Dr Marigold Norbye (UCL)
Full day - from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

This course will provide a brief introduction to the development of the book hands of Merovingian France, and will focus on practical exercises in deciphering these often challenging scripts: it is a reading class more than a history of scripts course.  It will start by looking at a couple of examples of New Roman Cursive and Ravenna Chancery Cursive to understand the context in which the Merovingian scripts originated.  After a brief excursus into Merovingian charters, it will then explore four of the main Merovingian minuscule scripts: Luxeuil, Corbie a-b, Laon a-z and Tours e-N-a. 

This course will include practical transcription exercises which are better undertaken with some knowledge of Latin.  However, students without Latin can be accepted on the understanding that they can remain passive during these exercises.  It would be useful if students could indicate whether they have any Latin or any previous experience of palaeography when applying.


B. Bischoff, Latin Palaeography:  Antiquity and the Middle Ages, transl. from German by D. O’Croinin and D. Ganz (Cambridge, 1990)
M.P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (London, 1990)

Student Comments

Excellent. I arrived knowing very little about the subject and feel as though I learned a great deal...


After a first degree in Classics, Marigold returned to academia some years later. She came to UCL to do the MA in Medieval Studies followed by a PhD with Professor David d’Avray on late medieval French genealogical manuscripts. She has been a Teaching Fellow at UCL ever since, in the departments of History and of Greek and Latin, focusing in particular on manuscript studies and palaeography. She is the Academic Coordinator for the London International Palaeography Summer School where she also gives courses on Latin palaeography, and she teaches for the London Rare Book School. Her research has mainly centred upon the genealogical diagrams of kings of France found in chronicles or accompanying political treatises, examining the messages conveyed by the combination of visual and textual elements. More broadly, she is also interested in the history of history writing, of which genealogical chronicles are one subset. Other interests include the history of libraries, and of books more generally. As a classicist and a manuscript scholar, she is fascinated by the story of how the texts of classical antiquity were transmitted through the Middle Ages.