January 2018


Erik Kwakkel - Pregothic Script and How to Study It

  • Friday, 12 January 2018 - 6:00pm
Notre Dame Global Gateway
St. Matthew the Evangelist, Barb. Lat. 570. © Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

This lecture develops two threads of inquiry. The first aim is to make sense of the transitional script observed across Europe and the British Isles from the end of the eleventh to the early thirteenth century. Addressed as either late Caroline or Pre-/Proto-Gothic, the script is in a constant state of flux, acquiring new “Gothic” features and shedding traits of Caroline. The lecture will investigate the development of this transitional script, effectively showing how Caroline Minuscule became Gothic Textualis. The second aim of this lecture is to develop the ability to describe paleographical features and their development in a quantifiable manner, which is key to studying the transitional script of the long twelfth century—and indeed the history of any medieval script.

Erik Kwakkel is paleographer and full professor at Leiden University, where he occupies the Scaliger Chair for the study and promotion of medieval manuscripts. His research is devoted to the development of medieval script and the relationship between the physical appearance of manuscripts and the historical context in which they were produced and used. He actively promotes the medieval book on his blog ( and via twitter (@erik_kwakkel). In 2015 he was appointed to the Comité International de Paléographie Latine.

The lecture is part of the Winter School in Latin Paleography hosted at the American Academy in Rome in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame’s Global Gateway Program in Rome and the Vatican Library.

Notre Dame Global Gateway
Via Ostilia, 15