Palæography: Notes upon the History of Writing
NOTES UPON THE
HISTORY OF WRITING
MEDIEVAL ART OF ILLUMINATION
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
This Volume is
Dedicated to my excellent friend
Brother Alexander T. Hollingsworth,
ARTIFICER, and PRESIDENT OF
The Odd Volumes, 1893-94,
THE BRETHREN OF THE SETTE
I have been united since 1878 in O. V. bond,
Librarian to the Sette.
London, 15 Piccadilly, March 31st, 1894.
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 ofstudy 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 (). 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 isbelieved 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 asyet 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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 Bœotia by Cadmus the Phœnician. 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 Phœnicians. 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 itself a sufficient acknowledgment of the secondary position of the Hellenes. It is generally held that the Phœnicians derived their alphabet by means of a selection from the phonetic symbols of the Egyptian hieratic script. Whether the process was due to the Phœnicians 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 Phœnicia 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 Phœnicians, but Babylonian Aramæans in contact with Cilicia and Cappadocia. The names of the letters, as sounded by the Syrians of Palestine (Phœnicians, Israelites, Jews), were: Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, He, Vau, Zain (Zai), Hheth (Kheth), Teth, Yod, 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 Phœnicians 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, 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 sister, had some immediate influence in modifying the forms borrowed by the Bœotians 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 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 + () and leaning sidewise as × (). 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 Phœnicians 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 Phœnician 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 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.earlier; and that the art of writing had been carried westward as far back at least as the seventh or eighth century
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 the letters took their permanent shape from the left-right sequence. In several Greek towns, the old was replaced by a C (the result of a cursive mode of writing), and the triangular had its second and third lines represented by a single curve. The was still a , and the P had a little stroke added to it () for the sake of distinction. The Sigma was commonly written instead of (). 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 (). 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 , , and 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 of 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 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 Phœnicians, 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 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 allthe seats in which Phœnician 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.
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 Phœnicians 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 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 Hebrewscripture 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 indesign 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,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 goldand 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 theyproduced 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. 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 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.Down at least to the second century
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 ofGermans. 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 and . The Gothic th, hw, w, o, 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 beinherent 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 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 infigure-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.
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, nœuds, 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 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 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.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
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 firstmeans 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.
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 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 Mœsian 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 mightwell 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 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,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'sarrival) 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 grownarrow, 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 similareffect, 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.
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 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.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
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.
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 theninth century, gradually lost its elegant boldness, tending towards angularity and crampness when the eleventh century had begun.
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 presentday, 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 necessaryadditions) 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 powerfullythan 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 theSacramentary, 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 everykind, 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 AthanasianCreed, 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, 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,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 andcollectors. 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, 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.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 with Irish work about
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 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 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 sixteenthcentury, 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 earlierperiod 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 isonly 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 beperformed 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 eventhe 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 thepurely 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.
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 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.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. (
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 oldGermanic 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. TheCarolingian 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 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.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
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 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.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
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 abstainfrom 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 illuminatedinitials 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 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 thesouth—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 owedtheir 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 ofAragonese 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. Venetianexamples 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 Tuscanysomewhat 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 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 ), 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 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 Phœnicians, 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 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, nowin 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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
Ambrosian use in the Milanese liturgy, 53
Angles civilized, 34
Anglo-Saxon alphabet, 26, 32
— decoration of MS., 35, 37
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
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
— 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 Phœnician, 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
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
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
— MS. Bible Sec. XIII., 87
Estrangelo Syriac, 20
Ethiopic language, 85
— writing, 12
Etruscan alphabet, 16
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
— 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
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
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
— 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
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
Margaret of Austria, 80
Marseilles, Greek colony, 15, 22
Materials of books, 3
Mathias Corvinus, 80
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
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
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
Phœnician colonies, 15
— use of letters, 10
Photius, Bibliotheca, 54
Phrygian use of letters, 12
Prakrit language, 18, 21
Prayer books for private persons, 55, 56
Prisse Papyrus, 5
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
Scandinavian writing, Anglo-Saxon, 50
— — Teutonic, 51
— — Runic, 29, 50
Scots, Irish pirates, 33
Scottish Liturgies, 69
Semitic Alphabet, 11
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
— mediæval Gothic, 43
Spanish Calendars in Liturgies, 70
— ornamentation of MSS., 61
Stephens (George), 29
Stubbs (Bishop), 33
Sweynheym and Pannartz, 83
Syriac language, 19, 24
Talik writing (Persian), 21
Terrien de la Couperie (Prof.), 13
Theodoric the Ostrogoth, 41
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
Umbrian and Oscan writing, 16
Uncials in writing, 25
Vellum for books, 4
Venetian Art, Troybook, 88
— miniatures, 81, 82, 88
— 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
THE FIRST PAGE OF ST. JOHN'S GOSPEL.
From a Greek MS. of the Tenth Century, brought by Cesnola from Cyprus.
THE SECOND ANGEL BLOWING HIS TRUMPET.
From a series of unfinished designs illustrating the Apocalypse; executed at Nuneaton about A.D. 1280.
TIBERIUS RECEIVING THE IMPERIAL CROWN.
From a MS. of the Miroir Historial, written probably at Bruges about 1470.
AN ABBOT AND MONKS KNEELING BEFORE AN ALTAR.
From an Evangeliarium illuminated in Flemish style by a German hand in 1548.