The Codex Petropolitanus Latinus Q.v.I.40 is a manuscript ofTertullian, from the 8th–9th century written on 61 folios of parchment,originating in the Abbey of Corbie.
The Abbey of Corbie was the center wherethe old manuscripts were used before the Carolingian minuscule was introduced,and the influence can be seen on this codex. The Codex Petropolitanus Latinuscontains the Apologeticum, Tertullian’s most famous work, made of apologeticand polemic. Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus) was an earlyChristian author and the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpusof Latin Christian literature and a polemicist against heresy. He defendsChristianity, demanding legal equality for Christians, so that they could havethe same treatment as all other sects of the Roman Empire. The originalmanuscript was written in Carthage in 197 AD, during the reign of SeptimiusSeverus, and it was reproduced a lot in the Middle Ages, one of them being thisone Carolingian minuscule was probably commissioned for the monastery itself,which was not untypical for these times.The main characteristic about Caroline Minuscule, whichmakes it different from older texts, is the spaces between the words and it isone of the first scripts that has spacing between the words. There are alsoascenders and descenders, meaning that parts of some of the letters eitherextend above the median line or descend below the baseline, making the lettersvary in height.
And the Carolingian minuscule also used a number of small linesthat were actually punctuation marks. Clear capitalletters and spaces between words, which became a standard in Carolingianminuscule, are also seen here in this codex. That was the result of a campaignto achieve a culturally unifying standardization of the letter through thewhole Carolingian Empire. The capital letters are derived form the previousinfluence, especially the influence of the Merovingian letters from theAbbey of Corbie, which was founded during Merovingian reign and producedmanuscripts at that time. The letters here are also clear, rounded andlegible, showing the characteristics of the Carolingian minuscule. The letter ahere becomes a more curvaceous version of the Uncial a, which was seen in oldertexts The letter g developed a closed bow and a curved tail, while the letter rhas lost its descender and shortened its loop. The letters lack ligatures, butthe punctuation exists in form of small lines and dots. The letters t ande sometimes merge with each other, emphasizing the cursive style.
The lowercasen that can be seen here is new in the alphabet, rarely used before. Theheight of the letters varied, from 3 to 5 pen widths, breaking thebaseline. The pen strokes are vertical, but the angle of the brush providedthinner lines and created and oval effect on the letters and punctuation. The cursive is even more enhanced by the fluency of thewriting.
The pen’s angle of writing was 45 degrees which also gavethe letters a more rounded and cursive look.