A scribal peculiarity: “de Tribu” written as “d&ribu”
Parchment, a substantially complete leaf, c.310×230mm, the corners and inner margin cropped to allow mitering, with the loss of a few letters at some line-ends but otherwise apparently preserving the full width of the outer and lower margins, ruled in drypoint for two columns of 37 lines written above top line, in a fine rounded Caroline bookhand, marginal notes are keyed to the appropriate places by the use of a triple dot or a crossed ‘7’ sign, inscribed in the lower margin in modern pencil “Hieronymus [In?] Isaiam”.
Recovered from use as the cover of a binding as shown by the mitering at the corners, the creases for the turn-ins, the horizontal creases marking the spine of the host volume, the comparative darkness of the outer face, and the remains of a title in 18th(?)-century script on what would have been the front cover.
Here the scribe uses ‘æ’ as well as ę’, ‘d’ is always upright, tall ‘s’ and ‘r’ usually descend a little below the line, round ‘s’ does not occur except as a capital at the beginning of a line, the ‘ct’ ligature is used but (surprisingly) not the ‘st’ ligature, ‘z’ is similar to the modern form, both the tironian sign and the ampersand are used for ‘et’, the tironian sign has a fairly flat top and is not crossed, there is no kissing of ‘pp’ (e.g. appelatur).
Because the shape of an ampersand is a stylised fusion of the letter-forms for ‘e’ and ‘t’, it is not uncommon in 12th-century manuscripts for the letters ‘et’ within a single word to be written with an ampersand (e.g. ‘deb&’ = ‘debet’), but very unusually, perhaps due to misreading the exemplar, the scribe here has used an ampersand to join two separate words: “de Tribu” is written as “d&ribu”.
Hieronymus, Commentarii in Isaiam, 2, cap. III, 13–26:
recto: “penitentiæ 7 capud eorum … d&ribu [sic] Iuda quem impleuit”
verso: “deus spiritu sapientiae & intelligentiae … omne robur panis & omne robur aquę &”
The four enlarged initials in red are apparently pen-drawn and executed in ink rather than pigment, and are thus doubtless the work of the scribe, not a separate artist.
One aim of Caroline script was to be standardised and uniform, so that it could be read easily across Europe, and supersede the various idiosyncratic regional scripts (Visigothic, Insular, Luxeuil, etc.) that were very difficult to read by anyone from a different region. This uniformity can make Caroline scripts difficult to date and localise; in the present case the orange tint of the large initials is suggestive of a Germanic origin.