History of writing
The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by letters or other marks and the studies and descriptions of these developments. In the history of how writing systems have evolved in different human civilizations, more complete writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, systems of ideographic or early mnemonic symbols. True writing, in which the content of a linguistic utterance is encoded so that another reader can reconstruct, with a fair degree of accuracy, the exact utterance written down, is a development, it is distinguished from proto-writing, which avoids encoding grammatical words and affixes, making it more difficult or impossible to reconstruct the exact meaning intended by the writer unless a great deal of context is known in advance. One of the earliest forms of written expression is cuneiform, it is agreed that true writing of language was independently conceived and developed in at least two ancient civilizations and more. The two places where it is most certain that the concept of writing was both conceived and developed independently are in ancient Sumer, between 3400 and 3300 BC, much in Mesoamerica because no precursors have been found to either of these in their respective regions.
Several Mesoamerican scripts are known, the oldest being from the Zapotec of Mexico. Writing systems arose in Egypt around 3100 BC and in China around 1200 BC in Shang dynasty, but historians debate whether these writing systems were developed independently of Sumerian writing or whether either or both were inspired by Sumerian writing via a process of cultural diffusion; that is, it is possible that the concept of representing language by using writing, though not the specifics of how such a system worked, was passed on by traders or merchants traveling between the two regions. Ancient Chinese characters are considered by many to be an independent invention because there is no evidence of contact between ancient China and the literate civilizations of the Near East, because of the distinct differences between the Mesopotamian and Chinese approaches to logography and phonetic representation. Egyptian script is dissimilar from Mesopotamian cuneiform, but similarities in concepts and in earliest attestation suggest that the idea of writing may have come to Egypt from Mesopotamia.
In 1999, Archaeology Magazine reported that the earliest Egyptian glyphs date back to 3400 BC, which "challenge the held belief that early logographs, pictographic symbols representing a specific place, object, or quantity, first evolved into more complex phonetic symbols in Mesopotamia."Similar debate surrounds the Indus script of the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilization, the Rongorongo script of Easter Island, the Vinča symbols dated around 5,500 BCE. All are undeciphered, so it is unknown if they represent true writing, proto-writing, or something else. Symbolic communication systems are distinguished from writing systems in that one must understand something of the associated spoken language to comprehend the text. In contrast, symbolic systems, such as information signs, painting and mathematics do not require prior knowledge of a spoken language; every human community possesses language, a feature regarded by many as an innate and defining condition of humanity. However the development of writing systems, their partial supplantation of traditional oral systems of communication, have been sporadic and slow.
Once established, writing systems on the whole change more than their spoken counterparts and preserve features and expressions that no longer exist in the spoken language. The greatest benefit of writing is that it provides the tool by which society can record information and in greater detail, something that could not be achieved as well by spoken word. Writing allows societies to share knowledge. An ancient Mesopotamian poem gives the first known story of the invention of writing: Because the messager's mouth was heavy and he couldn't repeat, the Lord of Kulaba pattes some clay and put words on it, like a tablet; until there had been no putting words on clay. Scholars make a reasonable distinction between prehistory and history of early writing but have disagreed concerning when prehistory becomes history and when proto-writing became "true writing." The definition is subjective. Writing, in its most general terms, is a method of recording information and is composed of graphemes, which may in turn be composed of glyphs.
The emergence of writing in a given area is followed by several centuries of fragmentary inscriptions. Historians mark the "historicity" of a culture by the presence of coherent texts in the culture's writing system; the invention of writing was not a one-time event but was a gradual process initiated by the appearance of symbols first for cultic purposes. A conventional "proto-writing to true writing" system follows a general series of developmental stages: Picture writing system: glyphs directly represent objects and concepts. In connection with this, the following substages may be distinguished: Mnemonic: glyphs as a reminder. Pictographic: glyphs directly represent an object or a concept such as chronological, communications, totems and names, customs and biographical. Ideographic: graphemes are abstract symbols that directly represent an idea or concept. Transitional system: graphemes refer not only to the obje
Blackletter known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from 1150 to well into the 17th century. It continued to be used for the Danish language until 1875, for German and Latvian until the 20th century. Fraktur is a notable script of this type, sometimes the entire group of blackletter faces is incorrectly referred to as Fraktur. Blackletter is sometimes referred to as Old English, but it is not to be confused with the Old English language, which predates blackletter by many centuries and was written in the insular script or in Futhorc. Carolingian minuscule was the direct ancestor of blackletter. Blackletter developed from Carolingian as an literate 12th-century Europe required new books in many different subjects. New universities were founded, each producing books for business, grammar and other pursuits, not religious works for which earlier scripts had been used; these books needed to be produced to keep up with demand. Carolingian, though legible, was labour-intensive to produce.
Its large size consumed a lot of manuscript space in a time when writing materials were costly. As early as the 11th century, different forms of Carolingian were being used, by the mid-12th century, a distinguishable form, able to be written more to meet the demand for new books, was being used in northeastern France and the Low Countries; the term Gothic was first used to describe this script in 15th-century Italy, in the midst of the Renaissance, because Renaissance humanists believed this style was barbaric. Gothic was a synonym for barbaric. Flavio Biondo, in Italia Illustrata, wrote that the Germanic Lombards invented this script after they invaded of Italy in the 6th century. Not only were blackletter forms called Gothic script, but any other barbarian script, such as Visigothic and Merovingian, were labeled Gothic; this in contrast to Carolingian minuscule, a legible script which the humanists called littera antiqua, wrongly believing that it was the script used by the ancient Romans.
It was in fact invented in the reign of Charlemagne, although only used after that era, formed the basis for the development of blackletter. Blackletter script should not be confused with either the ancient alphabet of the Gothic language nor with the sans-serif typefaces that are sometimes called Gothic. Textualis known as textura or Gothic bookhand, was the most calligraphic form of blackletter, today is the form most associated with "Gothic". Johannes Gutenberg carved a textualis typeface – including a large number of ligatures and common abbreviations – when he printed his 42-line Bible. However, the textualis was used for typefaces afterwards. According to Dutch scholar Gerard Lieftinck, the pinnacle of blackletter use occurred in the 14th and 15th centuries. For Lieftinck, the highest form of textualis was littera textualis formata, used for de luxe manuscripts; the usual form littera textualis, was used for literary works and university texts. Lieftinck's third form, littera textualis currens, was the cursive form of blackletter difficult to read and used for textual glosses, less important books.
Textualis was most used in France, the Low Countries and Germany. Some characteristics of the script are: tall, narrow letters, as compared to their Carolingian counterparts. Letters formed by sharp, angular lines, unlike the round Carolingian. Ascenders are vertical and end in sharp finials when a letter with a bow is followed by another letter with a bow, the bows overlap and the letters are joined by a straight line. A related characteristic is the shape of r when attached to other letters with bows. In other scripts, this only occurred in a ligature with the letter o. Related is the form of the letter d when followed by a letter with a bow. Otherwise the ascender is vertical; the letters g, j, p, q, y, the hook of h have descenders, but no other letters are written below the line. The letter a has a straight back stroke, the top loop became closed, somewhat resembling the number 8; the letter s has a diagonal line connecting its two bows somewhat resembling an 8, but the long s is used in the middle of words.
Minims in the period of the script, do not connect with each other. This makes it difficult to distinguish i, u, m, n. A 14th-century example of the difficulty minims produced is, mimi numinum niuium minimi munium nimium uini muniminum imminui uiui minimum uolunt. In blackletter this would look like a series of single strokes. Dotted i and the letter j developed because of this. Minims may have finials of their own; the script has many more scribal abbreviations than Carolingian, adding to the speed in which it could be written. Schwabacher was a blackletter form, much used in early German print typefaces, it continued to be used until the 20th century. Characteristics of Schwabacher are: The small letter o is rounded on both sides, though at the to
Secretary hand is a style of European handwriting developed in the early sixteenth century that remained common in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for writing English, German and Gaelic. Predominating before the dominance of Italic script, it arose out of the need for a hand more legible and universally recognizable than the book hand of the High Middle Ages, in order to cope with the increase in long-distance business and personal correspondence, in cities and courts; the hand thus used by secretaries was developed from cursive business hands and was in common use throughout the British Isles through the seventeenth century. In spite of its loops and flourishes it was used by scriveners and others whose daily employment comprised hours of writing. By 1618 the writing-master Martin Billingsley distinguished three forms of secretary hand, as well as "mixed" hands that employed some Roman letterforms, the specialised hands, the "court hand" used only in the courts of the King's Bench and Common Pleas and the archaic hands used for engrossing pipe rolls and other documents.
At the time of Henry VII, many writers began to use the "Italian" style instead, a cursive script developed from the humanist minuscule or "Roman" hand, easier to read but easier to forge. English ladies were taught an "Italian hand", suitable for the occasional writing that they were expected to do. Grace Ioppolo notes that the convention in writing the texts of dramas was to write act and scene settings, characters' names and stage directions in italic, the dialogue in secretary hand; the modern use of italic font stems from these distinctions. Aside from palaeographers themselves, social historians and scholars of Early Modern literature have become accustomed to reading secretary hand. William Henry Ireland used the secretary hand to forge many Shakespeare documents. Two brief pamphlets provide introductory orientation: Lionel M. Munby, Secretary Hand: a beginner's introduction, 1984, Alf Ison, A Secretary Hand ABC Book, 1990. Chancery hand English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course from Cambridge University Reading Old Handwriting
In writing and typography, a ligature occurs where two or more graphemes or letters are joined as a single glyph. An example is the character æ as used in English; the common ampersand developed from a ligature in which the handwritten Latin letters e and t were combined. The origin of typographical ligatures comes from the invention of writing with a stylus on fibrous material or clay. Businessmen who needed a way to speed up the process of written communication found that conjoining letters and abbreviating words for lay use was more convenient for record keeping and transaction than the bulky long forms; the earliest known script, Sumerian cuneiform, includes many cases of character combinations that, over time evolve from ligatures into separately recognizable characters. Ligatures figure prominently in many historical manuscripts, notably the Brahmic abugidas, or the bind rune of the Migration Period Germanic runic inscriptions. Medieval scribes who wrote in Latin increased their writing speed by combining characters and by introducing notational abbreviations.
Others conjoined letters for aesthetic purposes. For example, in blackletter, letters with right-facing bowls and those with left-facing bowls were written with the facing edges of the bowls superimposed. In many script forms, characters such as h, m, n had their vertical strokes superimposed. Scribes used notational abbreviations to avoid having to write a whole character in one stroke. Manuscripts in the fourteenth century employed hundreds of such abbreviations. Modifications to script bodies like these originate from legal and monastic sources, with the emphasis shifting from business to monastic sources by around the 9th and 10th centuries. In hand writing, a ligature is made by joining two or more characters in atypical fashion by merging their parts, or by writing one above or inside the other. In printing, a ligature is a group of characters, typeset as a unit, so the characters do not have to be joined. For example, in some cases the fi ligature prints the letters f and i with a greater separation than when they are typeset as separate letters.
When printing with movable type was invented around 1450, typefaces included many ligatures and additional letters, as they were based on handwriting. Ligatures made printing with movable type easier because one block would replace frequent combinations of letters and allowed more complex and interesting character designs which would otherwise collide with one another. Ligatures began to fall out of use due to their complexity in the 20th century. Sans serif typefaces used for body text avoid ligatures, though notable exceptions include Gill Sans and Futura. Inexpensive phototypesetting machines in the 1970s generally avoid them. A few, became characters in their own right, see below the sections about German ß, various Latin accented letters, & et al.. The trend against digraph use was further strengthened by the desktop publishing revolution starting around 1977 with the production of the Apple II. Early computer software in particular had no way to allow for ligature substitution, while most new digital typefaces did not include ligatures.
As most of the early PC development was designed for the English language dependence on ligatures did not carry over to digital. Ligature use fell as the number of traditional hand compositors and hot metal typesetting machine operators dropped due to the mass production of the IBM Selectric brand of electric typewriter in 1961. A designer active in the period commented: "some of the world's greatest typefaces were becoming some of the world's worst fonts."Ligatures have grown in popularity over the last 20 years due to an increasing interest in creating typesetting systems that evoke arcane designs and classical scripts. One of the first computer typesetting programs to take advantage of computer-driven typesetting was Donald Knuth's TeX program. Now the standard method of mathematical typesetting, its default fonts are explicitly based on nineteenth-century styles. Many new fonts feature extensive ligature sets. Mrs Eaves by Zuzana Licko contains a large set to allow designers to create dramatic display text with a feel of antiquity.
A parallel use of ligatures is seen in the creation of script fonts that join letterforms to simulate handwriting effectively. This trend is caused in part by the increased support for other languages and alphabets in modern computing, many of which use ligatures somewhat extensively; this has caused the development of new digital typesetting techniques such as OpenType, the incorporation of ligature support into the text display systems of macOS, applications like Microsoft Office. An increasing modern trend is to use a "Th" ligature which reduces spacing between these letters to make it easier to read, a trait infrequent in metal type. Today, modern font programming divides ligatures into three groups, which can be activated separately: standard and historical. Standard ligatures are needed to allow the font to display without errors such as character collision. Designers sometimes find contextual and historic ligatures desirable for creating effects or to evoke an old-fashioned print look.
Many ligatures combine f with the following letter. A prominent example is ﬁ; the tittle of t
Insular script was a medieval script system invented in Ireland that spread to Anglo-Saxon England and continental Europe under the influence of Irish Christianity. Irish missionaries took the script to continental Europe, where they founded monasteries such as Bobbio; the scripts were used in monasteries like Fulda, which were influenced by English missionaries. It is associated with Insular art, it influenced Irish orthography and modern Gaelic scripts in handwriting and typefaces. Insular script comprised a family of different scripts used for different functions. At the top of the hierarchy was the Insular half-uncial, used for important documents and sacred text; the full uncial, in a version called "English uncial", was used in some English centres. "in descending order of formality and increased speed of writing" came "set minuscule", "cursive minuscule" and "current minuscule". These were used for non-scriptural texts, accounting records and all the other types of written documents; the scripts developed in Ireland in the 7th century and were used as late as the 19th century, though its most flourishing period fell between 600 and 850.
They were related to the uncial and half-uncial scripts, their immediate influences. Works written in Insular scripts use large initial letters surrounded by red ink dots. Letters following a large initial at the start of a paragraph or section gradually diminish in size as they are written across a line or a page, until the normal size is reached, called a "diminuendo" effect, is a distinctive insular innovation, which influenced Continental illumination style. Letters with ascenders are written with triangular or wedge-shaped tops; the bows of letters such as b, d, p, q are wide. The script uses many ligatures and has many unique scribal abbreviations, along with many borrowings from Tironian notes. Insular script was spread to England by the Hiberno-Scottish mission; the influences of both scripts produced the Insular script system. Within this system, the palaeographer Julian Brown identified five grades, with decreasing formality: Insular half-uncial, or "Irish majuscule": the most formal.
Insular hybrid minuscule: the most formal of the minuscules, came to be used for formal church books when use of the "Irish majuscule" diminished. Insular set minuscule Insular cursive minuscule Insular current minuscule: the least formal. Brown has postulated two phases of development for this script, Phase II being influenced by Roman Uncial examples, developed at Wearmouth-Jarrow and typified by the Lindisfarne Gospels. Insular script was used not only for Latin religious books, but for every other kind of book, including vernacular works. Examples include the Book of Kells, the Cathach of St. Columba, the Ambrosiana Orosius, the Durham Gospel Fragment, the Book of Durrow the Durham Gospels, the Echternach Gospels, the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Lichfield Gospels, the St. Gall Gospel Book, the Book of Armagh. Insular script was influential in the development of Carolingian minuscule in the scriptoria of the Carolingian empire. In Ireland, Insular script was superseded in c. 850 by Late Insular script.
The Tironian et ⟨⁊⟩ — equivalent of ampersand — was in widespread use in the script and is continued in modern Gaelic typefaces derived from insular script. There are only a few insular letters encoded, these are shown below, but most fonts will only display U+1D79. To display the other characters there are several fonts. According to Michael Everson, in the 2006 Unicode proposal for these characters: To write text in an ordinary Gaelic font, only ASCII letters should be used, the font making all the relevant substitutions. Carolingian minuscule Gaelic type Hiberno-Saxon art Insular G Latin delta Tironian et Irish orthography List of Hiberno-Saxon illustrated manuscripts'Manual of Latin Palaeography'. Pfeffer Mediæval An insular minuscule as a Unicode font
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Lombardic capitals is the name given to a type of decorative upper-case letters used in inscriptions and at the start of a section of text in medieval manuscripts. Paul Shaw describes it as a'relative' of uncial writing; the term Lombardic comes from the study of incunabula. A characteristic form of text decoration in manuscripts and early printed books with hand colouring was to use alternating red and blue Lombardic capitals for the start of each successive paragraph. Unlike historiated or inhabited initials, Lombardic capitals are devoid of further decoration. In modern times, fonts of Lombardic capitals have been designed by many typographers, such as Frederic Goudy, who included a set as an alternative uppercase for his Goudy Text font. First, Lombardic, or the national hand of Italy, a development of the uncial and was first used in northern Italy; the Lombardic character is a most useful and interesting form and presents less of the fixed quality of the Roman. There are wide variations of it as developed by the scribes in different countries.
It was the favorite form selected for initials and versals in manuscripts, which were painted in, in colors and gold, the solidity of the bodystrokes making it adaptable for this purpose. At its best this Lombardic letter preserves much of the feeling of the uncials of the sixth and seventh centuries. Lombardic Lettering at Chartres