2. Caroline minuscule & continental learning

Many scripts flourished in the eighth and early ninth centuries. Some of these scripts were calligraphic and ornate, and thus could take a very long time to write; they understandably were also extremely difficult for any but the most educated to read.

Charlemagne, attempting to revive Roman culture to help hold his fragile empire together, sent emissaries to determine which liturgical and theological texts the Romans were using so that he could adopt them for his kingdom. He also sought to reform handwriting, and using late Roman script as the basis, a beautiful and simple hand we call Caroline was developed. Caroline had strict rules about what forms of individual letters could be used and how they were to be formed. 

Takamiya MS 73: Vitae sanctorum

Takamiya MS 73. Vitae sanctorum (portions of the lives of Sts. Nazarius, Celsus, Abdon, and Sennen). Italy, early 12th century. 

Takamiya MS 73, the fragment exhibited here, is representative of late Caroline minuscule, which modern readers can take in easily both because the letterforms are simple and uncomplicated and because humanist printers in the sixteenth century based their letterforms on these Caroline exemplars.

2. Caroline minuscule & continental learning