January 24, 2020 7:57 pm

Several Period Hands

by Mistress Ynhared Dewines y Glyndu

Shown here are several period hands to be used as an introduction to period writing for beginners. It is usually a good idea to be able to sign your name forsoothly and choosing a period hand comparable to your persona adds a touch of elegance to your correspondence.

In 789 A.D., Charlemagne recognized the need for a simple, clear hand. Alcum of York was then commissioned to create a model script, which was perfected by the 9th century. Its excellence and simplicity coupled with the wide-reaching influence of Charlemagne's Court rapidly made it a new international favorite that came to be known as the Carolingian script.

Blackletter or Gothic script is a closely packed formal-looking script formed on a stiff vertical axis. This script was extremely popular in the 14th century.

Celtic half-uncial was the script heavily used by Irish monks during the 8th and 9th centuries. The famous Book of Kells and Lindisfarne Gospel are among the many beautiful holy books penned in this hand by devoted men.

There is an increasing amount of none-European personae appearing in the S.C.A. To accomodate these delightful personae, whose owners have often mysteriously lost their native language, many scribes of the known world have developed "imitation" hands, i.e. English calligraphy that (at least at a distance) resembles the calligraphy of non-English speaking countries. This includes several Arabic scripts, Hebrew, Runic and other "Elvish" scripts based on Tolkiens' famous alphabets.

An Arabic script:

A Runish script:

Angerthas for English:

A special thank-you goes to Mistress Rodema de Rohan whose notes and scripts inspired this writing.