Thursday, September 1, 2016

new roman, uncial, carolingian, old english & bastarda

New Roman
We know that uncial (a majuscule) develops from Old Roman cursive. Actually what happens is that the stroke of the letter is facilitated by vellum (i.e., an example where technology creates style) a new material (papyrus made characters more angular). The rest is a matter of following convention that is taken to be in good taste. Just like 19th century calligraphy, which was very much in vogue,

"a" is a simple loop open at the top, "b" appears to be back to front as the bow is on the left. "u" and "v" are identical and consist of a particularly insignificant little bent line. Certain letters show the particular forms that would become features of the early medieval book scripts, such as the raised "e," long s and open "g" with no closed loops. There are two forms of "n," this particular hand retaining a majuscule N in most cases.

Greek Uncial? circa. 800 aD
Perhaps developing in second half of the third century, the uncial script gains popularity during the fourth century. Significantly a large number of the extant uncial texts were Christian manuscripts. Uncial would supplant the rustic capitals as the most popular script from the fifth century.

Carolingian minuscules 10th century aD.

Old English, insular miniscule, 12th century. This document is a charter or writ of Henry I confirming lands and privileges to the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury

Derived from both Gothic Textura and cursive hands, this particular example of Bastarda is quite formal and precise, and although the letters sometimes touch within the words, it is not cursive as each is written separately. It looks like a book hand, although in this instance it is used on a very formal and elaborate document.