Hand: Hand 4 (25v–42v), BL Cotton Otho B.ii

Hand 4 (25v–42v)
BL Cotton Otho B.ii
Saec. x2 or x/xi
SE England

Stokes, English Vernacular Script, ca 990–ca 1035, Vol. 2 (PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, 2006)

This hand is similar in aspect to G.353-3 but is closer to Square minuscule in that it has more ligatures and particularly more examples of tall e and æ, even including the e+o ligature. The proportions are again similar to G.353-3, with long ascenders and descenders and large bodies of letters, although the script here is slightly more laterally compressed. The script is again fairly messy and was written with a pen held fairly flat and with much shading. Ascenders have wedges or thicken at the tip, and descenders are straight and tapering. Minims have hooks or small wedges and have small feet. The back of a is straight, the body teardrop-shaped, and the top usually pointed but sometimes semi-Caroline. The same teardrop-shape was used for æ, the tongue of which is either thin and rising or at cue-height, and the loop is high, thin, and forward-leaning when possible. The same tongue and hook are found in e, although the tongue is long and curved up if final. The bodies of c and e are mostly round, although the north-west shoulder can be quite angular, and small horns are sometimes found; e is often open-topped. Tall-e ligatures are uncommon but can be found even with following o. The back of d is fairly long, is thick, and is angled at about 45° but curves up at the tip. The tongue of f is long and flat, and the hook is deeply split. The top of g is flat, the mid-section hangs from the left, and the body is more or less S-shaped. The lower branch of k is thick and curved, and the upper branch thin and hooked down. The shoulders of h, m, and n begin with a very thin rising stroke which turns over with a slight swelling into a somewhat curved down-stroke. The shoulder of r is similar but is usually more angular. Long, low, and round s are all found, the long and round forms less frequently than low but both were used in initial position including round s before t. Low s is ligatured to itself when doubled. The scribe used þ infrequently. The back of ð is like that of d, and the through-stroke is hooked down on the right. Three-stroke x was used: the lower left branch is long and hooked right, and the upper strokes turn down. Straight-limbed dotted y was used, the right branch hooked left and the tail hooked right; undotted f-shaped y is found twice in fairly quick succession but was otherwise not used (hwylces, 29v12; ungedyldigra, 29v16). Bilinear z was used, the top and bottom of which are ~-shaped. The top of 7 is concave up and hooked up at the left, and the down-stroke is vertical.

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