Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
The Harley Psalter, 11th century (British Library, Harley 603, f.9r). All images by permission of the British Library. These images have been made available by the British Library through a Creative Commons licence.
This shows a page from the Harley Psalter, an early 11th century codex produced at Christ Church, Canterbury. The copious and intricate miniatures are copied from the Utrecht Psalter (Utrecht, Universiteits Bibliotheek, MS 32) , a Carolingian book made near Rheims around 820. There is more than one scribal hand in the book. This page shows a very neat and legible Caroline minuscule script. The text of this Psalm is from the Roman version of the Vulgate of St Jerome, although some Psalms in the codex are from the perhaps better known Gallican version. The text shown here is from Psalm 16, which corresponds to Psalm 17 in a modern Bible. The illustration at the base of the page related to the Psalm following, Psalm 17 of the Vulgate, rather than the one on the page.

The text of the Vulgate Bible can be obtained from Biblia Sacra Vulgata (1969), among other editions. There is a searchable version on the web at the Multi-lingual Bible site or a plain text version at Vulgate (Latin Bible) Index.

This manuscript has been digitised in full on the British Library website here.

| overview | miniature | text | alphabet | abbreviations | exercises |

| transcript | translation |

Click on each of the above to walk your way through some blocks of text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 30/5/2014.