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The East Cross Inscription from Toureen Peacaun: Some Concrete Evidence

G. Charles-Edwards
The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland
Vol. 132 (2002), pp. 114-126
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25549891
Page Count: 13
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The East Cross Inscription from Toureen Peacaun: Some Concrete Evidence
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Abstract

The geometric display lettering of the Insular Gospel books is epigraphic in contrast to the broad-edge pen forms of their half-uncial text hands. It is used in titling set beside, or in compounds actually overlapping with, curvilinear display letters. We see geometric display letters in many Northumbrian inscriptions roughly contemporary with these Gospel books, the precise dating sequence of which remains uncertain. As a scribal alphabet it appears in full flower in the Lindisfarne Gospels of the first quarter of the eighth century, it is still in use in the Book of Armagh of 807/8, but by the end of the ninth century has declined into a grotesque and overweight version, remote from its sharp and epigraphic hey-day. As an alphabet its origins are obscure. Recent research has investigated its connection with seventh-century mixed-alphabet inscriptions, particularly of the Welsh corpus, but an unusual Irish inscription has also provided some evidence.

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