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see paleographypaleography
[Gr.,=early writing], term generally meaning all study and interpretation of old ways of recording language. In a narrower sense, it excludes epigraphy (the study of inscriptions) and includes only the writing that is done on such materials as wax, papyrus,
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; calligraphycalligraphy
[Gr.,=beautiful writing], skilled penmanship practiced as a fine art. See also inscription; paleography. European Calligraphy

In Europe two sorts of handwriting came into being very early.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Latin and Greek script used between the fourth and ninth centuries A.D.; a variant of the common book hand. Uncial has large uniform rounded letters almost completely lacking in serifs. There are no ligatures, and word boundaries are not indicated. Typical letters are a, d, e, h, and m. Uncial was used mainly in religious manuscripts, but also in Greek and Latin texts. In the eighth century it was abandoned as a book hand, but for a time was retained in headings.


Dobiash-Rozhdestvenskaia, O. A. Istoriia pis’ma v srednie veka, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Diringer, D. Alfavit. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from English).
Liublinskaia, A. D. Latinskaia paleografiia. Moscow, 1969.
Friedrich, J. Geschichte der Schrift. Heidelberg, 1966.
Jensen, H. Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. of, relating to, or written in majuscule letters, as used in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the third to ninth centuries, that resemble modern capitals, but are characterized by much greater curvature and inclination and general inequality of height
2. pertaining to an inch or an ounce
3. pertaining to the duodecimal system
4. an uncial letter or manuscript
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
(i) 139 r only (6 papyri; 7 uncials; 126 cursives, excluding 2041 see (a) above)
When we turn to the category of uncials on parchment, Revelation is poorly represented in our surviving manuscripts.
(If there is controversy and two dates are given in [Liste.sup.2] I have taken the earlier date): tenth century 3 uncials; 11 cursives eleventh century 36(6) twelfth century 27 thirteenth century 31 fourteenth century 60 fifteenth century 56 sixteenth century 41 seventeenth century 14 eighteenth century 5 nineteenth century 2
Schmid enumerates eighty-three witnesses (including uncials 025 051 052) which he calls Andreas manuscripts.
The most popular modern critical edition, Nestle-[Aland.sup.27], uses all six papyri, all uncials except 052 (which is listed in its appendix, but does not appear in its apparatus), and the following cursives:1006 1611 1841 1854 2030 2050 2053 2062 2329 2344 2351 2377.
Hoskier knew of the following manuscripts: Papyri:[P.sup.18] [P.sup.24] Uncials:01 02 04 025 046 051 052 0163 0169 Cursives:asterisked in the list above.(14)
78 says there are seven uncials with Revelation of which three are fragmentary.
Its text is based on readings from those manuscripts (some seventy-three cursives and uncial 046).
The main text of Swete's edition was a straight reproduction of B (or, sometimes, another main uncial), corrected only for obvious orthographical errors and the like.