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Palaeography and Diplomatics.

The Script of Charters in the Netherlands during the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

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One of the main objects of the discipline of medieval palaeography is the construction of a 'scale' of datable elements in the script, which would enable us to fix undated manuscripts in time and space. Such a scale could best be constructed on the basis of the script found in charters and other documentary sources, as these come in sufficient numbers and are nearly always exactly dated. This preliminary study, based on 384 such documents from the Low Countries from the period 1300-1500, indicates that this could be a successful approach: analysis of a few letterforms (g, d, e) leads to the conclusion that these forms indeed show a datable evolution. Moreover, the types of script found in this corpus neatly fall within the Lieftinckian categories used in the study of book script, showing that the scripts in books and administrative documents are by no means separate entities.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Netherlands History, The Hague, Netherlands


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