Tim Boucher

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Scribal abbreviation

In the late Roman Republic, the Tironian notes were developed possibly by Marcus Tullius Tiro, Cicero’s amanuensis, in 63 BC to record information with fewer symbols; Tironian notes include a shorthand/syllabic alphabet notation different from the Latin minuscule hand and square and rustic capital letters. The notation was akin to modern stenographic writing systems. It used symbols for whole words or word roots and grammatical modifier marks, and it could be used to write either whole passages in shorthand or only certain words. In medieval times, the symbols to represent words were widely used; and the initial symbols, as few as 140 according to some sources, were increased to 14,000 by the Carolingians, who used them in conjunction with other abbreviations. However, the alphabet notation had a “murky existence” (C. Burnett), as it was often associated with witchcraft and magic, and it was eventually forgotten.

Source: Scribal abbreviation – Wikipedia

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