Calligraphica Roman

Calligraphy is the design and execution of lettering with a pen, ink brush, or other writing instrument. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner. Modern calligraphy ranges from functional inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the letters may or may not be readable. Classical calligraphy differs from type design and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may practice both. Calligraphy continues to flourish in the forms of wedding invitations and event invitations, font design and typography, original hand-lettered logo design, religious art, announcements, graphic design and commissioned calligraphic art, cut stone inscriptions, and memorial documents. It is also used for props and moving images for film and television, and also for testimonials, birth and death certificates, maps, and other written works. The principal tools for a calligrapher are the pen and the brush. Calligraphy pens write with nibs that may be flat, round, or pointed. For some decorative purposes, multi-nibbed pens can be used. However, works have also been created with felt-tip and ballpoint pens, although these works do not employ angled lines. There are some styles of calligraphy, such as Gothic script, that require a stub nib pen. Writing ink is usually water-based and is much less viscous than the oil-based inks used in printing. Certain specialty paper with high ink absorption and constant texture enables cleaner lines, although parchment or vellum is often used, as a knife can be used to erase imperfections and a light-box is not needed to allow lines to pass through it. Normally, light boxes and templates are used to achieve straight lines without pencil markings detracting from the work. Ruled paper, either for a light box or direct use, is most often ruled every quarter or half inch, although inch spaces are occasionally used. This is the case with litterea unciales, and college-ruled paper often acts as a guideline well. Western calligraphy is recognizable by the use of the Latin script. The Latin alphabet appeared about 600 BC, in Rome, and by the first century developed into Roman imperial capitals carved on stones, Rustic capitals painted on walls, and Roman cursive for daily use. In the second and third centuries the uncial lettering style developed. As writing withdrew to monasteries, uncial script was found more suitable for copying the Bible and other religious texts. It was the monasteries which preserved calligraphic traditions during the fourth and fifth centuries, when the Roman Empire fell and Europe entered the Dark Ages. At the height of the Empire, its power reached as far as Great Britain; when the empire fell, its literary influence remained. The Semi-uncial generated the Irish Semi-uncial, the small Anglo-Saxon. Each region developed its own standards following the main monastery of the region, which are mostly cursive and hardly readable. Christian churches promoted the development of writing through the prolific copying of the Bible, the Breviary, and other sacred texts. Two distinct styles of writing known as uncial and half-uncial developed from a variety of Roman bookhands. The 7th–9th centuries in northern Europe were the heyday of Celtic illuminated manuscripts, such as the Book of Durrow, Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells. Charlemagne’s devotion to improved scholarship resulted in the recruiting of a crowd of scribes, according to Alcuin, the Abbot of York. Alcuin developed the style known as the Caroline or Carolingian minuscule. The first manuscript in this hand was the Godescalc Evangelistary, a Gospel book written by the scribe Godescalc. Carolingian remains the one progenitor hand from which modern booktype descends.

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