Mercantesca: Italian Renaissance Script

Some time back, we wrote a post on deciphering the script of the court of Ferdinand and Isabella.  That script was difficult and relied heavily on abbreviations. It came from a court scribe.  Example is below.


But among the hardest to read, beyond that of the Spanish, is Mercantesca, the script used by the Italian merchants during the Renaissance.  So take a look below and see how much you can read.


“Al nome di Dio a di iiii di febraio 1454.”  [In the name of God, on the 4th of February 1454(5)].  Note the use of lower case, joined, Roman numerals, as well as the abbreviation for “di.”


Line 1: “Sono venute le galee” [The galleys have arrived]

Line 2: “del arcipelago” [from the archipelago, Indonesia]


“pure veduto la pace fatta” [given the peace made – a reference to the Peace of Lodi]


“L’amicho da Roma questa altra volta” [the friend from Rome next time].  Note that words are grouped together into one word and the abbreviation for Questa, as in other languages, swallows the “ue.”

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