Ductus: Handwriting and Bookmaking in the Middle Ages

Resource available to authorized IU Bloomington users (on or off campus)
To link to this resource use: https://libraries.indiana.edu/resources/ductus
Digital program teaching the basics of Latin paleography and codicology (the history of bookmaking)
Additional Information
Ductus is an internet-based digital program for teaching the basics of Latin Paleography--the study of ancient handwriting--and codicology--the study of the history of bookmaking. This course is based on the analysis and transcription of a selection of Western manuscripts that represents a number of major book hands and national scripts; these have been selected largely from European libraries, but several are from Australian and American collections. The course covers the period from the second to the fifteenth centuries of our era.

The six major phases of development were:
  • the Roman system of scripts, comprising Square Capitals, Rustic Capitals, Old Roman Cursive, Literary Cursive, Uncial, Semi-uncial, Cursive Semi-uncial and New Roman Cursive [the cursive scripts are not dealt with in this program];
  • Pre-Caroline (7-8c.), comprising the so-called 'national' scripts--Visigothic, Luxeuil, Corbie and Insular Minuscules;
  • Caroline, which became widely used across Europe, reaching even into Southern Italy; it developed c.800 at the Abbey of St Martin's at Tours;
  • Protogothic (11-12c.), developing in England and France; it incorporated elements of Anglo-Saxon Minuscule into Caroline;
  • Gothic (12-16c.), consisting of many styles linked to particular nations or regions, including Textura, Cursive Anglicana, Litera Bononiensis, Litera Rotunda, Litera Hybrida;
  • Humanist (from 1400 onwards); associated with the work of Poggio Bracciolini and Niccol Ograve; Niccoli); modern European handwriting developed from Humanist script.
  • Coverage:
    Varies - Updates vary
    Interlibrary Loan:
    Not Permitted
    Simultaneous User Limit:
    Unlimited simultaneous users