Alemannia

Evidence for distinctive Alemannic scripts only really emerges towards the end of our period with the flourishing of St Gall (abbey founded c. 720) and the foundation of the island monastery of Reichenau (724). Many of the features of the scripts produced in these centres can be found elsewhere, showing the variety of influences on the region. Development of scripts in St Gall is made possible particularly because of the abundance of early extant charters, written in hands which were also used in book production.

One distinctive early script is that practiced by the scribe Winithar in numerous books and charters of the 760s-780s, which Bischoff considered ‘coarse [and] somewhat inflexible’. Letter forms are predominantly half uncial, with a wide, crossed a form, high e and low r (example below from St Gall, Stiftsbibiliothek, Cod. Sang. 2, p. 431). It is not typical of Alemannic scripts but can nevertheless be found alongside them, as in the case of St Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 11 [link].

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A developed Alemannic minuscule is evident from the 780s onwards. It contains many half uncial forms but is notable for its round shape, open a and the frequent up-turned t in et and nt ligatures (example here from St Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 44, p. 12).

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