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Re: VMs: Costamagna and abbreviation...

Nick Pelling incoming@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote

> Hi everyone,
> At 09:59 03/12/2003 -0500, Luis Velez wrote:
> >This chapter of a work by Costamagna is about medieval shorthand in
> >and it even contains some graphic examples:
> >
>          Infatta della parola "episcopus" posso scrivere solo "ep" ed
>          allora, una abbreviazione per troncamento, ma posso anche
>          "eps", cioe le prime e l'ultima lettera, tralasciando quelle
> intermedie,
>          e indicando con una lineetta sovraposta ottero una abbreviazione
>          per contrazione. (page 88)
> Essentially, Costamagna is saying that you might write "episcopus" either
> by truncating it (to "ep") or by abbreviating it with the first and last
> letters (to "eps"), and then use a overscore over them to signal this
> general process to the reader. This is exactly the kind of semi-systematic
> abbreviation I mentioned recently as having emerged in Northern Italy
> post-Tironian notae.
> Costamagna's examples (red --> redditus, vrts --> veritas) are also
> reminiscent of Radcliff's (slightly later) abbreviatory shorthand system,
> which I've mentioned several times on-list.
> In the case of the VMs, it could well be that EVA <e/ee/eee/ch> indicates
> contracted / abbreviated word - perhaps the number of e's represent the
> number of syllables removed?
> In fact, I might suggest one possible steganographic solution to this part
> of the VMs' system - that the upper bar of EVA <ch> is in fact
> *steganographically hiding an overscore*. Similarly, where EVA <ee> pairs
> are connected by the feet, perhaps these are *steganographically hiding an
> underscore*?
> It may well be that all we're missing is examples of heavily abbreviated
> scribal text from circa 1450 (I'd suggest from near Milan): and that the
> VMs is merely a heavily obfuscated version of this kind of text. Perhaps
> our next best step would be asking a palaeographer (perhaps a former
> student of Costamagna?) to suggest one such text?
> Certainly, a number of Latin manuscripts from round this time are quite
> hard to read because of these non-systematic abbreviations... so this
> like a plausible way forward for us. :-)
> Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

Due to the high number of unique EVA pairs this seems to be a fairly
complicated system of abbreviation. My take on this is that if it is
abbreviation then more than one method of abbreviation is used.

BTW The tables I have produced may be of interest in the construction of
your letter linking diagrams. It has flags for all pairs that can start a
word, be mid word or be at the end of words. It also has links to tag the
same for triplets be having each pair link to a list of following letters,
also marked with the flags for initiating a word, continuing a word or
ending a word. It is quite a compact table. I will try to put it up on the
net as soon as I get a bit more free time.


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