Consider the picture below, depicting a cross allegedly found by monks of Galstonbury Abbey in a tomb (allegedly) containing the remains of King Arthur.

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It's suppose to say:

Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arturius in insula Avalonia

(source of quote and image here)

I find odd that the N is depicted like an H. Notice there is also another H (Hic), but they might not be the same (the latter has a thinner middle stroke). Is this representation of N common to a region/period? Or is it rare? I've never seen it before. There is no mention of it in Wikipedia, for instance. Searching this index of Latin inscriptions seems to show no such use for H either. N seems to be always used for N.


1 Answer 1


It was somewhat common in the Middle Ages for capital N to have an horizontal connective stroke, resembling H, at least in manuscript. Here are a few examples of abbreviations using capital N, taken from Cappelli (Roman numerals are centuries):

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