Tuesday, August 22, 2017

the social character of written language became inscribed in its design

Trajan's Column, circa 114, cE. 
this is Trajan's column. 115 feet in height, including its pedestal. the monument's shaft is made from a series of 20 colossal carrara marble drums, each weighing 32 tons, a diameter 12. feet. inside th shaft, a spiral staircase of 185 steps provides access to a viewing platform at the top. the capital block of the column weighs 53.3 tons. imagine the engineering lifting it to a height of 34 meters.

below the formal capitals inscribed on the base of the column, which are considered the pinnacle of Roman letter design (called Trajan typeface). These letters are remarkable for their elegance and consistency and the harmony of its proportions (though they were not used with the help of a compass or ruler). The serif effect is obtained by the chisel's indentation in the stone's surface.

the best hypothesis of scholar and Father Edward Catich, is that the type form was first sketched using a flat square-tipped brush, using only three or four quick strokes to form each letter. the characters were cut in the stone by the same person (not as some supposed by a scribe and stone mason), the illusion of form being created by shadow.

 


SENATUS POPULUS QUE ROMANUS IMPERATORI CAESARI DIVI NERVAE FILIO NERVAE TRAIANO AUGUSTO GERMANICO DACICO PONTIFICI MAXIMO TRIBUNICIA POTESTATE XVII IMPERATORI VI CONSULI VI PATRI PATRIAE AD DECLARANDUM QUANTAE ALTITUDINIS MONS ET LOCUS TANRIBUS SIT EGESTUS.