Alcuin's Presentation

Current National Hands

Charlemagne, you have asked me, Alcuin, to demonstrate the state of writing all over the world. Here I will show you my findings. Follow the links at the bottom of the page to other portions of my resulting argument for how we should write within Aachen and the rest of your vast Empire.

After taking a survey of the many scripts available in the world, I have narrowed them down to the most distinctive and widely used:

  • Luxeuil Minuscule

This script comes from the Luxeuil abbey in Burgundy, France. This script has not been done since the destruction of the monastery in 731, but there still remain plenty of examples. As you can see, this is a very busy style with many loops and interlocking letters. It can be quite difficult to read.

luxeuil.jpg
  • Merovingian B Minuscule

This is one of the most widely used scripts within your empire. Letters can be slanted and there are many extra loops and ligatures. The script can be difficult to read because of variant letter forms.

merovingian.jpg
  • Beneventan Minuscule

This is a newer script from Benevento in southern Italy. It is a very connected script, and features letters with diamond-shaped strokes.

beneventan.jpg
  • Rhaetian Minuscule

This script has developed in a monastery near Chur. It has a lot in common with the scripts from Ireland in its somewhat pointed appearance. However, instead of ending in points, descenders of letters end in clubbed strokes.

rhaetian.jpg
  • Visigothic Minuscule

This script has developed in Spain. Like Rhaetian Minuscule, this script strongly resembles the scripts of Ireland. The letters have a tendency to have wedge shapes on the ends of the ascenders.

visigothic.jpg

As this makes apparent, the many national scripts vary widely, not only in appearance but also in legibility. Some scripts, such as Luxeuil Minuscule, are so distinctive that one would need special training to be able to read what is written on this page.

Why We Need Clear Scripts

Carolingian Script

Hierarchy of Scripts

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