Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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English 3450 (Fall 2008): Paleography Assignment

Posted: Dec 01, 2008 11:12;
Last Modified: Dec 01, 2008 13:12



There are two parts to this exercise:

1 Diplomatic Transcription

Produce a diplomatic transcription of the first 5 lines of the left page image found at this link (the page is password protected: use the same class ID number and password you used to subscribe to this course on Turnitin. This information can be found on our WebCT/Blackboard page).

In producing your transcription, follow my transcription guidelines. An example transcription is found below.

The goal of a diplomatic transcription is to provide an accurate, symbolic, transcription of a text as it appears in an individual manuscript. A reader using your transcription should come away with a good sense of the number and type of erasures, additions, odd spacing and line division. The text will not necessary make much sense.

2 Edition

Produce an edition of the text you transcribed for the first part of this exercise. For this section, the goal is to provide a text that modern audiences can read: use modern punctuation, word-division, and lineation. In an edition you do not need to keep track of additions or erasures; you can expand abbreviations. You can also make corrections if the text is flawed in some way.


Submit your transcription and edition via turnitin. Due date is 12 December.


Diplomatic Transcription

Here is a diplomatic transcription of the text in the right hand margin of the manuscript on my home page:

Nuƿe sculon herıa〈n〉|

herı[1] heofon rıces ƿ〈e〉[ard][2]|

metoddes mıhte ⁊h[ıs][3]|

mod ge þanc ƿeorc ƿ〈u〉[l]|

dor fæder4 sƿa he ƿu[n]|

dra ge hƿılc ece drıh[ten]|

ƿord astealde he [æ]|

ræst5 ge scop· ylda [bear]|

nū heofe\o/n to rofe [halıg][6]|

scıppend mıddan ear[de][7]|

mann cynnes ƿeard8|

ece drıhten æfter tıd[a]|

fyrum onfoldum|

frea o{:} ealmıhtı·[9]|


[1]herıa〈n〉|herı] Left descender of visible in margin. Second heri deleted by underlining. A similar correction has been made in Ld (herıan herıan). Trimming has damaged or destroyed the final letters in all but the last two manuscript lines in this witness.

[2]ƿ〈e〉[ard]|] The left loop of the and what was (presumably) the bottom of loop of the are still visible in margin.

[3]h[ıs]|] <ı> partially visible in margin.

[4]ƿ〈u〉[l]|dor fæder] Left descender of visible in margin.

[5][æ]|ræst] Bottom left of loop of <æ> just visible in margin.

[6][halıg]|] Left descender of visible in margin.

[7]mıddan ear[de]|] de is assumed on the basis of all other witnesses to this tradition.

[8]ƿeard|] Loop and top of the ascender of partially visible in margin.

[9]frea o{:} ealmıhtı·|] A letter (probably ) has been erased between frea and ealmıhtı.


And here’s an edition of the same text:

Nu ƿe sculon herian heofonrices ƿeard
metodes mihte ond h[is] modgeþanc
ƿeorc ƿu[l]dorfæder sƿa he ƿu[n]dra gehƿilc
ece drıh[ten] ƿord astealde.

5 He [æ]ræst gescop· ylda [bear]num
heofon to rofe [halig] scippend
middanear[de] manncynnes ƿeard
ece drihten æfter tid[a]
fyrum on foldum frea ealmihti.



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