Online Tuition in the Palaeography of Scottish Documents

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Letters i, j, m, n, and u

The letters i and j are often interchanged in both capital and small formation eg you may find justice spelt iustice and James spelt Iames. A j is often used in place of the last i in writing Roman numerals.

Roman numerals for seven showing the terminal i rendered as j

The other feature of the letter i is that it belongs to a group of letters made up by minims. A minim is a single short vertical stroke. The letter i is made up of a single minim, with or without a dot above it. Other letters made up of minims are m, n and u. The m is made up of three minims joined together, while n and u are made of two. Below is the word munition, demonstrating each of the letters made up by minims.

the word munition showing the letters i, m, n and u which are all formed by minims

Some clerks used a tittle mark above the letter u to distingush it from the n. A tittle mark is a short horizontal line written above the letter. The following word is young, written with a tittle mark above the u.

the word young showing a tittle mark above the letter u

Sometimes the line is not very straight and sometimes it is very short. Othertimes it may be slightly to one side or the other of the u, just as i can be dotted to the left or right.