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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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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.


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
References in periodicals archive ?
By contrast, the opening capital of William of Malmesbury's Gesta is only three lines in height, and does not look any different from the second order uncial capitals that mark the beginnings of smaller textual divisions, generally alternating red and blue with contrasting filigree.
The curve of the uncial letter is the correlative, surely, of the round arch; it cannot be a coincidence that in southern Europe, where the pointed arch did not wholly replace the round, the uncial remained as the staple of all manuscripts.
2 the word mobilis actually occurs, and it is in fact written as MOUILIS in an early MS, the uncial A (s.
The Old English sentence is difficult to construe by punctuation, and it is not clarified by the uncial S (used in the same way as a modern capital) in Swa.
Sin embargo en esta epoca si se copiaron novelas antiguas, pero no de ejemplares en escritura uncial, sino de ejemplares en minuscula, producidos seguramente a principios del siglo VIII.
The letter, in its graphic materiality, then becomes an irreducible ideality," wrote Barthes in an essay subtitled "A lettre" and went on to rhapsodize on the uncial manuscripts copied by Christian monks of the early Middle Ages, even going so far as to call that phase of premodernity "a new age, so completely has it been forgotten" (Oeuvres completes, vol.
1), round and uncial e used indistinctly ("wedded," l.
At ESC, we feel that our typefaces reflect the scope of historical scholarship in English, ranging from the medieval uncial and Renaissance humanist shapes of Catull and Galahad to Warnock Pro's 18th-century transitional letterforms and its postmodern chiseled serifs.
It might involve re-binding and repairing books, re-copying texts when their material support is too damaged, transcribing them from one support to another (from scroll to codex) or from one form of writing to another (from majuscule to uncial script) or translating them from one language to another.
De ella se deriva luego la letra media uncial (Fig.
Here the written word takes on a life of its own in the jumble of incipits, explicits, and colophons; of pages recto and verso; of manuscript in hands uncial and Beneventan and Merovingian compressed; in palimpsests and lacunae; in sewn signatures from folio to octavo to sexagesimo-quarto; in chain lines and watermarks, in papyri and CD-ROMs; in the Pandectarum and the Index Librorum Prohibitorum; in subject, author, and title cards; and in the digitally encoded subfields of the on-line catalog.
Both the condition of the parchment and the Greek uncial characters used, showed that the manuscript was written in the 9th century.