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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

M-10. Introduction to Paleography, 800-1500

Consuelo Detschke

This course provides an introduction to the basic scripts and the text typologies of the western European Middle Ages and the Renaissance from 800 to 1500, with focus on reading and transcription. In admitting students to the class, the instructor will prefer those with at least a beginning knowledge of Latin. In this course, recognition of the main types of script in their letter forms, abbreviations and decorative hierarchies entertwines with manifestations of text types to build a foundation for eventual advanced study in paleography. Awareness of terminologies of the field (for description of letter forms) and of conventions of the field (for transcription of medieval manuscripts) will aid in work on primary sources, as well as in interpretation of secondary sources. While a certain amount of time will be given over to lectures, the main concentration will be practical work sessions. Examples of actual manuscripts will be drawn from the collections of the Walters Art Museum; they will be combined with electronic images from the online Digital Scriptorium.

In their personal statement, applicants should describe the degree of their present knowledge of Latin and their reasons for wishing to take this course.

Course Resources

Course History


This course is newly added to the bulletin.
Consuelo Dutschke teaches this course for the first time.