Latin Paleography From Antiquity to the Renaissance [by A. M. Piazzoni]

10.4 System of abbreviation and ligatures

The system of abbreviations in the insular scripts is particular and unique. It owes its existence in part by the adoption of very common abbreviations in previous Latin scripts (such as the use of the hyphen above a letter to indicate a m or an n; or b at the end of word, to indicate –bus, or a q for the enclitic -que); these are partly inherited from Tironian notes, since they mirror the form used principally in juridical codices (notae iuris). But starting from those, other abbreviations were also introduced on the island, and these, in turn, greatly influenced the medieval system of abbreviation. Characteristic signs include, for example, those used to indicate con / cum with a kind of backward C, contra with the same sign, twice repeated, enim with a horizontal dash cut by two vertical lines, est with a horizontal dash and a point or two set above it, one above and one below, esse with two horizontal dashes, and with the Tironian sign in the form of 7.

Abbreviazioni insulare.jpg
From left to right: eius, est, -que, -bus, enim, vel, et, con/cum

Ligatures are not very common, perhaps since there is only a slight dependence on cursive script; nevertheless, characteristic ligatures include those between a consonant (or the letter e) and a subsequent letter i, which is minimized and lower, connected to the final stroke of the preceding letter.

Nessi insulare2.jpg