Latin Palaeography and Manuscript Studies:
Basic Bibliography

The following list of books is intended as a starting point. The first item, Boyle's bibliography, is the most important, because it will point you in any direction you want to go. Consult with the MMRL program director for more information .

(Prices and availability as of March 2005)

Essential Books for Latin Palaeography & Codicology:

Medieval Latin Palaeography: A Bibliographic Introduction, by Leonard Boyle (Barnes & Noble $23.95, ;
essential bibliography covering the whole field; updated edition in Italian by Maria Elena Bertoldi & Fabio Troncarelli, Paleografia Latina Medievale, Introduzione bibliografica con supplemento 1982-1998 , available from , about $69)

Dizionario di Abbreviature latine ed italiane, (also listed as Lexicon abbreviaturarum ), by A. Cappelli (known simply as "Cappelli," this is the must-have vademecum for anyone looking at Latin or European vernacular manuscripts; buy this even if you don't buy anything else; at Blackwell's Online, about $50, )

The Medieval Book, by Barbara A. Shailor. ( $29.95, $28.95; used from about $20 including )

Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, by Bernhard Bischoff   (English version, or some might prefer the original German!) ( or $32.99, also available used from about $20, search )

Textbooks recommended:

Explicatio formarum litterarum, by Rutherford Aris (textbook based on Dr. Aris' many years of teaching palaeography at U of MN; softcover (i.e. spiral bound with no cover) available from Dr. Diane Anderson, $15 payable to the Colleagues of Calligraphy (email ); or hardcover from John Neal Bookseller for $27.50 )

Ancient Writing and its Influence, by B.L. Ullmann, Julian Brown ( $14.95; narrative style of textbook, good as supplement to the Bischoff book)

Background and History of Western Books:

Handwriting, by E.A. Lowe   (available used from $23-$42; search on ; good short introduction to manuscripts and palaeography)

Greek Letters: From Tablets to Pixels, by Michael Macrakis (   special order $49.95 or from $50; follows history of Greek, but ideas apply to other alphabets and history of type, printing & publishing, computers, etc.)

Scribes and Scholars, by L.D. Reynolds & N.G. Wilson ( or $47.50; history of books and the transmission of texts from papyrus to print)

A Splendor of Letters : The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World, by Nicholas A. Basbanes ( $18.87; used from about $3)

The Hand-Produced Book, by David Diringer ( from $20)

Reading and Editing Texts:

Innumerable books and articles have been written on reading and editing texts. Here are a few significant items to start with. Find your specific topic in Boyle's bibiography (above), especially chapter 6, "Textual Setting,"

How to Decipher and Study Old Documents, by E. Thoyts ( from $20)

Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History, by Roger Bagnall ( $27.95; introduction to papyrology)

Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics,   by L.D. Reynolds (essential for classicists, although outrageously expensive;   $248; or try )

Medieval Manuscripts and Textual Criticism, edited by Christopher Kleinhenz (try the library or , from $60.00)

The Grammarian's Craft: An Introduction to Textual Criticism, by L. Bieler (see Boyle item no. 1956)

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.