Ligatures and abbreviations
Letters written together (ligatures): If writing space was lacking, several letters could be written together as one. The letter æ is originally a ligature of a and e, just as the symbol & is a fusion of e and t (et = and).
Abbreviations: Abbreviations are also used to save space. There are various types of abbreviations. Suspension is when the beginning of a word is written and the rest is signalled with a period. Contraction is when the beginning and the ending of a word are written. Symbols or letters can be written above the abbreviated word. These are called superscript letters. A very common one among these is the nasal line, a horizontal line written above a letter which signals a following n or m (nasals).
The word 'er' is here abbreviated with a wave-like mark and 'var' with a superscript r. A nasal line has been written over the last -o to signal an m.