Version 1.1 (1 December 2003)
There are a growing number of Unicode fonts available, many of which contain a large selection of the whole Unicode standard. This standard includes most Latin characters and diacritics used by medieval scholars, e.g. þ (thorn), ð (eth), "o ogonek", "ø with accent, "æ with accent" etc. Unicode fonts are supported by several operating systems, notably Windows and Mac (OS 10). This means that most characters in many transcriptions of Medieval Nordic sources are included in available fonts, and that these transcriptions can be displayed in print and on the web with comparatively few problems. For further information on Unicode and Unicode fonts, please refer to Allan Wood's Unicode Resources. This site is constantly updated and highly recommended.
Private Use Area
In diplomatic trancriptions of Medieval Nordic sources, especially Old Norse ones, a considerable number of characters are still missing in the Unicode standard. Until Unicode decides to include these characters in one of its offical ranges, medievalists must resort to the Private Use Area. This is an area which will not be used for any official characters by Unicode, and which is open to scholarly and other types of communities. Characters in this area can be included in fonts for several computer platforms (e.g. Windows and Mac OS 10) and they can be designed by several font editors (e.g. FontLab, for Windows and Mac).
It should be stressed that the Private Use Area is an interim solution, and that the long-term solution is to work with Unicode for the inclusion of as many characters as possible in one of the offical ranges. This is the aim of the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative, which presently is working on a formal proposal to Unicode.
Specialised fonts for Medieval Nordic sources
In addition to the growing number of standard Unicode fonts, there are a few specialised fonts with characters for Medieval Nordic and English primary sources. These fonts are fully conformant with the Unicode standard, but in their present versions they differ in the allocation of characters in the Private Use Area.
Coordination by the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative
The Medieval Unicode Font Initiative (MUFI) has been set up to coordinate fonts designed for Medieval usage. A recommendation for character encoding will be published on the MUFi site in December 2003: Medieval Unicode Font Initiative
It is expected that the new versions of Junicode, Cardo, Alphabetum, Leedsuni and other Medieval fonts will subscribe to the MUFI recommendation.
All fonts on this site are distributed free of charge and are inteded for scholarly use only. The font designers and the Medieval Nordic Text Archive take no responsibility for any damage or errors which may occur as the result of the downloading and use of any of these fonts. No fonts must be distributed commercially without permission by the font designer or the institution acting on his/her behalf.
Junicode is a Unicode font developed by Peter S. Baker at the University of Virginia. In addition to relevant ranges in the official Unicode area, the font contains a number of specialised characters for Old English in the Private Use Area. The font is based on Junius, a 17th-century "Saxon" typeface.
Junicode is available as TrueType for PC (Windows), which also is supported by Mac OS 10.
Downloading site for Junicode
Cardo is a Unicode font developed by David J. Perry at Rye High School, Rye, New York. In addition to relevant ranges in the official Unicode area (also a number of Greek, Coptic and Hebrew characters), the font contains some specialised characters in the Private Use Area. The font is based on a renaissance font made by Aldus Manutius and first used to print Pietro Bembo's book De Aetna.
Cardo is available as TrueType for PC (Windows), which also is supported by Mac OS 10.
Downloading site for Cardo
Alphabetum is a multi-purpose Unicode font with a large number of characters in the Private Use Area, coordinated with present versions of Junicode and Titus Cyberbit. Alphabetum is designed by Juan-José Marcos, Plasencia, Spain, and can be downloaded for a modest price.
Alphabetum is available as TrueType for PC (Windows), which also is supported by Mac OS 10.
Leeds Uni is a Unicode font designed by Alec McAllister at the University of Leeds. This font will be developed in conjunction with the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative (MUFI), and will contain a large number of characters defined in this handbook. Please refer to the MUFI web site for more information.
Preliminary version created 10 October 2002. Version 1.1 published 1 December 2003.