Juraj Šedivý (Comenius University, Bratislava)

Epigraphic Script in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary. Its Interactions with the Script of Codicological and Diplomatic Materials and its Interregional Relations

The recently deceased doyen of medieval epigraphy Walter Koch pointed out the connection between the script of inscriptions and books (specially the highlighted versalia letters). The aim of the paper is the comparison in the development of both fields (with an excursus to the third field of documentary script) in the territory of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary (mainly Upper Hungary – modern Slovakia) from its beginnings to the early 16th century.

In the earliest period (11th -12th c.) there is a parallel development of rare inscriptions and the capital letters preserved in manuscripts and charters. But the process of transition from Romanic to Gothic is more complicated and longer in the epigraphic field (first traces date to c. 1200, but it does not fully establish itself until c. 1300). The comparison of inscriptions and manuscript versalia shows parallels, but the social background was different (the creators of inscriptions were not professional scriptors). The connection between the versalia script in books and charters on one side and that in the inscriptions on the other side is apparent also in the first three quarters of the 14th c. Approximately one generation before 1400 the epigraphic field became entirely dependant on the forms of book manuscripts. The epigraphic scripts were emancipated from the book scripts only in the last third of the 15th c. While in earlier times the connections to German-speaking countries had been crucial, at the end of the Middle Ages the relations with Italy (sometimes mediated through the connections of prelates to Rome) were essential.

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