained a bust of a Roman warrior, in the
style so frequently seen in Italian work of about the year 1500, and under
it were the initials M.A., intended evidently for Marcus Aurelius or Marcus
Antonius. Out of them, the cataloguers of two different collections of
great repute, had evolved the idea that they stood for "Maestro
Attavante"--an absurd notion for which there was absolutely no excuse
whatever. Other famous Italian miniaturists were Girolamo dai Libri of
Verona, and Sigismondo da Carpio. I have had examples of the art of both.
One still more celebrated was Giulio Clovio, but he belonged entirely to
the sixteenth century and to the late Renaissance, and his work is in
nowise that of the Middle Ages. It is over-florid and reveals the
theatrical splendour which always accompanies decline. I have possessed one
of his finest examples, which was formerly in the Towneley library.

During the last twenty years of the fifteenth century, a favourite style of
border among the Italians was an imitation of goldsmith's work. Gems of
various colours set in gold, with cameos or medallions of classic busts,
were the chief feature, but spaces were always left in which the
miniaturist could paint his tiny exquisite figures of the fight between
David and Goliath, or something of the kind. Venetian {82}examples of such
miniatures are remarkably beautiful--the beauty mingled with a certain
gravity of manner; those which are of Roman origin have an air of masterly
splendour; but those which were produced at Florence between 1480 and 1510
are so lovely as to upset our critical judgment in comparing them with work
done at Bruges. In the border-illustration there never was any resemblance
between the work of Italy and that of other countries, and there can be no
hesitation in deciding between them in favour of Italy as more
appropriately decorative.

I possess a Psalter written and illuminated for Pietro dei Medici,
apparently about 1490, in which the first two pages are stained light
green, so as to soften and make delicate the numerous tints found in the
painting and border upon one of them. These are the work probably of
Attavante, and can hardly be excelled for the exquisite taste and finish
both of the miniature and of the ornamentation. I have also had a charming
little Prayerbook written for Lorenzo the Magnificent, which was evidently
from the same hand; and a Siennese Psalter of kindred type and of the same
period. The loveliness of these Tuscan examples takes away all possibility
of critical fault-finding. They delight the eye with a fuller satisfaction
than even the best of the Flemish illuminations. The latter we examine
carefully, with a continual increase of admiration; while we enjoy the
harmonious beauty of the Florentine, we feel that the critic's functions
are set aside.

The writing of the late Italian MSS., among which classical texts rival the
books of prayers in the elegance of their adornment, was more frequently
Roman than gothic, but a fine black-letter hand survived into the sixteenth
century, especially at Venice. The initials decorated with interlacements,
in a style that evinced its Irish origin, which are found in Italian
manuscripts after 1350 were retained till near the end of the fifteenth
century in Venice and Naples, but they had fallen out of use in Tuscany
{83}somewhat earlier, being hardly appropriate to the rich neo-classical
style of Florentine border-decoration.

As for the Italian styles of writing after the twelfth century, they were
various. The Carolingian in a bold and handsome type lasted longer in Italy
than elsewhere; but both it and the Lombard were passing away about the
year 1200. The thirteenth century saw the evolution of the gothic letter
out of the Carolingian, in Italy as well as over the rest of Europe, but in
Italy it was accompanied by a sort of Carolingian cursive, slightly sloped,
which finally developed the two forms now familiar over all the
world--Roman and Italic. In the fourteenth century a beautiful square
gothic letter was in use in Italy, and remained unaltered in form till the
end of the fifteenth; but it was not unaccompanied by various other styles
of writing. The Italic was still in its primitive stage without elegance,
and some books were written in a gothic letter derived from French and
German models, and quite unlike the square Italian gothic. The script of
the book, from which a facsimile is given on plate 12, is an example of
this outlandishness. Before the fifteenth century arrived the cursive hand
had split into its two branches. The more elaborately written letters were
upright, and tended to restore the Carolingian original; the less elaborate
characters began to slope still further, and by degrees became a separate
script, which then became cultivated. The writing of Petrarch (who died in
1374) was chosen as the model for the first Italic types used in printing
(1501); and the upright round hand used by numerous Florentine and Venetian
calligraphers towards the middle of the fifteenth century was chosen as the
model of the first Roman types, cut by Sweynheym and Pannartz in the
Benedictine monastery of Subbiaco, not far from Rome, in the year 1464.


_Remarks on the subjects reproduced in the plates_

The first plate represents portion of a hieroglyphical {84}text written on
a roll of papyrus which was wrapped up with the mummy of the man whose
virtues are recorded on it. As for the exact age and contents of the roll,
it is beyond my capacity to say anything definite; but there is a delicacy
in the drawing of the figures and in the formation of the letters which
seem to indicate a considerable age, probably not less than twelve hundred
years B.C. Each column of the writing has to be read from top to bottom,
beginning with the first column on the left. It has been said in an earlier
page that the hieratic and demotic scripts differed from the hieroglyphic
in being written like Hebrew in long horizontal lines from right to left.
The difference is, however, merely formal. If we turn the hieroglyphic page
half round, so that the right side becomes the bottom, and the left side
the top of the page, we can see the inscription run in hieratic fashion
from right to left.

Plate 2 is perhaps more difficult to decipher than Plate 1. We know,
however, that the demotic script was used only amongst laymen in matters of
business and of money; and this no doubt represents some commercial
transaction that took place between 500 and 200 B.C. The demotic was a
complex cursive evolved from the hieratic; its invention, or at least its
use to any considerable degree, does not appear to have been much
antecedent to 600 B.C., and there was little necessity for its continuance
after the second century B.C.

It was probably about the beginning of the Christian era that the demotic
finally disappeared before the Coptic, an alphabet derived from the Greek,
of which Plate 3 gives an example. The Arabic heading which accompanies the
Coptic rubric above the Psalm that begins below (the 118th [Greek: riê]),
is in a hand of the latter part of the fifteenth century. Notwithstanding
the lateness of the specimen, the script takes its proper place here as
representing a script of the first century.

Plate 4 is taken from a copy, written on vellum at {85}Nablús, of the
Samaritan Pentateuch. Both in language and in letters it represents the old
Hebrew of the days of Solomon, long anterior to the time when Ezra
introduced from Chaldæa the square characters now called Hebrew; the
ancient letters having been preserved by a small remnant in North
Palestine. The writing resembles that of the Phoenicians, and the example
given on plate 4, notwithstanding its lateness, does not exhibit a very
much modified form of the character.

Plate 5 is from an Abyssinian MS. of the sixteenth century, on the Life of
the Virgin. The real origin of the artistic decoration is unmistakable. It
is what we call Byzantine, but ought rather to be called Ægypto-Grecian.
The people of Abyssinia, who were mainly Southern Arabs or Sabæans,
received their instruction in art along with their Christianity a few
centuries after the beginning of the era, and they have never abandoned
them. As for the writing which appears on the plate, it is in the old Geez
or Ethiopic language, and descended from that of the Sabæan people whose
monumental inscriptions in Himyaritic language and characters are now
attracting considerable interest.

Plate 6 is from a Greek Gospelbook written on vellum, which was brought to
England from Cyprus by Cesnola. The ornamental border at the top is
somewhat freer and less stiff in style than those which we find in most of
the Byzantine MSS.; and the writing is neater and less negligent than if it
had been executed in the eleventh or twelfth century. It slopes a little
backwards and has the breathings in their antique form as halves of the
letter H. Hence I have assigned it to the latter part of the tenth century.

On plate 7 I have given a reduction after Westwood of a page from an Irish
MS. now in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth. Although it is of
comparatively late date (the ninth century), and the writing is the Irish
script in its second or wholly minuscule stage, the ornamentation is
{86}sufficient to show what Irish work had been and still was. The
marvellously elaborate convolutions and interlacements, the dexterous use
of colours, the utter absence of gold, and the introduction of grotesque
animal figures, are all seen in this plate from the Gospelbook of
MacDurnan. (While I write I am reminded of a personal experience which I
may be forgiven for setting down in print. When Westwood's great book had
come out, I was one day speaking with an English lady of high social
position, cultivated and accomplished in many branches of knowledge, to
whom after mentioning Westwood I expressed my admiration of what the Irish
calligraphers had done in the seventh and eighth centuries, when art was so
low in most of the other lands of Europe. The lady listened with patient
good-breeding, till I paused, and then said quietly, "I presume that you
are yourself an Irishman!" She had evidently mistaken one unfamiliar accent
for another, and her remark was a polite criticism upon my credulity or
veracity.)

Plate 21 (which ought to have been inserted in succession to plate 7)
reproduces a miniature from a Breviary written about 1150-60 for Isengrim,
Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery at Ottenbeuern in Suabia.

The miniature reproduced is a picture of the Ascension, and shows the
Saviour standing in an almond-shaped frame, supported and borne aloft by
four angels. The Virgin and the Apostles are looking upwards from below,
and the picture is enclosed within a square blue border, this being lighted
by ornamental fretwork in white. The faces are generally well drawn, and
the rapt attention in the eyes of the uplookers is very skilfully depicted.
The colours used are blue, green, yellow, red, chesnut, and white. The
whole effect is reminiscent of Anglo-Saxon work, and one might easily, at
first sight, mistake it for a picture out of an English book of the tenth
century. A somewhat similar design of the same subject is found in King
Athelstan's Psalter--an Anglo-Saxon MS. of the late ninth century, now
{87}in the British Museum; but the Suabian illustration is decidedly
inferior in taste and delicacy of treatment. It shows, however, such a
kinship that we are inclined to believe in a nearer connexion between
German and English art than between German and French Carolingian.

Plates 8 and 9 reproduce miniatures from two manuscripts of the Latin
Bible,--the first page of Genesis in each. The first is either English or
Norman work, perhaps rather the latter than the former, and is interesting
as affording one of the earliest examples of the border with leaves of the
so-called ivy pattern. The writing is a beautiful early gothic of the
transition period between the Carolingian round hand and the mediæval
square gothic. It is unmistakably Norman, if not Anglo-Norman, but may have
been English. If the reds in the tiny miniatures had been a little more
pinkish, and the blue a little lighter, we should have had no hesitation in
calling it English work. In plate 9, the writing is somewhat rounder and
the ink is paler--showing that the work is neither English nor Norman; and
we find in the minute pictures a style of design, both in the figures and
the draperies, which reminds us of late classical art. The interlaced
pattern in the lowest portion of the ornament is also a survival of the
Celtic manner which might be found in Southern France, but which had ceased
to be used in English work, except in the decoration of letters. On the
plate, the picture is dated "1310-20"; but we may venture to think that it
was executed in South-Eastern France about the year 1300.

The design and the writing on plate 10 are thoroughly English of the end of
the thirteenth century. The picture is unfinished, having been left by the
artist in its sketch-condition, uncoloured. The faces are blank, and the
drawing simply in outline; but the careful treatment of the folds in the
drapery is remarkable. The miniature is one of several illustrating the
Apocalypse, which were done in the convent at Eaton or Nun-Eaton in
Warwickshire about 1280. The {88}Apocalypse is not given in its Latin
summaries, as was usual, but in French quatrains of English origin. The
volume which contains these drawings is interesting, as having been a sort
of _omnium gatherum_, made up for the ladies of Eaton at the end of the
thirteenth century. One of the pieces it contains is a Bestiaire by William
the Trouvère, an Englishman of the twelfth century; a French poem called
the Chastel d'Amours by Raymond Grosseteste; and a popular English poem of
the time, of which another example has been lately published in facsimile
in his "English Palæography" by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat.

The miniature of the Crucifixion which is reproduced on plate 11 is visibly
Italian work of the rudest style. It is taken from a Missal, written in a
hand which is also Italian of the end of the thirteenth century, but gothic
in form. The liturgical character of the book is, however, such that we may
believe it to have been produced in England, perhaps by an Italian
Cistercian monk. The writing on the miniature is in so-called Lombardic
uncials, a script which was used for capitals nearly everywhere in the
thirteenth century. The three figures in the picture have red or auburn
hair, a favourite colour at all times among the Italians, even after the
Flemings had introduced a blackhaired Christ. Another noticeable feature is
the building with an arcade and windows, in the lower background.

Plate 12 is an illustration of the story of Troilus and Cressida, taken
from Guido Colonna's Tale of Troy. It is Venetian, of about the years
1330-40, and exhibits the Italian style of using strong pigments for their
figures. Whatever the faults of drawing may be, this is a real painting
done with a full brush. There is no appearance of the outlines drawn with a
pen or a fine brush, such as we see in French and English work, and the
folds in the draperies appear to be produced by broad shadowings after the
main body of colour had been painted. In fact, it seems to be, like other
Italian illuminations, the work of a painter, not {89}of a miniaturist. The
place of origin is revealed by the calligrapher's instructions to the
artist, which occur on several pages in a minute hand, and which are
written in a pure Venetian dialect. The manuscript is illustrated with an
unusual quantity of pictorial designs. The writing is remarkable as
resembling that of the English charters of the same period, but with
greater regularity and evenness in the downstrokes.

Plate 13 is reproduced from a French Apocalypse of the fourteenth century,
with a text in French prose. The writing is gothic, much changed from the
style of the thirteenth century, and less regular and elegant. The picture
is thoroughly French, of the time when English illuminators had yielded up
their supremacy to the men of the French school. We see the fine outlines
and features as we are accustomed to see them in thirteenth century work,
offering in their delicate style a curious contrast to the broad free
paintiness of the illustration in plate 12. The Apocalypse, from which the
plate is taken, is a French work of the middle of the fourteenth century,
showing a good deal of the feeling of the preceding century, but tending
visibly towards the manner of the time when Charles V of France and his
brothers were associated with manuscripts of an unusually beautiful kind.

Plate 14 is an example of French grisaille in its earlier stage. The four
designs look like fine chalk drawings prepared for the use of an engraver,
rather than like finished illustrations in a book. There is an ease and
freedom in the figure-drawing which reveal the hand of a true artist, and
the treatment of the draperies is excellent; but the landscape accessories
in the lower two divisions are primitive in their absurdity and childish
execution. The writing in this example, and in plate 13 also, is typical
fourteenth century gothic; small, cramped, square, and angular. The border
is of the early ivy-leaf pattern, stiff and not natural, but not inelegant
as decoration. The style and character of {90}the two plates are
essentially French, and could not be found in examples of illumination at
the period anywhere outside of France.

Plate 15 introduces us to a totally different kind and style of ornament.
There is no appearance of stiffness here in the border, with its bold
conventional foliage of light blue and green, and the long feathery lines
that sweep out from it in free and graceful curves. The miniature too is
full of merit both in design and execution, its only drawback being the
rather ugly pattern of the green flooring. The seated priest is in the full
costume of a doctor or literatus of Chaucer's time; and the expression in
his features, as well as in those of the kneeling Gower, is excellently
rendered. The writing here is not the square angular gothic of the two
preceding plates, but a more rounded script, partaking of the nature of the
charter hand, which was appropriated to the English language. The a is the
only letter in it quite identical with that of the fourteenth century
gothic, and the p (for _th_) shows the survival of Anglo-Saxon writing,
just as the w shows us a modern English letter at a tolerably early stage
of its growth. The k is likewise noteworthy, as being the peculiar form of
the letter which had been evolved in the rapid writing of court-scribes,
and which is still used in German manuscript.

Plate 16 shows us Franco-Flemish art in a phase in which the simple mastery
of design had become subordinate to the brilliancy and magnificence of
decoration. The inner border of interwoven blue and red lines upon a ground
of gold is connected with, and grows out of, the illuminated initial in a
suitably appropriate fashion, but the outer border of conventional foliage,
red, blue, green, and yellow, with its inserted figures of a kneeling man
and a hybrid dromedary, has no comprehensible affinity to the rest of the
work, and is tacked on without any reason beyond the desire for splendour
and variety. The style is not distinctively Flemish, although the painting
was done at {91}Tournay. It is rather a development out of
Franco-Burgundian models, and more suggestive of French origin than any
other; in fact, the extension of central French influence northwards
through Burgundy.

In plate 17 there is real Flemish work. Here is pure grisaille at its best;
no infusion of extraneous colour in the design, except in the tesselated
pavement of yellow and white marble, and no glitter of illumination beyond
what is given by a gold crown in the hands of one figure, and a couple of
gold chains on the breasts of two others. This is indeed a true historical
picture broadly conceived, well composed, and admirably executed. The
perspective is excellent, and we realise clearly the size and depth of the
large vaulted chamber, lighted only from the doorways and the open
window-spaces,--in which the eight personages are grouped. The manuscript
from which the miniature is taken was written and illustrated, almost
undoubtedly, at Bruges about 1470 for a nobleman of the Lannoy family, a
member not of the principal house which still flourished in Flanders, but
of the transplanted branch in Picardy.

Plate 18 is taken from an English manuscript of considerable interest. A
number of armorial bearings, which are found on the margins of the pages,
show that it was written either for the Marquis of Dorset, Edward IV's
son-in-law, or for one of his children. Whichever was the case, the book
was in the possession of John Grey, dominus de Blisworth, the son or near
relative of the Marquis, in the early part of the sixteenth century; and
there is a record added in the calendar of the death of Dame Elizabeth
Grey, this John's wife, about 1520-30. The miniatures are good, but not
excellent; better in composition than in design, and showing grave
deficiencies with regard to perspective. They are, however, well executed
and well painted; and the borders are remarkably elegant. The conventional
large foliage, of architectonic character, is admirably disposed upon small
and appropriate fields of gold; and the twining {92}branchlets that bear
tiny buds and small leaves and flowers are not so crowded as to hide the
vellum ground. The border is indeed a fine decorative composition, without
a fault, and thoroughly English in style. There is an inscription at the
foot of the miniature which inspires curiosity to learn who the writer was.
She was evidently a woman of high position; for only such a personage would
have been allowed to write in a Prayerbook of the kind. The words are,
"Madame, I pray you remember her that ys yours and evver sall be," but the
bookbinder has unfortunately cut off the signature. The person addressed
was no doubt Dame Elizabeth Grey. The writing is strangely like that of
Henry VII, but cannot of course have been his. It is possibly as late as
1520.

Plate 22 is from a Prayerbook written and illuminated about 1520-30 for a
certain Giovanni Bentivoglio. If the book had been a dozen or twenty years
earlier than it seems to be, one might have supposed that it was executed
at Bologna, by the order and for the use of the last Bentivoglio who ruled
in that city. As, however, he died in exile and misfortune in 1508, the
Giovanni to whom the prayerbook belonged, must have been his grandson, born
about 1510, who was in the imperial service in 1530. The artistic merit of
the illumination is considerable, but they are over-florid and mark a decay
of taste. The colours are vivid and harmonious, gold is plentifully used,
and the beauty of the work is undeniable; but it is meretricious and
corrupt in style. Italian examples of the period are, however, rare and
highly prized.

On plate 19 we have a large initial (O) cut from an Italian Antiphonal or
Gradual, written probably about 1540-50. It encloses a miniature
representing the Adoration of the three Kings, painted with so much skill
as to suggest the hand of some student of Titian's school. In design,
composition, and execution, it is very good; the only drawback being the
superfine air of courtly elegance {93}which is seen in every figure beneath
the thatched roof of the stable. There is a theatrical character in the
whole performance, that reminds us of Federico Baroccio.

Of similar date is the picture on plate 20. It comes from a Gospel-lesson
book, written in a mitred abbey on the German side of the Rhine, probably
not far from Cologne, in the year 1548. The design of the company of monks
headed by their Abbot, all in white raiment and kneeling before an unseen
altar, is excellent German work. The landscape with distant towers, seen
through the pillars of an arcade behind would look better than it does, if
it were not for the floating cherubs who hover in the spaces, and support
two armorial shields. The border is a close imitation of the late Flemish
style. On a yellow ground, lighted with twining gold branchlets, cut
flowers are vividly painted, along with figures of a bee, a fox, a bird, a
rabbit, and a hybrid animal like an ape.



{94}INDEX.


  Aachen, metropolis of the Frankish Empire, 44
  Abyssinia, writing in, 12,13
  Abyssinian MS. Life of the Virgin, 85
  Adamnan (St.), 28, 36
  Adoration of the Magi, a miniature, 92
  Ai-gupt, Semitic name of the Delta, 8
  Akkadian writing, 7, 9
  Alcuin at Tours and Aachen, 44
  Amber-trade, 29
  Ambrosian use in the Milanese liturgy, 53
  Angles civilized, 34
  Anglo-Saxon alphabet, 26, 32
  -- decoration of MS., 35, 37
  Antiphonale, 54
  Apocalypse MSS., 73, 89
  Apocalyptic designs, English work, 87
  Arabian writing (Arabic), 20
  Arabian (South) writing, 12
  Arabic language, 21
  -- writing, 20, 84
  Aragonese Kings of Naples, 80
  Aramæan Chaldees, 11, 12
  Ascension, Pictures of the, 86
  Asoka's Rock-inscriptions, 18
  Assyrian Empire formed, 10
  Assyriology, 6
  Attavante, work done by, 81, 82

  Babylonian monarchies, 7, 9, 10
  Bactrian Kingdom, 18
  Barbarians, movements of the, 42
  Baroccio (Federico), 93
  Bastaruæ, a Gothic people, 29
  Bede, the Venerable, 34, 37
  Bentivoglio (Giovanni), Prayer book, 92
  Berossus, Assyrian Chronicle, 6
  Bible, its influence on writing, 23
  -- multiplied by scribes, 52
  -- Greek, 24                                                       {95}
  -- Syriac, 24
  -- Hebrew, 24
  -- Latin MSS., 87
  Bologna school of law, 57
  Book (origin of the word), 2
  Borders in MSS., 62, 65, 71, 76
  Boustrophedon writing, 16
  Brégilles Livre d'Heures, 75
  Breviary, foundation of the, 53
  -- constitution of the, 67
  -- MS. written at Ottenbeuern, 86
  Britain Celtiberian, 27
  -- Gallic, 27
  -- Latin, 27
  -- English, 27
  British Isles, age of writing in, 27
  Bruges MSS., 81, 91
  Burgundian school of art, 65, 74, 91
  Burmese writing, 21
  Byzantine ornamentation, 25
  -- Art not Hellenic, 47

  Cadmus the Phoenician, 10
  Calendars in Prayer books, 67
  Calligraphy extinguished by Printing, 80
  Canon Law, 57
  Canonical Hours, 53
  Canterbury school of writing, 59
  Capitals in writing, 25
  Carolingian art, 35, 37, 43, 59
  -- writing, 40, 43
  Celtic Church, 53
  Cesnola (L. P. di), 85
  Chaldæa, age of writing in, 7
  Chaldees (Turanian or Akkad), 9
  -- (Aramæan or Semitic), 11
  Charles the Great, 35, 41, 43
  Charters, style of writing used in, 26, 54, 55
  Charter hand in England, 72
  Chastel d'Amours, MS., 88
  Chinese origins, 13
  Christ blackhaired in pictures, 88
  Chronology of the Bible, 6                                         {96}
  Chrysography, 3, 26, 60
  Churches (Early Christian), 53
  Civil Law, 57
  Classic survival in Italy, 35
  Clovio (Giulio) Miniatures, 81
  Colonna (Guido) Tale of Troy, 88
  Colours in miniatures and ornament, 61
  Columba (St.), 36
  Coptic alphabet, 25
  -- writing, 9, 84
  Cufic writing, 20
  Cursive Roman, 26, 28
  Cymry of North England, 33
  -- settled in Wales, 33
  Cyril (St.), 52
  Cyrillic alphabet, 51

  David (Gerard) of Bruges, 78, 80
  Decoration of MSS., Irish, 35, 36
  -- Anglo-Saxon, 35
  -- Frankish, 37, 43
  -- Gallo-Roman, 44, 47
  -- English, 45
  -- German, 45
  -- Spanish, 46
  -- Italian, 46
  -- Byzantine, 46, 47
  Demotic writing (Egyptian), 9, 84
  Deutsch, meaning of the word, 31
  Devanagari alphabet, 18, 21
  Diplomatic writing, 26, 54, 55
  Drawing and design, Mediæval, 62
  Durer (Albert), 79
  Durham school of writing, 59

  Eginhart, the Frank, 43
  Egypt called Khem, 5, 8
  -- -- Aigupt, 8
  -- -- Mizraim, Misr, 8
  -- Age of writing in, 5
  Egyptology, 6
  England the centre of French art and literature, 62
  English Art in MSS., 49, 60, 62, 72, 90, 91
  -- Calendars in Horæ, 69
  -- illuminated borders, 65, 77, 90                                 {97}
  -- MS. Bible Sec. XIII., 87
  Estrangelo Syriac, 20
  Ethiopic language, 85
  -- writing, 12
  Etruscan alphabet, 16
  Euchologium, 54
  Evangeliarium, German MS., 93

  Flemish school of art, 74, 76, 79, 90, 91
  -- Calendars in Horæ, 68
  -- illuminated borders, 78
  Floral borders, 65
  Florentine miniatures, 78, 81
  Formation and use of books, 3
  France (Central) MSS. produced in, 62
  Frankish empire, 39
  -- writing, 28, 37, 39
  French art in MSS., 60, 62, 73
  -- Calligraphy and ornamentation, 49
  -- Calendars in Horæ, 68
  -- illuminated borders, 65, 77
  -- MS. Latin Bibles, 1300, 87

  Gallic language, 30
  Gallican use in liturgy, 53
  Gaul, Age of writing in, 22
  -- Greek writing in, 22
  German Art in MSS., 86
  -- Calendar in liturgies, 70
  -- illumination, 61
  -- -- in Flemish style, 93
  -- writing, 71
  Germany, name of, 30
  Girolamo dai Libri, 81
  Glagolitic alphabet, 51
  Glastonbury school of writing, 59
  Gloucester calendar, 69
  Gospel of St. Peter, 48
  Gothic alphabet (Wulfila's), 25, 28, 31
  -- Kingdom in Spain, 23
  -- Kingdom in Italy, 41
  -- mediæval writing, 32, 65
  Goths and Germans, 28
  Gower (John) in a miniature of the Confessio Amantis, 90
  Graduale of the missal, 54
  Greek alphabet, 10, 13, 14
  -- Bibles, 53
  -- Colonies, 15                                                    {98}
  -- Gospels, MS., Sec. X., 85
  -- writing, minuscules, 47
  Gregory (St.), 54
  Grey (Thomas) Marquis of Dorset, 91
  -- (John and Elizabeth), 91
  Grimani Breviary, 80
  Grisaille painting, 75, 89, 91
  Grosseteste (Raymond), 88
  Guthones, 29

  Hebrew language, 19
  -- writing in square letters, 19, 84
  Hellenised Oriental peoples, 23
  Herculaneum, writing at, 25
  Heures d'Anne de Bretagne, 78
  Hieratic writing in Egypt, 9
  -- MS. on papyrus, 84
  Hieroglyphic writing (Egyptian), 9
  -- MS. on papyrus, 83
  Himyaritic alphabet, 12
  Horæ for private prayer, 56, 67
  -- of French work, 74
  -- of English work, 69, 76, 77, 90
  -- constitution of, 67
  Horologium, 54
  Hours, the Canonical, 53, 56
  Hours of the Virgin, _see_ Horæ
  Hrabanus Maurus, 30
  Huntingfield Psalter, MS., 73
  Hyksos or Shepherd Kings in Egypt, 11
  Hymnals, 54, 58

  Iberian writing in Spain, 22
  Iceland and its literature, 51
  Illumination (Mediæval), origin of, 36
  India, age of writing in, 18, 21
  Indian languages (modern), 21
  Initials illuminated, 62, 64
  Ink used in MSS., 3
  Ireland, writing in, 28, 32
  Irish alphabet, 26
  -- MS., 28, 36
  -- MacDurnan's Gospels, 85
  -- ornamentation in MSS., 85
  -- teachers of the Angles, 34
  Isengrim, Abbot of Ottenbeuern, 86
  Italian art, 62, 79, 92                                            {99}
  -- late classical art, 60
  -- miniatures, 88, 92
  -- Picture of the Crucifixion, 88
  -- Schools of Illumination, 70
  -- Saints in Calendars, 70
  Italic characters, 83
  Italy, age of writing in, 15
  Italy, various hands used in, 83
  Ivy-leaf borders, 63

  Jerome (St.), 51
  Jornandes the Gothic historian, 42
  Juana la Loca, 80

  Khem, name of old Egypt, 5, 8

  Lannoy, Low country family, 91
  Latin alphabet, origin of the, 17
  Latin Bible, 52
  -- -- MSS., 87
  -- Liturgies, 53
  Lectronaries, 54
  Lenormant (Francois), 11
  Liturgical books, 66
  -- frequently transcribed, 53
  Liturgies in the vernacular, 57
  Lindisfarne school of writing, 59
  Livres d'Heures--_see_ Horæ
  Lombardic writing, 38, 40, 41
  -- uncials, 88
  Lombards, The Kingdom of the, 40
  Lombardy (Cisalpine Gaul), 22
  -- under the Goths, 40, 41
  -- under the Lombards, 41
  -- under the Franks, 41

  MacDurnan's Gospels, Irish MS., 86
  Madden (Sir Frederick), 37
  Manchu script, 22
  Manetho, Egyptian Chronicle, 6
  MSS. on purple vellum, 27, 60
  Marcomanni, 30
  Margaret of Austria, 80
  Marseilles, Greek colony, 15, 22
  Materials of books, 3
  Mathias Corvinus, 80                                              {100}
  Medici, patrons of art, 80
  -- (Lorenzo dei) Prayer book, 82
  -- (Pietro dei) Prayer book, 82
  Memling (Hans), 78
  Menologium, Greek Liturgy, 54
  Merowingian writing, 28, 38
  Minuscule letters, 26
  Miroir Historial, MS., 75, 91
  Missal, MSS., 54
  -- formation of, 53
  -- constitution of, 66
  -- Anglo-Italian MS., 88
  Mizraim, Misr, names of Egypt, 8
  Moeso-Gothic Alphabet, 31, 41
  Mongolian script, 22
  Mozarabic liturgy, 53

  Nagari alphabet, 18, 21
  Naples, work done at, 82
  Naskhi Arabic writing, 20
  Norman Conquest of England, 62
  Norse Runes, 30
  Nuneaton Convent, work done in, 87

  Ornamentation in MSS., 60
  Oscan and Umbrian writing, 16
  Ostrogoths, 32
  Ottenbeuern MSS., 86
  Oxford School of Law, 58

  Padua University, 58
  Palæography (the word), 2
  Papal prohibition of vernacular liturgies, 57
  Papyrus for books, 4
  -- in Assyria, 8
  Parchment for books, 4
  Paris University, 44, 58
  Patrick (St.), 28
  Pehlvi writing, 19
  Penitentialia, 57
  Persian writing (Cuneiform), 7
  -- Pehlvi, 19
  -- Talik, 21
  Perspective in miniatures, 76
  Petrarch MS. attributed to Attavante, 81
  Philip I. of Castile (Archduke of Austria), 80
  Phoenician colonies, 15
  -- use of letters, 10                                             {101}
  Photius, Bibliotheca, 54
  Phrygian use of letters, 12
  Pontificale, 54
  Prakrit language, 18, 21
  Prayer books for private persons, 55, 56
  Primers, 56
  Prisse Papyrus, 5
  Processimale, 54
  Psalter in the Liturgy, 54
  -- for private prayer, 55
  Ptah Hotep's Precepts, 5
  Punic writing in Spain, 22

  Reformation  in  the Church, 57
  Renaissance of Literature, 58
  Roman letters in their modern forms, 83
  Roman origins, 16
  -- writing, 25
  Rougé (Vicomte Emm. de), 11
  Runic letters, 29
  Rustic capitals, 25
  Ruskin (John), 2

  Sabaan use of letters, 12
  -- origin of Abyssinians, 85
  Sacramentaries, 53, 54
  Saints' names in Calendars, 67, 68, 69
  Samaritan alphabet, 19
  -- Pentateuch, 84
  Sanskrit language, 21
  Sargon, King of Akkad, 7
  Sarum use, 69
  Saxons and Angles, 34
  Scandinavia, 42
  Scandinavian writing, Anglo-Saxon, 50
  -- -- Teutonic, 51
  -- -- Runic, 29, 50
  Scots, Irish pirates, 33
  Scottish Liturgies, 69
  Semitic Alphabet, 11
  Semi-uncials, 26
  Septuagint, creation of the, 23
  Siamese writing, 21
  Sigismondo da Carpio, 81
  Singalese alphabet, 21
  Skeat (Rev. W. W.), 88
  Slavonic alphabets, 51
  Slovene language and script, 52
  Spain, Age of writing in, 22
  -- Visigothic writing in, 43
  -- Carolingian writing, 43                                        {102}
  -- mediæval Gothic, 43
  Spanish Calendars in Liturgies, 70
  -- ornamentation of MSS., 61
  Stephens (George), 29
  Stubbs (Bishop), 33
  Suevi, 30
  Sweynheym and Pannartz, 83
  Synaxarium, 54
  Syriac language, 19, 24
  Syrians, 12

  Talik writing (Persian), 21
  Terrien de la Couperie (Prof.), 13
  Teutonic, 31
  Theodoric the Ostrogoth, 41
  Theotisc, 31
  Thibetan writing, 21
  Thompson (E. Maunde), 1, 11
  Tournay Hours, 75, 90
  Tours, Abbey of St. Martin, 44
  Troilus and Cressida, 88
  Troybook, Venetian MS., 88
  Turdetani of Spain, 22

  Ulfila--_see_ Wulfila
  Umbrian and Oscan writing, 16
  Uncials in writing, 25

  Vellum for books, 4
  Venetian Art, Troybook, 88
  -- miniatures, 81, 82, 88
  Visigoths, 32
  -- in Spain, 23
  Visigothic art, 39
  -- writing, 38, 40, 42, 43
  Volumes, rolled books, 3

  Wales, Briton and Cymry, 34
  Welsh, meaning of the word, 31
  Westwood (Professor), 33, 37
  William the Trouvere, 88
  Winchester school of writing, 59
  Wulfila, Gothic Bishop, 31

  York school of writing, 44, 59
  York use in Liturgy, 69

  Zend writing, 19

[Illustration: PORTION OF A FUNERARY INSCRIPTION.
_Written on papyrus in the Hieroglyphic character._]

[Illustration: EGYPTIAN INSCRIPTION.
_Written on papyrus in the Demotic character._]

[Illustration: A PAGE FROM A COPTIC LITURGY.
_Written in Egypt in the fifteenth century._]

[Illustration: SAMARITAN MS. ON VELLUM, PROBABLY SEC. XV.
_Leviticus, X. 16 to XI. 13._]

[Illustration: A MINIATURE IN THE TAMHERA MARYAM.
_An Ethiopic work on the life of the Virgin, written in 1522._]

[Illustration: THE FIRST PAGE OF ST. JOHN'S GOSPEL.
_From a Greek MS. of the Tenth Century, brought by Cesnola from Cyprus._]

[Illustration: A PAGE FROM MACDURNAN'S GOSPELS.
_A MS. written in Ireland in the Ninth Century, now at Lambeth._]

[Illustration: THE FIRST PAGE OF GENESIS.
_In a Latin Bible, written probably in England about 1290-1300._]

[Illustration: THE FIRST PAGE OF GENESIS.
_In a Latin Bible written in France about 1310-20._]

[Illustration: THE SECOND ANGEL BLOWING HIS TRUMPET.
_From a series of unfinished designs illustrating the Apocalypse; executed
at Nuneaton about A.D. 1280._]

[Illustration: MINIATURE OF THE CRUCIFIXION.
_In a Missale written by an Italian hand about 1290._]

[Illustration: CRISEIS SENT BACK TO THE GREEKS.
_From a MS. of the Liber Trojanus written at Venice about 1325._]

[Illustration: A PAGE FROM THE REVELATIONS.
_In a French MS. Apocalypse Figurée, written about 1360._]

[Illustration: FIRST PAGE OF THE ROMAN DE LA ROSE.
_MS. written in France about 1370._]

[Illustration: JOHN GOWER AND THE PRIEST OF VENUS.
_From a MS. of Gower's Confessio Amantis, written before 1399._]

[Illustration: A PAGE FROM A LIVRE D'HEURES.
_Written at Tournay about 1465._]

[Illustration: TIBERIUS RECEIVING THE IMPERIAL CROWN.
_From a MS. of the Miroir Historial, written probably at Bruges about
1470._]

[Illustration: CHRIST IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE.
_From the Prayer book of Grey, Marquis of Dorset, about 1470._]

[Illustration: ADORATION OF THE MAGI.
_From an Italian Chorale written about 1530-40._]

[Illustration: AN ABBOT AND MONKS KNEELING BEFORE AN ALTAR.
_From an Evangeliarium illuminated in Flemish style by a German hand in
1548._]

[Illustration: MINIATURE OF THE ASCENSION.
_From the Suabian Breviary written at Ottenbeuern about 1160._]

[Illustration: THE FIRST PAGE OF THE OFFICE OF THE VIRGIN.
_From the Bentivoglio Prayerbook, written in Italy about 1520._]


       *       *       *       *       *



Corrections made to printed text

Page 9: 'The hieratic character was simply an abridgment of the
hieroglyphic' corrected from 'The hieratic character was simply an
abridgment of the hieratic' (!)

Page 31: 'Gothic th' corrected from 'Gothie th'

Index, Italy: 'various' corrected from 'varions'

Index, Mizraim: corrected from 'Mizzaim'





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Palaeography - Notes upon the History of Writing and the Medieval Art of Illumination" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home