LitteraVisigothica in Lisbon!

#Palaeography #Music #Art

 

I am delighted to announce that this year, in addition to the London International Palaeography Summer School, I will be teaching Visigothic script at an interdisciplinary workshop in Lisbon!

The workshop is Palaeography of Old Hispanic Manuscripts: Music, Text and Beyond. It is envisioned as a skills training event designed for 20 participants (hurry up and book your place!). The event, which is open to members of the public, involves the active participation of the attendees who will be stimulated to develop critical thinking around what they see and will be encouraged to ask questions and comment. Junior scholars, as well as experienced Medievalists interested in the topic, will be welcome to apply.

It will take place at the CESEM – Centro de Estudos de Sociologia e Estética Musical, in Lisbon (Portugal) on 4 May 2017.

Workshop goals:

  • Build a bridge between Medieval Iberia and modern scholars.
  • Provide the participants with basic training to tackle Old Hispanic musical manuscripts and understand their contents.
  • Encourage attendees to keep studying these manuscripts after the Workshop.
  • Establish an international network of scholars interested in Old Hispanic chant and script.

Besides yours truly, I will conduct the teaching together with three amazing people: Carmen Julia Gutierrez – Reader in Musicology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid -, Rose Walker – art historian specialised in Medieval Spain -, and Elsa de Luca – music palaeographer and postdoctoral research fellow at the CESEM.

*Funding from ‘Plainsong and Medieval Music Society’ will be used to offer some travel bursaries to enable qualified students to attend.

For more information please contact: elsa (at) campus.ul.pt

And here is the official poster and programme:




LitteraVisigothica at the Medieval Manuscripts seminar series

Hi there. Do you remember all the posts I wrote last year about the Silos Apocalypse (British Library, Add MS 11695)? Particularly these two: ViGOTHIC update: Making a medieval codex (I) and ViGOTHIC update: Making a medieval codex (II). Well, I am presenting the results of my research on this manuscript next week at the Medieval Manuscripts seminar series at Senate House London. Here is the official announcement. The event is FREE and anyone interested in the topic is welcome to join.

 

MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS SEMINAR SERIES

Senate House London
Dr Seng T Lee Centre for Manuscript and Book Studies

31 January 2017 • 5.30 PM

Ainoa Correa Castro, PhD LMS
Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow, King’s College London

The scribes of the Silos Apocalypse (London, British Library, Add. MS. 11695) and the scriptorium of Silos in the late eleventh century

In the late eleventh century Fortunio, abbot of the newly restored Benedictine community of Silos, near Burgos, commissioned the time- and cost-consuming task of replicating for the monastery one of the most significant best-sellers of the peninsular Middle Ages: a Beatus. In doing so, he was continuing a long-lasting Iberian, Mozarabic, tradition originating in the late eighth century.
In this seminar the Silos Apocalypse will be examined with the purpose of unveiling who were the scribes who intervened in its copying, what can be known about their professional connections, what was their cultural context, and how this codex fits within the written production of Silos in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries.

Hope to see you there!




Littera Visigothica at the IMC Leeds 2017

Some months ago, I sent a call for papers asking for speakers to participate in at least one session on the concept of ‘Otherness’ in the Iberian Peninsula through the study of graphic, textual and artistic practices as part of the International Medieval Congress organised in Leeds every year. The call was, once again, an extraordinary success with many abstracts received approaching the topic from many different points of view. I am very grateful to all of you who contacted me, as well as to those who help to spread the call. As a consequence of the interest shown, not only one but three very interesting sessions came to be, were proposed to the IMC Leeds Committee, and accepted! Thus, if you are interested in medieval manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula, in graphic, textual and artistic practices, your place will be Leeds, 2017, 4th of July. We would love to see you there!

La otra opción: explorando el concepto de alteridad en la Península Ibérica durante la Edad Media

Organizador: Ainoa Castro Correa, Department of History, King’s College London

En sintonía con el tema central del Congreso, “Otherness”, estas tres sesiones proponen debate abierto sobre el concepto de alteridad a través del estudio de fuentes manuscritas de la Península Ibérica (siglos IX-XV) haciendo hincapié en las implicaciones culturales de la elección entre lo propio y lo “otro” en cada ámbito y periodo. Se pretende así explorar las opciones gráficas, textuales, artísticas, y, en conjunto, culturales disponibles en la edad media peninsular, en contextos cristianos, musulmanes y judíos, con la finalidad de ahondar en la configuración de una identidad opuesta como forma de definir la propia.

La primera sesión está enfocada al análisis de prácticas gráficas y diplomáticas, englobando desde el estudio de escribas polígrafos y/o políglotas hasta el tratamiento de la documentación por parte de éstos. La segunda se centra en prácticas textuales, en qué libros formaban qué bibliotecas como reflejo de una situación cultural y religiosa concreta, y en el comercio de libros. Mientras que la tercera se centra en prácticas artísticas, en el contraste entre los estilos artísticos de cada comunidad religiosa, y entre los propios y los importados.

Sesión 1: La otra opción: explorando el concepto de alteridad en la Península Ibérica durante la Edad Media I. Prácticas gráficas

  • The ‘Other’ script: Visigothic script(s) and Caroline minuscule – Ainoa Castro Correa (King’s College London)
  • Vat. Lat. 12900 and other writings by Christians – Francisco A. Marcos Marín (University of Texas at San Antonio)
  • An/other chance? Non-diplomatic material in Iberian cartularies (end 11th-mid 13th c.) – Hélène Sirantoine (University of Sydney)

Sesión 2: La otra opción: explorando el concepto de alteridad en la Península Ibérica durante la Edad Media II. Prácticas textuales

  • The other books: negative stereotypes and heighten fear against the scholastic way in Lucas of Tuy’s oeuvre (León, ca. 1220‑1230) – Amélie de las Heras (CNRS Fondation Thiers-Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes)
  • The ‘Otherworld’: Forms of Otherness in the Siete Partidas of King Alfonso X of Castile – Heidi Krauss (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid)
  • Dexo e niego la mala secta de Mahomat e de los iudíos: a Castilian ordo for the conversion of Muslims and Jews in the 14th century – Mercedes López-Mayán (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)

Sesión 3: La otra opción: explorando el concepto de alteridad en la Península Ibérica durante la Edad Media III. Prácticas artísticas

  • Trayectoria artística de un scriptorium monástico hispano entre los siglos X y XIII: el ejemplo de San Millán de la Cogolla – Soledad de Silva y Verástegui (Universidad del País Vasco)
  • Christian Approach to Non-Christian Religious Buildings in the Middle Ages: The Reuse of Mosque and Synagogues during the Reconquista – Esther Dorado-Ladera (Independent Scholar)
  • Identity matter(s) in medieval Iberian Jewish manuscripts – Débora Marques de Matos (Institute of Jewish Studies at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster)

 

 

 

 




CFP: LitteraVisigothica en el Congreso Internacional de Leeds 2017?

El año pasado LitteraVisigothica estuvo en el IMC de Leeds con cuatro sesiones excelentes sobre las que podéis leer más aquí y, también, sobre las que espero tener buenas noticias pronto. La experiencia fue tan enriquecedora que me he decidido a intentar repetirla. Con esa intención, abajo os dejo el CFP para el año que viene. Espero que os interese y que os animéis a participar. Por favor difundirlo entre todos aquellos que creáis puedan estar interesados. Gracias!

International Medieval Congress 2017 · University of Leeds, 3-6 Julio 2017

Call for Papers

Fecha límite 25 de septiembre 2016

La otra opción: explorando el concepto del Otro en la Península Ibérica durante la Edad Media

En sintonía con el tema central del Congreso Internacional de Estudios Medievales de la Universidad de Leeds del año próximo, “Otherness”, se abre convocatoria para participar en una o varias sesiones dedicadas a reflexionar sobre el concepto de alteridad y de lo propio a través de fuentes manuscritas de la Península Ibérica de entre los siglos IX y XIV.

Se aceptan comunicaciones en relación a, que no exclusivamente:

  • prácticas gráficas: estudio de escribas polígrafos y/o políglotas, consideración de un sistema gráfico o lingüístico como el predominante mientras otros se practicaban con menor asiduidad en el mismo contexto o en otros – ¿Qué suponía para un escriba dentro de su comunidad el ser capaz de dominar varios sistemas gráficos? ¿Y si éstos combinaban expresiones de diferentes grupos culturales (escribas polígrafos y políglotas)? ¿Cómo recibían escribas entrenados en un sistema gráfico a aquellos que dominaban otros? ¿Se aprecia una diferenciación consciente de estatus social entre uno y otro grupo?
  • prácticas textuales: composición de bibliotecas, tipos de libros, consideración de libros importados dentro de un contexto específico o genérico peninsular como reflejo de otra situación cultural – ¿Qué significado podemos entrever tuvo la incorporación o producción de libros ajenos al contexto propio para una determinada comunidad? ¿Qué cambios se pueden apreciar en la misma gracias a la incorporación de éstos libros? ¿Se especializaron scriptoria en la copia de determinadas piezas paralelas a la corriente predominante? ¿Qué significado tiene dentro de una biblioteca contar con ejemplares “disonantes”?
  • prácticas artísticas: diferencias en estilos de iluminación en fuentes conservadas y su contextualización – ¿Cómo se gestiona un cambio de estilo artístico dentro de la producción manuscrita peninsular? ¿Por qué se produce? ¿Cuáles fueron los centros innovadores y cuáles los más reacios a un estilo que consideraban ajeno? ¿Cómo se reacciona ante el mismo? ¿Qué implicaciones históricas y no solamente culturales refleja?

* En relación a diferentes grupos sociales, referencias a “los otros” en fuentes textuales conservadas, dado el gran alcance que tiene este tema en la Península Ibérica, se aceptarán también comunicaciones pero limitadas a prácticas manuscritas en relación con los tres puntos mencionados (escribas de diferentes grupos sociales, libros clave de estas comunidades, influencia entre prácticas artísticas de uno y otro grupo). Es decir, comunicaciones que puedan englobarse en el campo de historia de la cultura escrita.

Se pretende explorar las opciones gráficas, textuales, artísticas, y, en conjunto, culturales en la edad media peninsular paralelas a las corrientes predominantes en cada contexto y período con la intención de indagar en la formación de una identidad opuesta como forma de definir la propia y en su significado.

Aquellos interesados en participar en esta convocatoria pueden ponerse en contacto via email antes del 25 de septiembre de 2016 incluyendo la siguiente información: título de la comunicación propuesta y un pequeño resumen de la misma (alrededor de 100 palabras), nombre, afiliación y datos de contacto, y un pequeño CV (máximo 1 página). Se aceptan comunicaciones en castellano y en inglés. El tiempo disponible para cada ponente será de 20 min.

 

 




Charla en el Archivo Histórico Nacional de Madrid

“Humanidades Digitales, Paleografía Digital. El proyecto ViGOTHIC”

El próximo martes 29 de marzo tendrá lugar en el Salón de Actos del Archivo Histórico Nacional de Madrid (Calle Serrano, 115), a las 10.00 de la mañana, una charla informal en la que debatiremos sobre Humanidades Digitales, Paleografía Digital, y el proyecto de investigación en el que trabajo, ViGOTHIC, sobre el que podéis leer más aquí y aquí.

He pensado esta charla como una oportunidad abierta a todo aquel que quiera participar para poner en común nuestras ideas sobre el campo de la paleografía digital, las opciones actualmente disponibles, sus ventajas e inconvenientes. Será un placer contar con vosotros !

 

Actualización 31 de marzo

Quería desde aquí dar las gracias a todos los asistentes al evento así como al magnífico equipo del Archivo Histórico Nacional no solo por hacer posible la charla sino por su participación tan activa en la misma! Poca veces se encuentra uno un público tan predispuesto. Sin vosotros, sin todas vuestras ideas en relación al proyecto, no habría sido tan provechoso como sin duda ha sido.

Para todos aquellos que no pudísteis seguir la charla en vivo o a través de mi cuenta de twitter, os dejo a continuación un resumen de la misma.

storify

[click aquí o sobre la imagen]

Y también podéis acceder al PowerPoint completo de la presentación en mi perfil de Academia.edu.

 

Gracias!




Littera Visigothica at the IMC Leeds 2016

Around three months ago, I sent a call for papers asking for speakers to participate in at least one session on the change from Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule in the Iberian Peninsula as part of the International Medieval Congress organised in Leeds every year. Well, the call was an extraordinary success, with many abstracts received approaching the topic from many different points of view. I am very grateful to all of you who contacted me, as well as to those who help to spread the call. As a consequence of the interest shown, not only one but four very interesting sessions came to be, were proposed to the IMC Leeds Committee, and accepted! Thus, if you are interested in medieval manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula, in Visigothic script, in medieval musical notation in the Iberian Peninsula, in Peninsular Arabic-Latin scribes, in Caroline minuscule, or in Gothic scripts, to name but a few of the key topics that will be discussed in these four sessions, your place will be Leeds, 2016, 6 of July. We would love to see you there!

From Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule, from Caroline minuscule to Gothic scripts. 

The reception and evolution of Caroline minuscule in the Iberian Peninsula.

Sponsor: Network for the Study of Caroline Minuscule

Organiser: Ainoa Castro Correa, Department of History, King’s College London

Abstract: While in 11th-century Europe Caroline minuscule was the main writing system used in manuscript production, in most of the Iberian Peninsula this script was just beginning to be used. The persistence of the traditional peninsular script, Visigothic, led to a long and unequal transitional phase towards the new imported graphic system. At the same time, once the change was accepted, its graphic model arrived lacking its essential nature evolving thus quickly to a variety of proto-Gothic scripts which gave back to the Peninsula its graphic particularity. With works on scribes developing their careers in the periods in between writing systems, these sessions aim to explore the contexts of graphic change and polygraphism lived in the Iberian Peninsula from the 11th to the 14th century.

Session I: Visigothic Tradition Fading

This first session kicks off discussion by looking into how Visigothic script began to fade as main writing system in both manuscript and epigraphic sources. [Moderator/Chair: Ainoa Castro Correa, King’s College London]

  • ‘La escritura toledana, mourisca o visigótica en Portugal en el siglo XI’ – María José Azevedo Santos (Universidade de Coimbra)
  • Los centros escriptorios en el Reino de León: la transición de la visigótica a la carolina a través de la escritura publicitaria’ – María Encarnación Martín López (Universidad de León)
  • The Corsini Beatus: A Transition from the Visigothic Tradition’ – Barbara Shailor (Yale University)

Session II: Resistance to Caroline Minuscule

This second session discusses some of the most significant strongholds of Visigothic script tradition, displaying, through the analysis of manuscript and epigraphic sources, resistance to the graphic change. [Moderator/Chair: Elsa De Luca, University of Bristol]

  • ‘De la escritura visigótica a la carolina: Pasos hacia la nueva producción epigráfica en los centros de La Rioja’ – Irene Pereira García (Universidad de León)
  • Cultura escrita en el monasterio de Santa María de Monfero (A Coruña): Notarios y ‘scriptores’ de los ss. XII y XIII’ – María Teresa Carrasco Lazareno (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  • Abbreviation by superscripted vowel: its arrival and use in documents and books from Castile’ – Francisco J. Molina (Universidad de Valladolid)

Session III: Parallel Changes – Outside the Conflict Visigothic Versus Caroline

At the same time as the collision of the two writing systems, Visigothic and Caroline, took place, other significant changes materialised in manuscript sources. This third session explores coeval changes in musical notation and language as well as in parallel cultural contexts. [Moderator/Chair: Irene Pereira García, Universidad de León]

  • ‘Graphical Changes in Old Hispanic Vertical Notation’ – Elsa De Luca (University of Bristol)
  • The Signatures in the Mozarabic Documents in Twelfth and Thirteenth Century Toledo’ – Yasmine Beale-Rivaya (Texas State University)
  • Modelos escriturarios arcaicos en la cultura manuscrita gallega siglos XIII-XIV’ – Ricardo Pichel Gotérrez (University of Birmingham)

Session IV: The Brief Life of Caroline Minuscule 

Once the Carolingian writing system was finally imposed, its troublesome introduction mirrored in a brief life fading against Gothic scripts. This fourth session closes the topic of graphic change by discussing the last years of Caroline minuscule in the Iberian Peninsula. [Moderator/Chair: Ricardo Pichel Gotérrez, University of Birmingham]

  • ‘De la carolina a la gótica en Cataluña: Contextos, lugares, nombres, problemas’ – J. Antoni Iglesias Fonseca (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • El proceso de gotización de la escritura carolina en Cataluña’ – Mireia Comas / Daniel Piñol (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • De escribas y escrituras en los documentos de Oña, 1107-1215′ – Concepción Mendo Carmona (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

 

 




Littera Visigothica at the London International Palaeography Summer School

Exciting news:

I am teaching a full-day course on Visigothic script for the London International Palaeography Summer School!

As you can read in its site, the London International Palaeography Summer School is a series of intensive courses in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies that takes place each Summer in London. The next year, 2016, it will run from the 13 to the 17 of June.

The Summer School is hosted by the Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies with the co-operation of the British Library, the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House Library, the Warburg Institute, University College, King’s College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Courses offered at the London International Palaeography Summer School range from a half to two days duration and are given by experts in their respective fields from a wide range of institutions (you can read about teachers’ affiliations and research interests here). Subject areas include Latin, English, Anglo-Saxon, German and Greek palaeography, history of scripts, illuminated manuscripts, codicology, vernacular editing and liturgical and devotional manuscripts (course overview). For the first time, next year there will be a specific course on Visigothic script too!


Introduction to Visigothic Script

Dr Ainoa Castro Correa (King’s College London)
Full day – from 10.00 to 17.00 – 14 June 2016
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House Library

Abstract:

Almost all written production in what is now Spain and Portugal from the 8th to the 12th centuries was done in what is called ‘Visigothic script’, which evolved in the Peninsula from the scripts of the Late Roman Empire just as Merovingian, Insular, and Beneventan scripts did in their corresponding geographical areas. In this course, students will gain knowledge about not only the origin of Visigothic script but also about its main typological and geographical variants and its stages of evolution throughout the centuries, these aspects being discussed through digital reproductions of significant manuscript examples.

This course is open to everyone interested in medieval manuscript production, with a focus on the Iberian Peninsula’s manuscript material. Its main aim is to familiarise the participants with a particular model of medieval script, with those letters, signs, and abbreviations that characterise Visigothic script. Therefore, no previous experience is required although students with at least a basic training in palaeography will particularly benefit from the course. There will be some transcription exercises where those students who wish to do so will have the opportunity to practice reading the script.

Some basic references you might find useful – if you want to come prepared:

  • J. Alturo Perucho, A. Castro Correa and M. Torras Cortina (eds.), La escritura visigótica en la Península Ibérica. Nuevas aportaciones (Bellaterra, 2012).
  • Mª J. Azevedo Santos, Da visigótica à carolina, a escrita em Portugal de 882 a 1172 (Lisbon, 1994).
  • M. C. Díaz y Díaz et al., Corpus de códices visigóticos (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1999).
  • A. Millares Carlo, Tratado de Paleografía española (Madrid, 1983).
  • I. Velázquez Soriano, Documentos de época visigoda escritos en pizarra (Turnhout, 2000).

(You can also check the Bibliography page above, and, of course, the contents of this site organised for teaching purposes).


There will be plenty of cool images, the key topics will be openly discussed. No need to be an expert! I would love to see you all there.

The inscription for this course will open in early January. In the meantime, you can check the London International Palaeography Summer School site for more info. Don’t miss it!




How did scribes perceive the graphic change?

If you are reading this post, you more likely come from its first part “Visigothic script at the 19th Colloquium of the CIPL”. If not, some context: Earlier this month, I gave a paper at the 19th Colloquium of the Comité international de paléographie latine about the change from Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule. There, instead of going through a detailed list of graphic changes, what I did was to organize my presentation into four main unsolved questions which can be extrapolated to any period of graphic change aiming to foster discussion on the topic.

How did scribes perceive the graphic change from Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule? :

To what extent were the scribes aware of the graphic differences between writing systems?

Were early 12th-century Galician scribes polygraphic amanuenses?

How were scribes trained in the new script? Who taught them?

Was the social status of Visigothic and Carolingian script scribes the same?

FIG. 1. A glimpse of one of the earliest charters written in Caroline minuscule from Galicia (dated 1126)

FIG. 1. A glimpse of one of the earliest charters written in Caroline minuscule from Galicia (dated 1126)

Medieval scribes did not have the freedom to choose the form of the letters they were using to write as we have now. Rather, they had a model, a standard that was followed by a given geographical area, which usually corresponds to a political entity – meaning a country or group of kingdoms with a cultural link.

As for Visigothic script, as I guess as for many other medieval and modern scripts, it was not decided per se that everything needed to be written in Visigothic; the script just evolved developing to what we identify now as that particular graphic model. Caroline minuscule, on the other hand, was, in the Iberian Peninsula, imposed. From the late 9th century on, the writing system that is Carolingian was spread and prioritized instead of the Visigothic one in the scriptoria that populated the different kingdoms of medieval Spain. Scribes who were, until that moment, using Visigothic, needed, thereafter, to learn and apply Caroline minuscule. Some agree, some others did not.

Such a process of graphic change here roughly explained, offers an exceptional milieu upon which to study many different aspects and not just the scripts used. For example, those scribes who decided not to use Caroline, even when they were supposed to do so, show objection for a reason, be it respect for a prior cultural tradition for them worth preserving or just old age and reluctance to learn something new. They could belong to a scriptorium that was opposed to all Carolingian graphic, religious, and/or political influence, or they might just have had problems to find and/or afford a master of Caroline minuscule to teach them. As can be seen, the approach accepts a rainbow of possibilities, as many as you want.

The Harley Psalter, 1st half of the 11th c. © British Library, digitized at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Harley_MS_603

FIG. 2. The Harley Psalter, 1st half of the 11th c. © British Library, digitized at http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Harley_MS_603

Regardless of how we want to interpret the graphic change, what is beyond question is that scribes were aware of it. They indeed perceived it. Let us leave aside the historical, political, cultural, and/or religious change to focus upon the graphic one. To what extent were the scribes aware of the graphic differences between writing systems? What my research has shown is that Visigothic script scribes did recognize Caroline minuscule, being aware of its peculiarities.

In comparison with Visigothic, Caroline minuscule has a different set of letterforms – particularly for a, g, I, and t -, and abbreviations – new to the system were, for example, those of noster/uester with theme in r instead of in s [you can read more about abbreviations and letterforms here and here]. Punctuation also has its nuances [more here]. The ductus is, however, not far from that of Visigothic minuscule. Anyway, there was a difference. So, what some Visigothic script scribes did was to start incorporating some of these new features into their hands, using a typology that we now describe as transitional Visigothic script [more here and here].

Did they do it consciously or not? It can only be guessed; say they did. Why? Were they learning the new system and, thus, did not master it yet? Were they trying to add some traces of trendiness even when they did not want to change? Again, those who did not add the new features, why did they preserve the Visigothic model? It is difficult to assess. What it can be said is that, through the close examination of extant charters, they seem to have been a bit confused at first about which features belong to which graphic model, since we find some hands that mixed scripts in a very particular way. See the image below; this is a Visigothic minuscule hand who wrote a Carolingian abbreviation adding also the Visigothic one.

Caroline nb + Visigothic -is Santiago de Compostela, AHUS., Blanco Ciceron, 188 (1122)

FIG. 3. Caroline minuscule nb + Visigothic script sign for -is © Santiago de Compostela, AHUS., Blanco Cicerón, 188 (dated 1122)

Does this mean that the scribes who mixed both scripts were polygraphic amanuenses, meaning that they were able to write in both scripts, Visigothic and Caroline? I do not think so. Some of them might have been, but not all. In my point of view, most of the scribes working on this transitional period of graphic change were either learning Caroline minuscule or irremediable influenced by it, consciously or not. Another question to ask is whether they were polygraphic Visigothic script scribes; I have already written about this here.

Codex Vigilanus seu Albeldensis, late 10th c. © El Escorial d.I.2

FIG. 4. Codex Vigilanus seu Albeldensis, late 10th c. © El Escorial d.I.2

How the process of learning a new script was for the scribes who decided to change? Leaving aside the dissimilarities between the two writing systems, Visigothic and Caroline do not look so different. Our brain needs to be reminded, though, that in medieval times written culture was not as today. Most of the population now is able to write, in the Middle Ages this was not the case. Thus, to learn a new script must have been a great deal. It is known that Carolingian masters came to the Iberian Peninsula to teach the new script to those who wanted to learn it, but there is no direct evidence to explain how the process itself was. For those who already knew Visigothic, it must have been easier to learn the new features, or maybe not? If we were now obliged to modify the form of our a or t, how long will take to our brain, eye and hand, to actually change? [see related posts about me learning to write in Visigothic script].

Learning to write in Visigothic script

FIG. 5. Learning to write in Visigothic script

Another difference between now and 12th century Iberian Peninsula is that, back then, writing was a laborious and slow process; it can be assumed their brain had enough time to realize the model the scribe’s hand should follow, or not? This could be another post. Let us just note here that examples of codices in which the copyist lost his thought and wrote some lines in another script have been preserved.

Finally, as for the last question, it has been suggested that those scribes and scriptoria that changed to Caroline were thus accepting and acknowledging Carolingian cultural pre-eminence. If so, it can be discussed whether Carolingian scribes held a higher status than Visigothic script scribes. In my opinion, to assess this question is tricky if not impossible. I guess that if a center felt powerful enough as to fight for the preservation of its own culture, it did not subdue; while if it was a minor center it could have done so? What do you think?

 

PD. If you know about publications tackling one or several of these questions, I would be grateful if you could please let me know.

 

– by Ainoa Castro

Suggested Citation: Castro Correa, A. “How did scribes perceive the graphic change?″. Littera Visigothica (September 2015), http://litteravisigothica.com/how-did-scribes-perceive-the-graphic-change (ISSN 2386-6330).




Visigothic script at the 19th Colloquium of the CIPL

Earlier this month I was giving a paper in Berlin at the 19th Colloquium of the Comité international de paléographie latine [for those of you who do not know it, you can join APICES – Association Paléographique Internationale. Culture. Écriture. Societé, which is the “public” counterpart of the Comité and runs a very useful mailing list – also has a journal]. The meeting had as main theme „Change“ in medieval and Renaissance scripts and manuscripts.

“Change” is history. It occurs in every aspect of human culture: political, technical, theological, ideological, legal, literary, etc. It can affect a single person, a group or an entire society. It has multiple temporal dimensions, from immediate decisions to long-term consequences. It is a process, which can be described and explained as the result of individual action, but also as the outcome of anonymous, collective, transformations. Like other sciences, palaeography and codicology have gradually developed their own concepts and terms to analyse change in medieval and early modern scripts and manuscripts. Some of these endeavour to offer more or less ambitious explanatory models, either for specific phenomena or for general trends. Many others are essentially descriptive, typological and chronological, but they too refer to implicit theories of historical evolution. All these notions deserve to be tested and discussed. “Change in medieval manuscripts” can refer to many phenomena, on different scales (a scribe, a scriptorium, a wider context). These are mostly intertwined and can be studied as causes or consequences of one another, e.g.: the structure and style of scripts; the visual and material appearance of books; the social organisation and economy of writing and book making; materials and technical processes; processes of disseminating, preserving and using written works… Preference will be given to proposals offering not only descriptive approaches but original reflections and interpretations, e.g. on the following: evidence of change; explanations of change; change as a turning-point (periodisation); factors facilitating or hindering change.

 You can read abstracts of all the presentations given here.

There was also an exhibit at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: „Anatomy of Letters“ by Sigríður Rún. Really fascinating, check it -> here and here.

Exhibit "Anatomy of letters" by Sigríður Rún

Exhibit “Anatomy of letters” by Sigríður Rún

As could not be otherwise because of the organizer, the quality of the speakers was astounding. I particularly enjoyed the papers by Peter Stokes, Irene Ceccherini, Carmen del Camino, Colleen Curran, Orietta Da Rold, Martin Schubert, Elena Rodríguez, and Dominique Stutzmann (presentation order), although almost all of them have been useful for my research either because of the methodology applied, the main conclusions presented, or just the brainstorming to which they led trying to shed light in solving the “change” query from different points of view and different corpora. In a couple of years, more or less, I guess we will have the proceedings published; I will cherish this book as many of the previous ones [the 1987 colloquium was almost entirely about Visigothic script, see].

Visigothic script at the 19th Colloquium of the CIPL

Visigothic script at the 19th Colloquium of the CIPL

My paper was entitled “The regional study of Visigothic script: Visigothic vs. Caroline minuscule in Galicia”, and, as it suggests, it was about the graphic change but from a different point of view. Here is the abstract:

The last three decades of the 11th century were, for Galicia, a crucial period of cultural and political change. The effective political incorporation of the territory as a county of the Kingdom of León-Castile resulted in the replacement of the traditional local nobility for new aristocrats more consistent with the French preferences of the monarchy and the ecclesiastical elites. At the same time, this new centralized management promoted open paths for the massive arrival of European culture, leading to, among other things, the change from Visigothic script, the common writing system used in the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania from at least the early decades of the eighth century, to Caroline minuscule, the supra-national handwriting spread into general use throughout Europe. But, how did the scribes perceive this cultural and graphic change and adopted it?

Through the graphic examination of the first charters written in Visigothic script with Carolingian influence (c. 1070) to the first ones already written in the new script (c. 1110), this paper seeks to evaluate the impact that the change of writing system, from Visigothic to Caroline, progressively carried out reinforced by the central government and the new nobility, had on the scribes working in the main two Galician production centres, the sees of Lugo and Santiago de Compostela. It will be discussed the meaning of changing scripts for the scribes who used them; for the generation trained in Visigothic script that was driven to change its habits adopting the new writing system as well as for the new generation of those who learnt to write directly in Caroline minuscule within Galicia or, trained abroad, came to these main sees to develop their professional career. It is intended to deep in the social status of those two groups, asking if there were social differences between scribes from the old and the new scripts, and to debate how, through the graphic examples preserved, we can supposed their interaction was.

As a final point, the cultural context in which the graphic change was framed will be broadly discussed; how the rhythm of adaptation was and how it affected the political milieu in which Lugo and Santiago were in relation to the central government of the kings of León-Castile.

My point. These 3-days colloquia are exhausting for everyone and I did not want to overload my colleagues with a large amount of data and images analyzing every single aspect of the process of graphic change from Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule. Rather, I wanted to encourage a collective discussion through asking some general unsolved questions which can be extrapolated to any period of graphic change:

How did scribes perceive the graphic change from Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule? :

To what extent were the scribes aware of the graphic differences between writing systems?

Were early 12th-century Galician scribes polygraphic amanuenses?

How were scribes trained in the new script? Who taught them?

Was the social status of Visigothic and Carolingian script scribes the same?

Wanna know more? click -> Why these questions? <-

 

– by Ainoa Castro

Suggested Citation: Castro Correa, A. “Visigothic script at the 19th Colloquium of the CIPL″. Littera Visigothica (September 2015), http://litteravisigothica.com/visigothic-script-at-the-19th-colloquium-of-the-cipl (ISSN 2386-6330).




IMC Leeds 2016 – Call for Papers session: The reception and evolution of Caroline minuscule in the Iberian Peninsula.

International Medieval Congress 2016

University of Leeds, 4–7 July 2016

Call for Papers

De la escritura visigótica a la carolina, y de la carolina a las escrituras góticas. La recepción y evolución de la escritura carolina en la Península Ibérica.

From Visigothic script to Caroline minuscule, from Caroline minuscule to Gothic scripts. The reception and evolution of Caroline minuscule in the Iberian Peninsula.

Sponsor: Network for the Study of Caroline Minuscule

Organiser: Ainoa Castro Correa, Faculty of History, King’s College London

 

Mientras que en la Europa del siglo XII la carolina era el principal sistema gráfico empleado en la producción manuscrita, en la mayor parte de la Península Ibérica esta escritura apenas comenzaba a ser usada. La pervivencia de la escritura tradicional peninsular, la visigótica, dio lugar a un largo y desigual período de transición hacia el nuevo sistema gráfico importado. Al mismo tiempo, una vez aceptado el cambio, el modelo gráfico de éste ya llegaba en gran parte desprovisto de su naturaleza evolucionando de forma rápida hacia una diversidad de escrituras proto-góticas que devolverán a la Península su particularidad gráfica. Con trabajos centrados en escribas desarrollando su carrera en períodos de transición, esta sesión pretende explorar los contextos de cambio y poligrafismo vividos en la Península Ibérica en los siglos XII y XIII.

While in 12th-century Europe Caroline minuscule was the main writing system used in manuscript production, in most of the Iberian Peninsula this script was just beginning to be used. The persistence of the traditional peninsular script, Visigothic, led to a long and unequal transitional phase towards the new imported graphic system. At the same time, once the change was accepted, its graphic model arrived lacking its essential nature evolving thus quickly to a variety of proto-Gothic scripts which gave back to the Peninsula its graphic particularity. With works on scribes developing their careers in the periods in between writing systems, this session aims to explore the contexts of graphic change and polygraphism lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The organizer would like to invite papers on Caroline minuscule; its process of introduction, implementation, and evolution in the Iberian Peninsula. Please submit proposals which fit the overall topic of the session via email to Ainoa Castro by September 27, 2015 and please include the following information:

  • paper title and short abstract (ca. 100 words)
  • name, contact details and affiliation
  • a short CV
  • equipment needed

Papers are accepted in English, Spanish and Portuguese and should not exceed 20 minutes. Feel free to contact the organiser if you have any questions.