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Alphabet in Visigothic script.
Alphabet in Visigothic script.

Visigothic script was a type of medieval script that originated in the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, modern Spain and Portugal). Its more limiting alternative designations littera toletana and littera mozarabica associate it with scriptoria specifically in Toledo and with Mozarabic culture more generally, respectively.

The script, which exists in book-hand and cursive versions, was used from approximately the late seventh century until the thirteenth century, mostly in Visigothic Iberia but also somewhat in southern France. It was perfected in the 9th–11th centuries and declined afterwards. It developed from uncial script, and shares many features of uncial, especially an uncial form of the letter ⟨g⟩.

Evolution from Visigothic Zet ⟨Ꝣ⟩ to modern ⟨Ç⟩.
Evolution from Visigothic Zet ⟨Ꝣ⟩ to modern ⟨Ç⟩.

Other features of the script include an open-top ⟨a⟩ (very similar to the letter ⟨u⟩), similar shapes for the letters ⟨r⟩ and ⟨s⟩, and a long letter ⟨i⟩ resembling the modern letter ⟨l⟩. There are two forms of the letter ⟨d⟩, one with a straight vertical ascender and another with an ascender slanting towards the left. The top stroke of the letter ⟨t⟩, by itself, has a hook curving to the left; ⟨t⟩ also has a number of other forms when used in ligatures, and there are two different ligatures for the two sounds of ⟨ti⟩ (“hard” or unassibilated and "soft" or sibilated) as spoken in Hispano-Latin during this period. The letters ⟨e⟩ and ⟨r⟩ also have many different forms when written in ligature. Of particular interest is the special Visigothic z ⟨ꝣ⟩, which, after adoption into Carolingian handwriting, eventually transformed into the c-cedilla ⟨ç⟩.

Folio 2r of the Chronicle of 754.
Folio 2r of the Chronicle of 754.

From the standard script, a capital-letter display script was developed, with long slender forms. There was also a cursive form that was used for charters and non-religious writings, which had northern ("Leonese") and southern ("Mozarabic") forms. The Leonese cursive was used in the Christian north, and the Mozarabic was used by Christians living in the Muslim south. The cursive forms were probably influenced by Roman cursive, brought to Iberia from North Africa.

Visigothic script has many similarities with Beneventan script and Merovingian script.

Character information
Preview Ç ç
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 42850 U+A762 42851 U+A763 199 U+00C7 231 U+00E7
UTF-8 234 157 162 EA 9D A2 234 157 163 EA 9D A3 195 135 C3 87 195 167 C3 A7
Numeric character reference Ꝣ Ꝣ ꝣ ꝣ Ç Ç ç ç
Named character reference Ç ç

See also

Further reading