Meaning of CALLIGRAPHY in English
writing as an art. The term derives from the Greek words for good or beautiful and for writing or drawing and refers to what masters called the art of fair writing. It imples a sure knowledge of the correct form of lettersi.e., the conventional signs by which language can be communicatedand the skill to inscribe them with such ordering of the various parts and harmony of proportions that the cultivated, knowing eye will recognize the compositions as a work of art. In East Asia, calligraphy by long and exacting tradition is considered a major art, equal to painting. In Western culture the simpler Greek and Latin-derived alphabets and the spread of literacy tend to make handwriting theoretically everybody's art, although in a few instances, especially since the Renaissance, it has either aspired to or attained the status of calligraphy. Ray Nash the art of beautiful or elegant handwriting as exhibited by the correct formation of characters, the ordering of the various parts, and harmony of proportions. Calligraphy offers a wide range of aesthetic possibilities. In the Islamic world, calligraphy has traditionally been held in high regard, and in cultures using Chinese or Chinese-influenced writing, in which individual characters themselves can be aesthetic objects, calligraphy is revered as highly as painting. Greek writing. Early Greek forms of handwriting (up to about the 8th century AD) are chiefly of two functional types: the sort of writing used to copy books and that used for documents or letters. The book hands (traditionally, although often inaccurately, called uncials) are generally the more stylized and are usually written in clear, distinct capital letters. The documentary styles are much more various, reflecting the kinds of texts (private letters, official documents, etc.) for which they were used and the diverse nature of those who used them. They are also characterized as cursive, having a rounded, flowing quality that comes with writing speedily. The period of the Byzantine Empire produced several major developments in Greek handwriting, among them the invention of minuscules (lowercase letters). From the 12th to the 15th century, Greek handwriting showed a mixture of styles: the formal, rather stereotyped hand used in liturgical writings and the more personal, occasionally mannered hands used in personal and scholarly writings. Both were to be major influences in the development of printing type styles during the Renaissance. Latin writing. From its first appearance in the 1st century AD until the 4th century, Roman writing showed two forms: rustic capitals, so called only in comparison to the monumental lettering of Roman stone inscriptions, which served as the book hand; and cursive capitals, which were the business hand. Rustic capitals gave way to uncials and similar book hands, while cursive writing for documents led to the development of minuscule letter forms. Under Charlemagne's rule in the 8th and 9th centuries, and more specifically under the leadership of the English cleric Alcuin, abbot of St. Martin's at Tours, several important scripts were developed, notably the Carolingian minuscule. The humanist literary movement of the 14th to 16th centuries produced two scripts that influenced all subsequent handwriting and printing: the so-called roman and italic styles. For 200 to 300 years after the invention of printing, European calligraphy was increasingly distinguished by bold and frequently extravagant ornamentation; manuscripts were written as much to show off a hand as to impart information. A revival of more traditional forms occurred in the late 19th century and carried into the 20th. Additional reading Aramaic and Hebrew calligraphy G.R. Driver, Semitic Writing from Pictograph to Alphabet, rev. ed. edited by S.A. Hopkins (1976), on the origins of Semitic writing; G.R. Driver (ed. and trans.), Aramaic Documents of the Fifth Century BC (1954, reprinted 1968); Eugne Tisserant (comp.), Specimina Codicum Orientalium (1914), reproductions of Semitic pen hands; Carlo Bernheimer, Paleografia Ebraica (1924), many Ashkenazic hands; Moses Gaster, Hebrew Illuminated Bibles of the IXth and Xth Centuries . . . (1901); Reuben Leaf, Hebrew Alphabets, 400 BC to Our Days (1950, reissued 1987), reproductions of manuscript styles; The Book of Jonah, woodcuts by Jacob Steinhardt, calligraphy by Franzisca Baruch (1953); and Henri Friedlaender, Die Entstehung meiner Hadassah-Hebrisch (1967), on the relationship of Hebrew manuscript styles and types. Arabic calligraphy Annemarie Schimmel, Islamic Calligraphy (1970), a stimulating introduction with illustrations, including calligraphy in architecture and the decorative arts, and a useful bibliography, and Calligraphy and Islamic Culture (1984); Yasin Hamid Safadi, Islamic Calligraphy (1978), on the development of Arabic writing from pre-Islamic times through the 20th century; Nabia Abbott, The Rise of the North Arabic Script and Its Kur'anic Development (1939), a study of the origins of the Arabic script and its development in the early Islamic period; B. Moritz (ed.), Arabic Palaeography: A Collection of Arabic Texts from the First Century of the Hidjra till the Year 1000 (1905, reprinted 1986), a rich collection of texts on papyrus and paper; Anthony Welch, Calligraphy in the Arts of the Muslim World (1979), essays on aspects of calligraphy in Islam; Arthur Upham Pope (ed.), A Survey of Persian Art, new ed. (1964), especially vol. 4 on Arabic calligraphy in the art and architecture of Persia; Basil Gray (ed.), The Arts of the Book in Central Asia, 14th16th Centuries (1979), a work unique in both coverage and scholarship; and V. Minorsky (trans.), Calligraphers and Painters: A Treatise by Qadi Ahmad . . . (1959), an important work (written in 1606) that illustrates the Islamic attitude toward calligraphy. Western calligraphy Dorothy E. Miner, Victor I. Carlson, and P.W. Filby (comps.), 2,000 Years of Calligraphy (1965, reissued 1980), a comprehensive and well-illustrated catalog of an exhibition devoted to regions using the Latin alphabet, with especially valuable notes and references from the 1st to the 19th century; Edward Johnston, Writing & Illuminating, & Lettering, 14th ed. (1906, reprinted 1980), the gospel of the modern revival by its chief apostle, and Formal Penmanship, and Other Papers, edited by Heather Child (1971, reissued 1980); David Diringer, The Hand-Produced Book (1953, reprinted with title, The Book Before Printing: Ancient, Medieval, and Oriental, 1982), a storehouse of information; Jan Tschichold, An Illustrated History of Writing and Lettering (1946, reissued 1948; originally published in German, 1940), a brief, perceptive, and personal account by an eminent designer; Hermann Degering (ed.), Lettering: A Series of 240 Plates Illustrating Modes of Writing in Western Europe from Antiquity to the End of the 18th Century, 3rd ed. (1954, reprinted 1965; originally published in German, 3rd ed. 1952), a standard survey of scripts; and B.L. Ullman, The Origin and Development of Humanistic Script (1960, reprinted 1974). See also Joyce Irene Whalley, The Pen's Excellencie: Calligraphy of Western Europe and America (1980, reprinted 1982); Marc Drogin, Medieval Calligraphy, Its History and Technique (1980); James Wardrop, The Script of Humanism: Some Aspects of Humanistic Script, 14601560 (1963); Alfred Fairbank and Berthold Wolpe, Renaissance Handwriting: An Anthology of Italic Scripts (1960); Oscar Ogg (ed.), Three Classics of Italian Calligraphy: An Unabridged Reissue of the Writing Books of Arrighi, Tagliente, Palatino (1953); Ambrose Heal, The English Writing-Masters and Their Copy-Books, 15701800 (1931, reprinted 1962), the fundamental biographical and bibliographical work, well illustrated and with an important essay by Stanley Morison; Ray Nash, American Writing Masters and Copybooks: History and Bibliography Through Colonial Times (1959), and American Penmanship, 18001850: A History of Writing and a Bibliography of Copybooks from Jenkins to Spencer (1969), with miniature reproductions of title pages. Greek calligraphy E.G. Turner, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World, 2nd ed. (1987), the best general work and also very well illustrated; Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (1981); Franchi De'Cavalieri and Johannes Lietzmann, Specimina Codicum Graecorum Vaticanorum (1910, reissued 1929), 50 Greek manuscript specimens in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City; The Codex Alexandrinus, 5 vol. (190957), a facsimile in reduced size, with introductions by F.G. Kenyon, H.J.M. Milne, and T.C. Skeat; The Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus, prepared by H.J.M. Milne and T.C. Skeat (1951, reissued 1963), on the origins of the two great Greek uncial Bibles in the British Museum; Facsimile of the Washington Manuscript of Deuteronomy and Joshua in the Freer Collection (1910); and Ilias Ambrosiana (1953), a beautiful facsimile of the Homeric codex in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan (elegant uncial writing). Latin calligraphy The best short accounts in English are in B.L. Ullman, Ancient Writing and Its Influence, new ed. (1969, reprinted 1980); and Edward Maunde Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography (1912, reprinted 1973). All Roman books and documents are cataloged (in English) in, respectively, E.A. Lowe (ed.), Codices latini antiquiores: A Palaeographical Guide to Latin Manuscripts Prior to the Ninth Century, 12 vol. (193466, reprinted 1982); and Albert Bruckner and Robert Marichal (eds.), Chartae latinae antiquiores: Facsimile Edition of the Latin Charters Prior to the Ninth Century (1954 ), 24 vol. of which had appeared to 1986. The most important monographs are Jean Mallon, Palographie romaine (1952); and essays in E.A. Lowe, Palaeographical Papers 19071965, 2 vol. (1972). Leonard E. Boyle, Medieval Latin Palaeography: A Bibliographical Introduction (1984), is a guide to further study of Latin scripts. Chinese calligraphy Yu-ho Ecke Tseng, Chinese Calligraphy (1971); Shen Fu, Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy (1977, reissued 1980); Lucy Driscoll and Kenji Toda, Chinese Calligraphy, 2nd ed. (1964); Yee Chiang, Chinese Calligraphy: An Introduction to Its Aesthetic and Techniques, 3rd ed. rev. and enl. (1973); William Willetts, Chinese Calligraphy: Its History and Aesthetic Motivation (1981), and Chinese Art, 2 vol. in 1 (1958); Chih-mai Chn, Chinese Calligraphers and Their Art (1966); and Shen Fu, Glenn D. Lowry, and Ann Yonemura, From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy (1986). Korean calligraphy Eung-hyon Kim, Sang-ko eui Soye (Ancient Korean Calligraphy), Koryo eui Soye (Calligraphy of the Koryo Dynasty), Yi-cho eui Soye (Calligraphy of the Yi Dynasty), and Hyondae eui Soye (Modern Calligraphy), all in Han'guk yesul ch'ongnam, edited by the Academy of Art, Seoul, Korea (1965), the best surveys on Korean calligraphy, by a noted calligrapher; and Ki-sung Kim, Han'guk Soye sa (1966), a general survey of Korean calligraphy. Japanese calligraphy Yoshiaki Shimizu and John M. Rosenfield, Masters of Japanese Calligraphy 8th19th Century (1984); Yujiro Nakata, The Art of Japanese Calligraphy (1973; originally published in Japanese, 1967); and Hisao Sugahara, Japanese Ink Painting and Calligraphy . . . , trans. from Japanese (1967). East Asian calligraphy In China, Korea, and Japan, calligraphy is a form of pure art. Chinese, Korean, and Japanese calligraphy derive from the written form of the Chinese language. Chinese is not an alphabetical language; each character is composed of a number of differently shaped lines within an imaginary square. The early Chinese written words, like the Egyptian hieroglyphs, were pictorial images, though not so close to the objects they represented as in the ancient Egyptian writing. Rather, they were simplified images, indicating meaning through suggestion or imagination. These simple images were flexible in composition, capable of developing with changing conditions by means of slight variations. Chinese calligraphy The earliest known Chinese logographs are engraved on the shoulder bones of large animals and on tortoise shells. The piece illustrated contains a number of the early ideographs; each seems to have been carefully composed before being engraved on the bone. Although they are not entirely uniform in size, the variations are not great. The figures must have evolved from rough and careless scratches in the still more distant past. This chia-ku-wen, or shell-and-bone script (18th12th century BC), is the earliest stage of development in Chinese calligraphy. It was said that Ts'ang Chieh, the legendary inventor of Chinese writing, got his ideas from observing animals' footprints and birds' claw marks on the sand as well as other natural phenomena. He then started to work out simple images from what he conceived as representing different objects such as those that are given below: Surely, the first images that the inventor drew of these few objects could not have been quite so stylized but must have undergone some modifications to reach the above stage. Each image is composed of a minimum number of lines and yet is easily recognizable. Nouns no doubt came first. Later, new ideographs had to be invented to record actions, feelings, and differences in size, colour, taste, and so forth. Something was added to the already existing ideograph to give it a new meaning. The ideograph for deer, for instance, is , not a realistic image but a very much sim plified structure of lines suggesting a deer by its horns, big eye, and small body, which distinguish it from other animals. When two such simple images are put side by side, the meaning is pretty, prettiness, beautiful, beauty, etc., which is obvious if one has seen two such elegant creatures walking together. But, if a third image is added above the other two, as , it means rough, coarse, and even haughty. This interesting point is the change in meaning through the arrangement of the images. If the three stags were not standing in an orderly manner, they could become rough and aggressive to anyone approaching them. From the aesthetic point of view, three such images could not be arranged side by side within an imaginary square without cramping one another, and in the end none would look like a deer at all. After the shell-and-bone script came writing on bronze vessels, known as bronze script. In the early days of divination, when the kings of the Shang dynasty (18th12th century BC) tried to solve their problems by consulting their ancestors and deities, the latter's answers were engraved on bones and on tortoise shells for perpetual preservation. Later, bronze was used to make cooking utensils and wine vessels for the special ceremonies of ancestral worship, raw or cooked food being offered up in them. So sacred were these ancestor-worshipping ceremonies that the best types of bronze utensil were specially designed and cast for such purposes, and, in addition, inscriptions, from a few words up to several hundred, were incised inside the bronzes. The words of the engravings could not be roughly formed or even just simple images; they had to be well worked out to go with the decorative ornaments outside the bronzes, and in some instances they almost became the chief decorative design in themselves. Though they preserved the general structure of the bone-and-shell script, they were considerably elaborated and beautified. Each bronze or set of them may bear a different type of inscription, not only in the wording but also in the manner of writing. Hundreds of them were created by different artists. The bronze script represents another stage of development in Chinese calligraphy, known as chin-wen (metal-script), ku-wen (ancient-script), or ta chuan (large-seal) style of writing. Before long a unification of all types of the bronze script was enforced when China was united for the first time, in the 3rd century BC. The first emperor of Ch'in, Shih Huang-ti, gave the task of working out the new script to his prime minister, Li Ssu, and no other type was allowed to be used. Here are some common words that can be compared with similar words in bone-and-shell script mentioned above: This was the third step forward in the development of Chinese calligraphy, known as hsiao chuan (small-seal) style. In the small-seal style of writing, all lines are drawn of even thickness, and more curves and circles are employed. Each word tends to fill up an imaginary square, and a passage written in small-seal style has the appearance of a series of equal squares neatly arranged in columns and rows, each of them balanced and well-spaced. The uniformity of writing in China was established chiefly for the purpose of meeting the growing demands for documented records. Unfortunately, the small-seal style could not be written speedily and was therefore not entirely suitable. Another stage of development was neededthe fourth stage, which is called li shu, or official style. The Chinese word li here means a petty official or a clerk; li shu means a style specially devised for the use of clerks. If examined carefully, li shu is found to contain no circles and very few curved lines. Squares and short straight lines, vertical and horizontal, are chiefly used. Because of the speed needed for writing, the brush in the hand tends to move up and down, and an even thickness of line cannot be enforced. As the thickness varied, artist-writers could concentrate more on the artistic shaping of the lines. Li shu is thought to have been invented by Ch'eng Miao (240207 BC), who had offended the First Emperor of Ch'in and was serving a 10-year sentence in prison. He spent his time in prison working out this new development, which opened up seemingly endless possibilities for later calligraphers. According to their own artistic insight, they evolved new variations in the shape of lines and in construction. The words in li shu style tend to be square or slightly rectangular horizontally. Though the even thickness of lines is relaxed, the rigidity in the shaping of them is still there; for instance, the vertical lines had to be shorter, and the horizontal ones longer. As this curtailed the freedom of hand for individual artistic taste, another stage of development came into beingthe fifth stage, chen shu (k'ai shu), or regular style. There is no record of who invented this style, but it must have been in evolution for a long time, at least since the 1st century AD if not earlier. The Chinese still use this regular style of writing today; in fact, what is known as modern Chinese writing is almost 2,000 years old, and the written words of China have not changed since the first century of the Christian Era. Regular style means the proper style of Chinese writing used by all Chinese for government documents, printed books, and public and private dealings in important matters ever since its establishment. Since the regulations for the civil service examination enforced in the T'ang period (AD 618907), each candidate had to be able to write a good hand in regular style. This Imperial decree deeply influenced all Chinese who wanted to become scholars and enter the civil service. This examination was abolished in 1905, but most Chinese still try to acquire a hand in regular style even to the present day. In chen shu each line, each square or angle, and even each dot can be shaped according to the will and taste of the calligrapher. Indeed, a Chinese word in regular style presents an almost infinite variety of problems of structure and composition, and, when executed, it presents to the onlooker a design whose abstract beauty can draw the mind away from the literal meaning of the word itself. The greatest exponents of Chinese calligraphy were Wang Hsi-chih (died 379) and his son Wang Hsien-chih in the 4th century. Few of their original works have survived, but a number of their writings were engraved on stone tablets, and rubbings were made from them. Many great calligraphers imitated their styles, but none ever surpassed them. Wang Hsi-chih not only provided the greatest example in the regular style of writing but also relaxed the tension somewhat in the arrangement of the strokes in the regular style by giving easy movement to the brush to trail from one word to another. This is called hsing shu, or running style, as if the hand were walking fast while writing. This, in turn, led to the creation of ts'ao shu, or grass style, which takes its name from its appearanceas if the wind had blown over the grass in a manner disorderly yet orderly. The English term cursive writing cannot describe the Chinese grass style, for even a cursive hand can be deciphered without very much difficulty. But Chinese words in grass style are greatly simplified forms of the regular style and can be deciphered only by those who have practiced calligraphy for years. It is not a style for general use but for the calligrapher who wishes to produce a work of abstract art. Technically speaking, there is no mystery in Chinese calligraphy. The tools for Chinese calligraphy are very fewgood ink, ink stone, a good brush, and good paper (some prefer silk). It depends on the skill and imagination of the writer to give interesting shapes to his strokes and to compose beautiful structures from them without any retouching or shading and, most important of all, with well-balanced spaces between the strokes. This balance needs years of practice and training. The fundamental inspiration of Chinese calligraphy, as of all arts in China, is nature. In regular style each stroke, even each dot, suggests the form of a natural object. As every twig of a living tree is alive, so every tiny stroke of a piece of fine calligraphy has the energy of a living thing. Printing does not admit the slightest variation in the shapes and structures, but strict regularity is not tolerated by Chinese calligraphers, especially those who are masters of the ts'ao shu. A finished piece of fine calligraphy is not a symmetrical arrangement of conventional shape but, rather, something like the coordinated movements of a skillfully composed danceimpulse, momentum, momentary poise, and the interplay of active forces combining to form a balanced whole. Chiang Yee The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica Greek handwriting Origins to the 8th century AD The oldest Greek writing, syllabic signs scratched with a stylus on sun-dried clay, is that of the Linear B tablets found in Knossos, Pylos, and Mycenae (14001200 BC). Alphabetic writing, in use before the end of the 8th century BC, is first found in a scratched inscription on a jug awarded as a prize in Athens. The consensus is that the Homeric poems were written down not later than this time; certainly from the time of the first known lyric poet of ancient Greece, Archilochus (7th century BC), individuals committed their works to writing. But the vehicles of literary writing have perished. Scratchings on pottery or metal and then texts deliberately cut in bronze or marble or painted on vases are, until c. 350 BC, the only immediate evidence for the way the Greeks wrote, and their study is normally treated as the province of epigraphy. A find in 1962 at Dervni (Dhervnion), in Macedonia, of a carbonized roll of papyrus (Archaeological Museum, Thessalonki, Greece) offers the oldest example of Greek handwriting and the only one preserved in the Greek peninsula (end of the 4th century BC). From then until the 4th century AD, there are countless texts, especially on papyrus. Found in Egypt and, with a few exceptions, written there, these texts have given a firm foundation for knowledge. From outside Egypt there is a Greek library buried in Herculaneum, AD 79; and papyri and parchments from Owraman, Kurdistan, 1st century BC; from Doura-Europus on the Euphrates, 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD; from Nessana, 6th century AD; and from the Dead Sea area (Qumran, 1st centuries BC and AD; Murabba'at and 'En Gedi, 2nd century AD). A number of original vellum manuscripts have survived from the 4th century AD onward, preserved in libraries such as at the monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai. These materials of diverse origin suggest that the forms and shape of Greek handwriting were remarkably constant throughout the Greek world, wherever writing was practiced and whatever the material used; within this consistent framework it is occasionally possible to distinguish local variations (as between the contract hands of 1st-century-AD Doura and of Egypt). The principal vehicles for writing were wax tablets incised with a stylus or a prepared surface of skin, such as leather and vellum, or of papyrus written on with a pen. Other surfacese.g., broken pieces of pottery, lead, wood, and even clothwere also used. To some extent the forms of letters were affected by the resistance of the material to the writing instrument. It is likely that the use as a pen of a hard reed, split at the tip and cut into a nib (which must be constantly sharpened), is an invention of the Greeks. Egyptian scribes used a soft reed, with which ink was brushed on. Until about AD 300, ink was normally made of a carbon such as lampblack, mixed with gum and water, which even today retains its black lustre. After that time, because of the increasing popularity of vellum, iron inks (e.g., of oak galls), better suited to vellum, tended to replace carbon. The iron inks have faded with age and often have eaten by chemical action into the vellum. Erasures could be made on wax with the blunt end of the stylus and on papyrus by wiping with a sponge; but, on vellum written in iron ink, erasures could be made only by rubbing with pumice or scraping with a knife. Texts from which a previous writing was deliberately erased to provide writing material are termed palimpsests. Papyrus was normally sold in rolls (volumina) made up of 20 or 50 glued sheets: the horizontal fibres of the papyrus are placed on the inside of the roll, on which side (the recto) each gummed sheet overlaps the next when the roll is held horizontally. Leather, similarly, was for long made into rolls (the Dead Sea Scrolls). Shortly after the beginning of the Christian Era, the custom began of folding a single sheet (or several superposed sheets, a quaternion or quire) down the middle and stitching the quires into a binding case to give a book of modern form (codex, originally a set of wax tablets coupled with a thong). Tradition associated this invention with Pergamum. Codex Sinaiticus (British Museum, Add. MS. 43725, fol. 260). The decisive impetus to the use of this form came from the early Christians, who deliberately chose the commercial vellum notebook (membranae) in which to circulate the Christian Gospels in preference to the traditional Jewish roll. Almost without exception the earliest texts of the New Testament are in codex form, even though written on papyrus, which is less able than vellum to bear repeated bending. In the 2nd century AD, pagan works of literature also appeared in this format. By the 4th century it became the predominant form, and codices with handsome margins, of dazzling white vellum, and of sufficient size to contain the whole Bible (e.g., the Codex Sinaiticus; see photograph) were being produced. The fundamental distinction in types of handwriting is that between book hands and documentary hands. The former, used especially for the copying of literature, aimed at clarity, regularity, and impersonality and often made an effect of beauty by their deliberate stylization. Usually they were the work of professionals. Outstanding calligraphy is not common among papyrus finds, perhaps because they are mainly provincial work. But the British Museum Bacchylides or the Bodleian Library Homer can stand comparison with any later vellum manuscript from outside Egypt. Book texts are written in separately made capitals (often called uncials, but in Greek paleography, except for the time-hallowed class of biblical uncials, the term is better avoided) in columns of writing, with ample spaces between columns and good margins at head and foot. Punctuation (usually by high dot) is minimal or completely absent; accents are inserted only in difficult poetic texts or as practice by schoolboys; and letters are not grouped into separate words. Greek documentary hand. An authorization for the sale of slaves, late 1st century AD (British Documentary hands show a considerable range: stylized official chancery hands, the workaday writing of government clerks or of the street scribes who drew up wills or wrote letters to order, the idiosyncratic or nearly illiterate writing of private individuals. The scribe's aim was to write quickly, lifting his pen very little and consequently often combining several letters in a continuous stroke (a ligature); from the running action of the pen, this writing is often termed cursive. He also made frequent use of abbreviations. When the scribe was skillful in reconciling clarity and speed, such writing may have much character, even beauty; but it often degenerates into a formless, sometimes indecipherable, scrawl. Both types of hands, in spite of the different styles they assume at different periods, show remarkable uniformity and continuity in the shapes of letters. Behind both lies an unvarying basic alphabetic form taught in the schools. The more skillful a book-hand scribe was, the harder it is to date his work. Documents in the ancient world carried a precise date; books never did. To assign dates to the latter, the paleographer takes account of their content, the archaeological context of their discovery, and technical points of book construction (e.g., quires, rulings) or modes of abbreviation. But he finds of great service: (1) a stylistic comparison with those dated documentary hands that show resemblances to book hands, and (2) those cases where a roll was reusedi.e., has a literary text on its recto and a dated document on its verso (in which case there is a terminus ante quem for the literary text, often estimated at 50 years before the date of the verso) or has a dated document on the recto and a book hand on the verso (which gives a terminus post quem for the literary text, not more than 25 years after the document). The number of illustrated manuscripts of this period is small; their quality is varied; and there is no agreement among specialists about the sources from which illustrations were taken. Any historical sketch is bound to be a simplification. At certain epochs several different styles of handwriting existed simultaneously, so that there is no straight line of development. Moreover, owing to the arbitrariness of finds, generalizations are based mainly on provincial work; and, even in that, examples of book hand belonging to the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD are still relatively rare. Ptolemaic period In the roll from Dervni, Macedonia, dated on archaeological grounds to the 4th century BC, lines and letters are well spaced and the letters carefully made in an epigraphic, or inscription, style, especially the square E, four-barred S, and arched W; the whole layout gives the effect of an inscription. In the Timotheus roll in Berlin (dated 350330 BC) or in the curse of Artemisia in Vienna (4th century BC), the writing is cruder, and w is in transition to what is afterward its invariable written form. Similar features can be seen in the earliest precisely dated document, a marriage contract of 311 BC. It has been argued that a documentary hand of cursive type had not yet been developed and that it was a creation of the Alexandrian library. Plato, however (Laws 810), speaks of Athenian writing whose aim was speed; later on, when a cursive hand had certainly been developed, documentary scribes often used separate capitals. Thucydides manuscript, 3rd century BC (Hamburg, Staats- und Universittsbibliothek, P. Legal text of a loan contract, 99 BC (The John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Rylands Characteristic of its period is the contrast of size between the long letters (e.g., ) and narrow letters . And characteristic forms are to be seen in the letters (with its long crossbar, often with initial stroke); (upsilon) with long shallow bowl; or in three or four strokes; in three strokes; (alpha) raised off the line and its last vertical not finished; small round (with internal dot or tiny stroke); and broad epigraphic and . These same features, written with more regularity, appear in the contemporary book hand of a fragment of a Thucydides manuscript (Staats- und Universittsbibliothek, Hamburg; see photograph). In documentary cursive hands of this period, letters seem to hang from an upper line: (alpha) often turns into a mere wedge, and (nu) lifts its second vertical above the line. In the 2nd century BC the contrast between long letters and narrow letters disappears, the writing grows rounder, and letters are often linked by ligatures at the top of their last vertical (e.g., ). In a loan contract of 99 BC (The John Rylands University Library of Manchester; see photograph), in which capitals and cursive are mixed, this irregular roundness is clearly seen. Note the e with detached cross bar and the exaggerated serifs which have been elevated by some paleographers into a criterion of a special style, though in fact they are always apt to occur. Latin-alphabet handwriting Ancient Roman styles Rustic capitals. The Latin and vernacular handwriting of western Europe descends in an unbroken line to the present day from the point at which it is first observed, in the 1st century AD. The script used throughout the Roman Empire at that time for books and occasionally for formal documents is known as rustic capitals. The pen was cut with a broad end and held so that its thickest strokes fell at an oblique angle to the line of writing, and it was lifted several times in the formation of a single letter. The rustic capital alphabet is majuscule, in that all the letters are contained between a single pair of horizontal lines. The use of this elaborate script, whose letter forms were the natural outcome of using a broad pen held obliquely, was extended to certain sorts of inscription on stone and other materials, and it is called rustic only by comparison with the magnificent square capitals characteristic of Roman imperial inscriptions, whose forms were governed by the use of the chisel. Square capitals were seldom used in manuscripts except for titles. Rustic capitals continued in use for literary manuscripts until the 6th century, especially for texts of Virgil, but thereafter they appeared only in titles, down to the 12th century. Cursive capitals The business hand of the 1st century, used for correspondence and for most documents, private and official alike, is known as cursive capitals. Here the pen, cut to a sharp point, was held at the same oblique angle but was lifted less often, and this cursive handling automatically produced new and simpler letter forms such as (two strokes) for D (three strokes) and (two strokes) for E (four strokes). Some of these new letter forms are minuscule, in that parts of them ascend or descend beyond the body of the letter (h, q) instead of being confined between a pair of lines, as in the majuscule rustic capitals (H, Q). From the 2nd to the early 4th century, parchment was replacing papyrus as the standard writing material for books, and the codex was replacing the roll as their standard form. The evidence that survives from this period, during which biblical and other Christian literature was beginning to be copied extensively, is fragmentary, and its interpretation is still controversial. The main line of development, however, is clear enough. The elaborate letter forms of rustic capitals, with their numerous pen lifts, began to be abandoned, and experiments were made with new book hands in which the simplified letter forms of cursive capitals were written with a broad pen, sometimes held obliquely in the traditional way and sometimes held straight, so that its thickest strokes fell at right angles to the line of writing. It was probably the use of a straight pen that produced, for example, the conversion of cur sive capital (axis oblique) into the fully minuscule d (axis vertical).
Britannica English vocabulary. Английский словарь Британика. 2012