A comment on the f116v script

Since the well-known marginalia of f116v seems to have some German aspect to it (line 1 and 4, that is), I have started to look for instances in German manuscripts of handwriting, and hopefully even bits of sentences, that look as similar as possible.

One large source of digitized German manuscripts is the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, in particular its Codices Palatini Germanici holding, a set of 848 manuscripts, a good half of which were written between 1350 and 1510.  I am in the process of reviewing each such manuscripts, and far from done yet.  Here I’d like to report on something a little similar to aspects of the script that appears on f116v of the VM.

I’m referering to Cod. Pal. Germ. 329, a text written in 1415/1415 by Austrian ministrel Hugo von Montfort (1357-1423).  The book itself is written in a nice and regular gothic script, with many beautiful decorated initials.

But on folio Vv, just before the book begins, one sees a short ex-libris written by Hugo von Monfort in a different, hasty-looking, script: probably the way he wrote casually everyday. According to the library record this reads:

s[e]q[uitu]r eyn hubesch buch von werbung

eyner frouwen mit clugen worten

vnd liedern und kimpt von graff

hug von montfort

There are two things to note here.  First, the word ‘clugen’ has its ‘cl’ which looks quite close to one of the VM gallows. That’s only the second time, outside the VM, that I’ve found a similar shape that is true text and not a decoration, the other instance being the ‘-tem’ part of the latin word ‘item’, and so it is the first example where it can occur at the beginning of a word, like in the VM.

Secondly, the letter ‘r’  (clearly seen  in the words ‘werburg’, ‘worten’ and ‘graff’) does appear quite similar to those appearing on f116v of the VM: a vertical bar, sometimes with a hint of upward-right motion at its base, followed by a dot.

But the rest of the script is markedly different (letters ‘m’, ‘a’…).

So, while I’d conclude that this is certainly not the author of the VM marginalia, the occurence on a provably 1415 german text of both that quite rare shape for ‘r’ together with a gallow-looking symbol (which turns out to be standard alphabet) makes me want to find more examples both of Hugo von Monfort’s casual handwriting, and more generally of that of his contemporaries, to see whether they, too, wrote ‘cl’ like that.



2 Responses to A comment on the f116v script

  1. I’d be very interested to read any comments you have about manuscripts produced by the Premonstatensian monks. They are little known today, but were once a large and important network, founded in France, with some (fairly shortlived) establishments in the holy land, closely associated with the military orders, and the dominant religious order in Bohemia at the time of the Hussite troubles. A major site of theirs is not far from where the Voynich surfaced in the 17thC.

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