Abolition of Shorthand
Renewed Interest
Shorthand was considered cryptography during the Middle Ages and its use forbidden.
Abolition of Shorthand — 534 AD

The Middle Ages (Dark Ages) were days of superstition, ignorance, and bigotry.  Shorthand was seen as cryptography (secret writing), “diabolical,” black magic and witchcraft, and its practitioners often were persecuted.  Its use was forbidden after 534 AD.  Monks, however, were permitted to use shorthand in their writings.


Interest in shorthand was reborn when Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, encouraged renewed research into Tironian Shorthand.

In 1180 AD, John of Tilbury sketched a rudimentary abbreviated word system that launched a transition to short writing systems.  Although intense efforts would lay dormant for another 300 years, eventually discovery of a Tironian lexicon in a Benedictine monastery in the 15th Century sparked renewed interest in the art of shorthand.