Textual Notes

All clarifications regarding the text itself – how it is written or placed on the manuscript page – are found in this window. When this information is critical for a basic understanding of the main text, a comment is made in the text itself, always in type like this and [enclosed in square brackets].

All proper names are modernized to facilitate mechanical searchs and general comprehension, and all such changes are noted here. Apparent miswrites in the text and grammatical errors (e.g., lack of gender agreement) are also corrected in the text, with the correction noted here.

The following is a mark-up key for the transcript.

Abbreviations and Symbols

We distinguish between abbreviations (anything involving Latin-letters) and symbols (such as the use of a circle to indicate 'Kreis' or 'Sonne'). Much of this was standard notation of the day, belonging to the Tironian system that began in the 1st century BCE with Marcus Tullius Tiro (Cicero’s personal secretary) and was developed over the centuries in Europe.

˚ : German abbreviations are preceded with this sign. The signs for 'und', 'nicht', 'nichts' have evolved from letter-abbreviations ('und' is a stylized 'u'; 'nicht' derives from the Latin 'non'), and are marked as such (with a ˚). Other common abbreviations include: 'a.'='auch', end-'s.'='aus','e.'='ein', 't.'='mit', 'sd'='sind'.

Some of these abbreviations are ambiguous – 's.' might be expanded as 'sie', 'sein' (the verb), and 'sein' (the possessive pronoun) – although the context normally leaves little room for interpretive error.

ʾ : Latin abbreviations are preceded with this sign, including abbreviations for prefixes ('q' with two strokes above it is transcribed as 'ʾcon-' or 'ʾcom-'; the suffix '-um', written as two strokes, is expanded without a symbol, but put in small type: '-um'), phrases ('v.v.' is transcribed as 'ʾ.vice .versa'), and single words ('Def.' is transcribed as 'ʾDefinition', 'st' as 'ʾsunt').

˜ : Symbols are preceded with this sign (most common is the use of a Greek 'θ' for 'Gott' or 'χ' for 'Christ/Christlich'. [NB: Herder also uses the alchemical symbol for 'Salz' (a circle with a horizontal line drawn through the middle) in the physical geography notes, which is essentially indistinguishable from his 'θ'.]

All abbreviations and symbols – insofar as they are marked with a ˚, ʾ, or ˜ – are listed in the Abbreviation Glossary. The full word is written out after the abbreviation/symbol marker.

Certain abbreviations are almost always followed by a period; when this occurs, the period is included immedately after the marker (e.g., where the manuscript reads 'm.', the transcript reads '˚.man').

A few abbreviations are still in common use and readily understood, and for ease of reading have been left unexpanded (and therefore not marked as such):


z.E. ('for example'; usually indicated in English and often in German prose with the Latin abbreviation 'e.g.' or exemplia gratia).

d.i. ('das ist', equivalent to the Latin 'id est' – commonly found abbreviated in English-language texts as 'i.e.').


e.g. (exemplia gratia) is left unexpanded and unmarked.

etc. (et cetera), which in the notes resembles a Latin ‘e’ with a long tail, but is actually a 'p' (for 'perge' = continue) and sometimes doubled, is left unexpanded as 'etc' in the transcription and therefore not marked.

ʾvice versa normally appears in the notes as v.v. and, since we expand this in the transcription, it is marked.







There are two forms of 's' in Kurrent (or later Sütterlin) script: the long-'s' (upper-case is a long oval with two hooks at the top; lower-case is a sloping line with a hook at the top) is found at the beginning and in the middle of a syllable; the terminal-'s' (somewhat resembling a '6') is always at the end of a word or syllable.

Other Added Text

Herder routinely will indicate that a word or phrase appearing directly above (in the previous line) is to be repeated in the current line, by leaving a dash or series of dashes (or occasionally, and more ambiguously, a blank space). We mark these textual insertions with quilled square-brackets: ⁅repeated phrase here⁆. The occasional text that we insert to facilitate reading is always placed in normal square-brackets and the text set in [special type]. Where a word is clearly miswritten, we correct the text and indicate the change with a note; this is most common with proper names, which we standardize in the text.

Herder uses other abbreviations where the expansion must be interpreted from the context. In these many cases, all added text is indicated with special type that looks like this. Herder uses various conventions for truncating a word: a horizontal stroke over a consonant to be doubled, a horizontal dash through the upper or lower stem of a consonant to indicate an 'er' that follows, a tail looping counter-clockwise to indicate an 'en', a looping tail followed by a period to indicate the '-lich' suffix – all of these letters are added with special type.


No punctuation is added or altered without note. When it is reasonably clear that the period or colon following a truncated word is intended to punctuate the sentence, then it is used as such, and is not inserted at the end of the truncated fragment.

Punctuation is sometimes an important aspect of abbreviations. For instance, 'd' always indicates 'der', while 'd.' always indicates 'die' (and 'ds' indicates 'das'). These are all treated as abbreviations: '˚der', '˚die', '˚das' ('˚die' is the only instance where we silently drop the period included in the abbreviation).

Other Editorial Conventions

/ : unambiguous paragraph-breaks in the manuscript are marked here with a forward-slash at the beginning of the line (on those pages written as schematic outlines, however, these markings are dropped).

‹text› : inserted text written above the line (or occasionally below the line or in a margin) is set into wedges. Text without a clear insertion point will be indicated with a textual note.

⁅text⁆ : text that repeats text written directly above in the preceding line is set into square brackets with quills. This usually replaces either a long dash or a set of dashes; occasionally it fills a space left blank, and occasionally the text repeated is found two lines above.

} : A curly bracket is used to indicate that the text inside the bracket is bracketed with one or more other lines of text in the manuscript (sometimes to indicate a hierarchical arrangment, but usually just to apply the same word or phrase to each of the lines). It is generally useful to open up an image of the page to get a better sense of the layout of the text.

Latin text is rendered with a sans-serif font in this color.

Persons named in the text are printed in this color.

@ : unclear text (either difficult to read or clearly equivocal) is bracketed, as in: "@zukomme@" (here, the 'omme' is indicated as added). When there is more than one possible meaning, they are separated with a forward-slash: “Grde” = @Gründe / Grade@.

¿ : illegible letter or symbol.

... : a few manuscript pages have extended sections of text that are illegible. These sections have been indicated with strings of periods.

[…] : text obscured by an ink-smudge or lost to a tear in the paper is indicated with a bracketed ellipsis.

Underline: indicates an underline in the ms.

Double-underline: indicates text with two or more underlines in the ms.

~ : A tilde is used at the end of a line where a word is clearly broken, but no soft-hyphen was used.