Reference Entry


P. R. Robinson

in Oxford Art Online

Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI:

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Term applied to the study of ancient handwriting (see Script) but more widely to the study of the manuscript book as a whole, overlapping to some extent with Codicology. It embraces the investigation of the technical processes by which a manuscript was produced and of the historical circumstances in which it appeared (see Manuscript §II). As such, palaeography is a fundamental tool for those interested in the transmission and preservation of texts, Classical or medieval, Latin, Greek or vernacular. The contribution of palaeography to understanding the conditions in which a text was copied and disseminated has important implications for students in many disciplines including history of art.

Palaeography as a discipline emerged out of a dispute over the authenticity of certain Merovingian charters. In order to determine if the disputed documents were genuine, the Benedictine historian Jean Mabillon studied their script (De re diplomatica, Paris, ...

Reference Entry.  562 words. 

Subjects: Book Arts and Illustration

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