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Calamus Or Chisel: On The History Of The Ashkenazic Script

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Chapter Summary

The correlation between calamus writings (palaeography) and inscriptions (epigraphy), disputed in early palaeographic studies, strengthens the assumption these methods of writing are identical. Ashkenazic script is the Hebrew script that was employed in various medieval Western Europe territories, mainly in France and Germany. Many extant manuscripts, as well as documentary material, stars, charters and stone inscriptions, were written in this script between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. The understanding of Ashkenazic script has recently been enriched by important research on the tombstones discovered in Würzburg. The study of these tombstones, together with the examination of other inscriptions found in German cemeteries, has helped to verify the relationship between calamus writings and stone inscriptions in Ashkenazic script. This chapter presents historical observations on square Ashkenazic script which are supported by comparisons between its appearance in calamus writings and in inscriptions on tombstones from Würzburg, Worms and Prague.

Keywords: Ashkenazic Script; calamus writings; stone inscriptions; Würzburg tombstones



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