Visigothic script


People And Writing - ERC StG Project 2020-2025

The Secret Life of Writing: People, Script and Ideas in the Iberian Peninsula (c. 900-1200)

As a rule, only those medieval manuscripts that were of interest for the powerful have been preserved. Extant codices were cherished throughout centuries as tangible signs of cultural pre-eminence and carriers of the sacred word; charters were kept as custodians of patrimony and witness to the history of institutions, proclaiming the reasons why monasteries and cathedrals should be revered. But against this rule, other manuscripts that did not directly serve the purposes of high-status minorities were created and are still around. Codices that, belonging to an ecclesiastical rite that was suppressed, should not survive today, but were kept as guardians of tradition. Charters that, intermingled with royal diplomas, have survived without an apparent reason for they do not relate to privileges granted. These sources show us a different side of medieval society in which non-powerful individuals outside central institutions played a crucial role in understanding the implications of written communication, shaping their social memory and that of their past by fully integrating writing in their lives.

PeopleAndWriting aims at exploring this common people-writing pairing to uncover what writing meant for lay communities, how it modelled their daily life, and how the use of writing individualised people within their group. From the interdisciplinary study of theses sources that defy the rule, the project proposes a novel method combining approaches from Manuscript Studies to Anthropology to, based upon the graphical, textual, and historical analysis of the sources, reveal the hidden history of the people who wrote, signed, read, and kept handwritten material. Moreover, by focusing on a hitherto unmapped corpus of manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula, which will be made openly available to the general public, the project aims to integrate Iberia in the recently opened general debate on Medieval Communication, exploring new avenues of research on Written Culture.

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Interdisciplinary topics

Visigothic script is the graphic form the Latin alphabet acquired for the most common writing uses in the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania during the Early and High Middle Ages. It is not just a writing system but the means of communication of the peninsular society during several centuries of the Middle Ages. For this reason, below you will find articles not only about this type of script from a palaeographical (analysis of writing), codicological (study of codices written or copied in this graphic system) and diplomatic (study of documents written in Visigothic script) point of view, but also about crucial topics in context within the fields of Semiology (signs used in manuscript sources) and on History (cultural context of Visigothic script). In the near future, sections on Art and Musicology will be also incorporated.

Imagen Codicology Codicology
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Codicology as a science / Codicology of Visigothic script codices / Online Catalogue of Visigothic script codices / The “Codex of the month” series

Background history History
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On the historical (political, economic, social, liturgical, cultural...) context of Visigothic script and Visigothic script manuscripts.

Header Art Art
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Discover the illumination programme behind each Visigothic script codex, the popular topics of the so-called Mozarabic style

Header Music Music
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On Visigothic (Old Hispanic, Mozarabic) musical notation found in Visigothic script manuscripts.
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