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Beneventan script was a medieval script, so called because it originated in the Duchy of Benevento in southern Italy. It was also called Langobarda, Longobarda, Longobardisca (signifying its origins with the Langobards), or sometimes Gothica; it was first called Beneventan by palaeographer E. A. Lowe.
It is mostly associated with Italy south of Rome, but it was also used in Beneventan-influenced centres across the Adriatic Sea in Dalmatia. The script was used from approximately the mid-8th century until the 13th century, although there are examples from as late as the 16th century. There were two major centres of Beneventan usage: the monastery on Monte Cassino, and Bari. The Bari type developed in the 10th century from the Monte Cassino type; both were based on Roman cursive as written by the Langobards. In general the script is very angular. According to Lowe the perfected form of the script was used in the 11th century, while Desiderius was abbot of Monte Cassino, declining thereafter.
Beneventan features many ligatures and "connecting strokes" - the letters of a word could be joined together by a single line, with forms almost unrecognizable to a modern eye. Ligatures involving the letter t resemble Visigothic forms; t can take many forms depending on the letter joined to it. Ligatures with the letters e and r are also common. In early forms of Beneventan, the letter a has an open top, similar to the letter u; later, it resembled "cc" or "oc", with long tails hanging to the right. In the Bari type, the letter c often has a "broken" form, resembling the Beneventan form of the letter e. E itself, however, has a very long middle arm, distinguishing it from c. The letter d can have a vertical or left-slanting ascender, the letter g resembles the uncial form, and the letter i is very tall and resembles l.
The script has some unique ways to signify abbreviations and contractions - like most other Latin scripts, missing letters can be signified by a macron over the previous letter, although Beneventan often adds a dot to the macron. There is also a symbol resembling the number 3, or a sideways m, when the letter m has been omitted. In other scripts there is often little or no punctuation, but standard punctuation forms were developed for the Beneventan script, including the basis for the modern question mark.
Along with its resemblance to Visigothic script, Beneventan is also similar to Merovingian script.
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