palaeographers

A slightly more obscure birthday today, in honor of the Father of Palaeography, the 17th-century monk Jean Mabillon, O.S.B. (23 November 1632–27 December 1707).

Mabillon’s 1681 opus, De re diplomatica, outlined the basic principles underlying the understanding and identification of medieval script hands for centuries to come:

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One of Mabillon’s examples, here of a Carolingian charter, demonstrating the chancery hand of Charlemagne’s court:

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I really love our copy of the Regimen contra pestilentia.  The text was probably written by Joannes Jacobi (d.1384), who acted as physician to the Avignon popes. His regimen describes the causes of plague, how to diagnose it, and how to prevent and treat it.  

This is a very humble work - only twelve pages! - but it still has a little bit of everything: great typography, graceful hand drawn initials, and a handwritten addition at the end (any palaeographers want to try transcribing it?).