It contains nearly io,000 MSS., including many magnificent illuminated missals and Bibles and a number of valuable Greek and Latin texts, 242 incunabula and 11,000 printed books, chiefly dealing with palaeography; it is in some ways the most important of the Florentine libraries.
The first method distinguishes between uncial or majuscule, and cursive or minuscule; the second between papyrus, vellum or parchment, and paper (for further details see Manuscript and Palaeography); and the third distinguishes mainly between Gospels, Acts and Epistles (with or without the Apocalypse), New Testaments (the word in this connexion being somewhat broadly interpreted), lectionaries and commentaries.
He afterwards became keeper of manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and professor of palaeography at the Ecole des Chartes.
It practically created the science of Latin palaeography, and is still the standard work on the subject.
Palaeography, history and Romance languages are among the other subjects to which especial importance is given.
Delisle was undoubtedly the most learned man in Europe with regard to the middle ages; and his knowledge of diplomatics, palaeography and printing was profound.
It must be remembered that the dating of the MSS., especially of minuscules, is by no means certain: Greek Palaeography is a difficult subject, and not all the MSS.
It is sometimes employed, too, in a more contracted sense, to denote the palaeography, in inscriptions.
In the present state of Hebrew palaeography it is not possible to determine accurately the date of a MS., but it is easy to recognize the country in which it was written.
In 1874 he was appointed first professor of palaeography and diplomatics at the Istituto di Studii Superiori in Florence, where he continued to work at the interpretation of MSS.
His works consist of a large number of historical essays, studies on palaeography, transcriptions of state and other papers, reviews, &c.
Elsewhere in this edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica the articles on the various languages and under the headings INSCRIPTIONS, PALAEOGRAPHY, WRITING, &c., should be consulted, while separate articles are given on each letter of the English alphabet.
But the real auxiliary sciences to history are those which deal with those traces of the past that still exist, the science of language (philology), of writing (palaeography), of documents (diplomatic), of seals (sphragistics), of coins (numismatics), of weights and measures, and archaeology in the widest sense of the word.
Kenyon, The Palaeography of Greek Papyri (Oxford, 1899) and W.