INSULAR HALF UNCIAL (Insular Majuscule)
A breathtaking development of the Roman Half-Uncial, created in the British Isles, hence
Insular. It is also known as
Insular Majuscule, though it is not strictly speaking a majuscule script.
This is a folio from Trinity College MS 58, 'The Book of
Kells'. It is a Gospel Book, written in Ireland at Kells, or possibly Iona
c.800 A.D. This is quite late: the script was evolved during the 7th century, and its most
striking and famous example is the Lindisfarne Gospels, written
in the monastery there by its bishop Eadfrith c. AD 698.
You know the routine by now. Please
- Transcribe the portion between the
two red lines.
You should use the whole document, however, for your appraisal of the script
and its layout.
Go to following pages for a close-up version in slices.
I have given you a sample transcription of the first two and the last
- How many abbreviations can you see, how are they
indicated, and what do they
If you do not know, make a note of them nonetheless.
- Copy out a line, using pen and ink.
What do you notice about the mechanics of writing?
- How does this script differ from
Roman Half Uncial?
Explain the nature of the differences.
- Describe the layout.
What function does it serve?
- Is there any punctuation?
- Are there any gaps between the words?
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© MEG TWYCROSS 1999