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Syriac Paleography: Earliest Estrangela

Section 3: Diyarbakir, DIYR 339, f. 29v (6th C.)

Gospels (Peshitta)

 

Diyarbakir, Meryem Ana Syriac Orthodox Church, DIYR 339, f. 29v. All rights reserved. Image provided by HMML.

Large, bold writing

Distinctive Letterforms
ālap
  • when connected and not, there is a serif on the right leg
  • often sits a little below the line may have an almost upward-turning serif at the top
dālat / rēš
  • rather thick horizontal on top
  • dot of dālat often sits well below
  • the center leg touches neither the left nor the right
wāw
  • not closed
  • when preceding some letters (e.g. šin) may be connected (in Usual Estrangela not attached)
ḥēt
  • notably taller than the yod
yod
  • when final, connected to previous letter or not, a right-pointing angle sitting on the line
kāp
  • much narrower and more rounded than bēt
  • final kāp has a longish top-serif on the left side and ends with a sharp, narrow point on the right
lāmad
  • thick at the top, slender at the bottom
mim
  • the upper horizontal turns upward at the left
  • when non-final, the bottom horizontal is close to the left upright, but the circle is not closed
  • final mim, however, is closed, and has a long, thin, descending point
nun
  • when final and unconnected to previous letter, more angled than when connected
semkat
  • both loops rounded, the left one taller
  • does not join to following letter
ʿē
  • similar in shape to gāmal, but shorter and without hanging below the line
  • the loop is quite open
  • when final, the horizontal ends in a thick dot
ṣādē
  • narrow base at the line, then a thicker, slightly right angling descender, ending with a thin, upturning line
rēš
  • see dālat above
šin
  • an upright base with a shallow bowl on top
  • when initial, often with a long horizontal before the upright base (indistinguishable from the combination yod-šin)
tāw
  • the size of the opening in the loop varies from open to closed
  • the vertical may only angle only slightly to the left
Distinctive Letterforms
ālap
  • when connected and not, there is a serif on the right leg
  • often sits a little below the line may have an almost upward-turning serif at the top
dālat / rēš
  • rather thick horizontal on top
  • dot of dālat often sits well below
  • the center leg touches neither the left nor the right
wāw
  • not closed
  • when preceding some letters (e.g. šin) may be connected (in usual Est. not attached)
ḥēt
  • notably taller than the yod
yod
  • when final, connected to previous letter or not, a right-pointing angle sitting on the line
kāp
  • much narrower and more rounded than bēt
  • final kāp has a longish top-serif on the left side and ends with a sharp, narrow point on the right
lāmad
  • thick at the top, slender at the bottom
mim
  • the upper horizontal turns upward at the left
  • when non-final, the bottom horizontal is close to the left upright, but the circle is not closed
  • final mim, however, is closed, and has a long, thin, descending point
nun
  • when final and unconnected to previous letter, more angled than when connected
semkat
  • both loops rounded, the left one taller
  • does not join to following letter
ʿē
  • similar in shape to gāmal, but shorter and without hanging below the line
  • the loop is quite open
  • when final, the horizontal ends in a thick dot
ṣādē
  • narrow base at the line, then a thicker, slightly right angling descender, ending with a thin, upturning line
rēš
  • see dālat above
šin
  • an upright base with a shallow bowl on top
  • when initial, often with a long horizontal before the upright base (indistinguishable from the combination yod-šin)
tāw
  • the size of the opening in the loop varies from open to closed
  • the vertical may only angle only slightly to the left

 

f. 62r, with two tightly closed tāws, with only a slightly left-leaning vertical

part of line from 6th-century Syriac manuscript page from Turkey
Diyarbakir, Meryem Ana Syriac Orthodox Church, DIYR 339, f. 62ra, l. 2. All rights reserved. Image provided by HMML.