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

10.3 The capital insular alphabet

In Insular manuscripts, there is a characteristic alphabet that was also created: INSULAR CAPITAL, also called decorative capital, used especially in the great codices with biblical texts, as a display script for titles, chapters, and initials. It developed from Capital script (which had the same function in the codices that arrived on the islands). Under the influence of the Runic script proper to the Germanic peoples and used for the inscriptions, emerged by a phenomenon of osmosis, blending with similar local writings, for example, into one that was found on the Iberian Peninsula produced by the cross between Visigothic script with the Arab one.

The result is a series of letters in which the curved lines are replaced by segments, thus acquiring a more squared shape in which even the horizontal lines often begin and end with the triangular decoration of the wedge.

Alfabeto insulare decorativo.jpg
Reproduction of Capital alphabet

The letters a, b, h, m, o, t are particularly characteristic.

Insulare decorativa.jpg
To note the word "Amen" in decorative capital to f. 50r of Pal. lat. 202