Medieval Handwriting

Recently I noticed an old thread in this forum about the handwriting of Thomas Aquinas, and there is a hotlinked (not attached) illustration of his handwriting as an example in that thread. I have occasionally heard that his handwriting was rather illegible and that supposedly there are only a few people in the world who are able to decipher his handwriting nowadays.

However, as I was viewing the Wikipedia articles concerning scribal abbreviation and Tironian notes (or abbreviations) and paleography, I realized that he was apparently using many little signs and symbols and abbreviations in order to save time, and also save space on the page. Like many Medieval writers, he seems to have been writing in Latin shorthand. I’m guessing that his shorthand writing was probably very similar to the shorthand writing of other theologians and scribes at the time, so therefore it’s probably legible even nowadays to anyone who understands the shorthand writing methods of Medieval Latin paleography. If anyone has any comments on this subject, I would be interested.

I have done a few transcription and translation jobs of Latin manuscript documents- extending back only to late the Middle Ages.

The most difficult part is deciphering the handwriting, then recognising the abbreviations, which were not uniform. Fortunately, the abbreviations tend to be used in more common words, etc. The orthography of Medieval Latin was also far from standard.

Thank you very much. There is a partially relevant video by Robert Barron from a couple of years ago at this YouTube link..

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