The term ‘ palaeography’ refers to the discipline which studies ancient and historical handwritten documents. Also, the discipline includes the practice of deciphering, reading and dating historical works as well as understanding the writing methodologies and the history of scriptoria.
Although the discipline is a good methodology to understand, authenticate and date ancient texts, it can’t be utilised to outline precise dates.
Palaeography focuses on discovering how individual characters have changed and existed in different cultures, as well as deciphering all the abbreviations used over the years. Furthermore, it examines the letter-forms, ligatures and punctuation.
Palaeography, as a subject, is difficult to define as it relates to two different disciplines. Indeed, it relates to epigraphy, the study of inscriptions made on immovable objects, as well as casual graffiti (e.g. images found on the walls of Pompeii or Christian inscriptions on the Roman catacombs).
Nowadays, palaeography relates to the study of Greek and Latin documents, including their derivatives. Also, it is associated with diplomatic, the discipline which focuses on how official and private documents are originated.
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