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Syriac Paleography: Earliest Estrangela

Section 2: Vatican City, Vat Sir. 160, f. 140v (6th C. [?])

Lives of Saints and Martyrs

 

© Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Sir. 160, f. 140v.
Distinctive Letterforms
ālap
  • when connected and not, there is a serif on the right leg
  • left leg sits a little below the line
  • top part may have upward turn or serif
  • height of top part varies
gāmal
  • ends well below line, but without the thick dot of some later examples
dālat / rēš
  • usually a very short, round top part yields almost a Serto shape, but sometimes the more usual Estrangela form
  • center post angles to the left
wāw
  • quite round, but right side usually straighter
  • unclosed loop
ḥēt
  • about the same height as yod
ṭēt
  • very tall
yod
  • final, unconnected form with left extender (esp. at line end), or of the angled type
  • final, connected form of the angled type
kāp
  • slightly more sharp than round on top, but not to a point
  • final form with long tail
lāmad
  • very tall, notably thicker at the top
mim
  • loop open
semkat
  • very round loops, left one taller
  • does not join following letter
ʿē
  • elongated initial form
  • relatively narrow angle between top and lower part
tāw
  • very tall, loop open
Distinctive Letterforms
ālap
  • when connected and not, there is a serif on the right leg
  • left leg sits a little below the line
  • top part may have upward turn or serif
  • height of top part varies
gāmal
  • ends well below line, but without the thick dot of some later examples
dālat / rēš
  • usually a very short, round top part yields almost a Serto shape, but sometimes the more usual Estrangela form
  • center post angles to the left
wāw
  • quite round, but right side usually straighter
  • unclosed loop
ḥēt
  • about the same height as yod
ṭēt
  • very tall
yod
  • final, unconnected form with left extender (esp. at line end), or of the angled type
  • final, connected form of the angled type

yod — example of the final, unconnected form with left extender, col. b

several characters from one line from Vatican Syriac manuscript page
© Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Sir. 160, f. 140vb, l. 13.

yod — example of the final, unconnected angled form, col. a

several characters from Vatican Syriac manuscript page
© Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Sir. 160, f. 140va, l. 12.
kāp
  • slightly more sharp than round on top, but not to a point
  • final form with long tail
lāmad
  • very tall, notably thicker at the top
mim
  • loop open
semkat
  • very round loops, left one taller
  • does not join following letter
ʿē
  • elongated initial form
  • relatively narrow angle between top and lower part
tāw
  • very tall, loop open

elongated initial ʿē

several characters from one line from Vatican Syriac manuscript page
© Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Sir. 160, f. 140va, l. 1.