The beginning of our ‘lower case’ scripts, though it would not have meant this to the original writers. The name used for this type of script is minuscule, ‘slightly smaller’, as opposed to the ‘somewhat larger’ majuscule.

It was current at the same time as Roman Uncial, and a cursive version was used for rapid correspondence and note-taking. It was immensely influential, and was used all over Latin Europe: later versions developed into both the strikingly formal Insular Half-Uncial, otherwise known as Insular Majuscule, and the elegantly practical Carolingian Minuscule, as well as the various Anglo-Saxon vernacular scripts.

Bamberg Staatsbibliothek MS Patr. 87 contains the works of St Jerome and St Augustine. It was written in Italy in the 6th century A.D.
This page, folio 95r, contains the chapter headings for Augustine’s Enchiridion (‘Handbook’) on theological matters.


  1. Transcribe only 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 five lines.

  1. How many abbreviations can you see, how are they indicated, and what do they stand for?
    If you do not know, make a note of them nonetheless.
    There are a couple which you may not know.
  1. Copy out a line, using pen and ink.
    What do you notice about the mechanics of writing?
  1. How does this script differ from Roman Uncial?
    Look at
  • .......... Individual letter forms.

    Explain the nature of the differences:

  1. Describe the layout.
    What function does it serve?
  1. Identify the script used for the heading in lines 3 to 5.

  1. Is there any punctuation?
  1. Are there any gaps between the words?

Return to Index.