Thursday, August 25, 2016

the social character of written language became inscribed in its design

Trajan's Column, circa 114, cE. 
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.