In a post of September 28, 2011, Language Hat discusses the word “catchmark“.
My mind leapt at this; but I am dozy…our files are in non-digital disarray…and all the usual excuses.
Nonetheless, the citation was irresistable.
“Catchwords” we see all the time in the manuscripts we study. And they can be charming, adorable, and we wish there were opportunities to write about them at length…
But “catchmark” is a word I hadn’t run across, either.
Here a catchmark in the MS. continues points to a note in the outer margin, by another hand.
This image seems to meet the case.
Please observe the glyphs, the triangular delta and the the round-bottomed W before the marginal notes and their referents above the cited texts.
It is from Mont-Saint-Michel [Avranches] MS 86.
from the same manuscript. These glyphs are not what we are studying. But they are very beautiful and interesting.
We have more images. But these are the most characteristic, I think.
Are these the sort of marks you are referring to?
Encouraged by Language Hat, I am adding a couple more images: Another lovely “catchmark” symbol (really, we need a paleographer and/or a codicologist to confirm this use of the word and inform us of others), with beautiful uncial E as a free bonus; and (below) a symbol I’d probably just read as an abbreviation for “Nota” – an N and rudimentary uncial A in ligature.

-All still from the MS 86 in the fonds ancien of the Bibliothèque Municipal of Avranches.


About Catanea

I'm 1/2 of "Keith⁊Amanda" - that's a Tironian "&", but it confuses people, so we write it with a "7" [seven]. Calligraphers. In Catalonia.
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1 Response to Catchmarks

  1. Benoit Furet says:

    another explanation I could see is something still used in books nowadays : a word in the margin being defined or referred to within the text, a mark that makes it easier to find a specific passage in a text, in other words a kind of marginal index
    the following links shows such words from a 15th century french manuscript

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