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> Copying the Text > Abbreviation

Abbrev.

From 'app' to 'math': abbreviating words is human. Why write words in full if a shorter version will do? Medieval scribes agreed. The manuscripts they made are usually packed with abbreviations. Perhaps the most common is the macron: a line above a letter that represents the letter n or m. In this image the first (Latin) word reads "omnia" (all), but the scribe wrote "omia" with a line over the letter i.
Another popular abbreviation mark is the 7-shaped symbol for "et" (and), seen two lines lower on this page. The number and kinds of abbreviations varied. Manuscripts with liturgical texts usually have few abbreviations, while they are abundant in those filled with university texts, such as Aristotle. Abbreviations may also be problematic. They are only useful, after all, if the reader can understand them.