Photo: Thomas Aquinas’ Poor Penmanship

This is going around the net and on Facebook. I’ve already had about four people send it to me today. Above is a picture of the writing of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Pretty sloppy. I can’t make out any of it.

Thanks be to God for all those pious Dominican understudies who made it legible for us!

In this month of the Holy Souls, let us pray for all the secretaries and assistants of that great Universal Doctor of the Church.

And of course, Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

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  • Marc Dillon

    I wonder if the Angelic Doctor suffered from dysgraphia?

  • geekcatholic

    I wonder if this is related to the so called praying “in Tongues.” ;)   Would there be “writing in Spirit”?  Just wondering.

  • J

    Don’t forget to pray for us modern palaeographers and textual critics!

  • Peg

    Did all the Doctors of the Church write like doctors?

  • Nathan Howe

    Didn’t Aquinas dictate everything to his secretary? Why did he write something himself?

  • Conor

    It actually looks quite tidy.  Nice straight lines, even pressure.  Just might as well be Sanskrit.

  • John Bradley

    You can tell he was not instructed in the Palmer Penmanship Methoid by Sister Mary Mildred.

  • John Bradley

    You can tell he was not instructed by Sister Mary Mildred in the Palmer Penmanship method.

  • Tim

    Taylor!!

    Of course Aquinas hardly ever wrote and actually dictated his works and had a four secretaries writing stuff down.

    http://www.idehist.uu.se/distans/ilmh/Ren/soc-memory-aquinas.htm

  • Tim

    Taylor!!

    Of course Aquinas hardly ever wrote and actually dictated his works and had a four secretaries writing stuff down.

    http://www.idehist.uu.se/distans/ilmh/Ren/soc-memory-aquinas.htm

  • Anthony

    Looks more like Greek than Latin… though of course we know it isn’t.

  • mamaboy

    try to read proust

  • Trevor

    St Thomas, or his scribe, was using a system of abbreviations, or sigla (there are many hundreds of them), for writing Latin that was used over several centuries. A bit like shorthand, but not quite. A comprehensive dictionary of this type of script is “Dizionario di Abbreviature (Latine ed Italine)” by Adriano Cappelli, published 1990 by Ulrico Hoepli, Milano. ISBN 88-203-1100-3.

  • Trevor

    St Thomas, or his scribe, was using a system of abbreviations, or sigla (there are many hundreds of them), for writing Latin that was used over several centuries. A bit like shorthand, but not quite. A comprehensive dictionary of this type of script is “Dizionario di Abbreviature (Latine ed Italine)” by Adriano Cappelli, published 1990 by Ulrico Hoepli, Milano. ISBN 88-203-1100-3.

  • Trevor

    In the light of Tim Taylor’s post I would amend my last post to say that it was probably St Thomas’s scribe, and not St Thomas himself, who was writing in sigla.  Sigla was well-known at the time and writers in Latin would have had no trouble in understanding it.  
    There was also a system of Greek sigla, used particularly in printing up to the 18th century.  There is a table of Greek sigla at the end of “Tayler’s Rudiments of Greek Grammar as used at Eton (1832)”, a digital copy of which can be found on http://books.google.com/