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(134 words)

Author(s): Menci, Giovanna (Florence)
[German version] A graphic symbol, already attested in the earliest Greek papyri ( Papyrus) written in cursive (3rd cent. BC). It connects the last stroke of a letter with the first one of the following letter, sometimes combining the two, even changing the shape of the letters. Its usage is exc…

Epigraphical style

(257 words)

Author(s): Menci, Giovanna (Florence)
[German version] Inscription style refers to the script of the oldest Greek literary  papyri and papyrus documents ( c. 4th-3rd cents. BC); it is a  majuscule which imitates the style of contemporaneous inscriptions. Records are, for instance, the papyrus of the Per…

Ornamental style

(343 words)

Author(s): Menci, Giovanna (Florence)
[German version] According to [1], Greek book-hands in which the lower and/or upper ends of letters are decorated (sometimes additionally) with horizontal or vertical strokes (English finials or serifs; French patins, empattements, apices; Italian apici ornamentali). These 'ornamental strokes' (= OS) can be traced back to influences from epigraphy, Lat. script or even the connecting strokes in Greek cursive writing; however, the typically Hellenistic tendency towards ornamentation may be an underlying factor. OS can be found in n…


(1,305 words)

Author(s): Giovè Marchioli, Nicoletta (Triest) | Menci, Giovanna (Florence)
[German version] I. Definition Tachygraphy is the conventional term for the ancient technique of speed writing, which replaced letters, syllables, words or short sentences by symbols, and was practiced by sēmeiográphoi and tachygráphoi (Lat. notarii and exceptores) [1.30-31]. The existence of mutual Greco-Roman influences may be assumed, although the priority of either contemporaneous system is difficult to ascertain. The chronological priority of the Greek system might be attested by a letter of Cicero from 45 BC (Cic. Att. 13,32), in which he uses the Greek expression dià sēmeíōn, 'by means of (stenographic) symbols'. Cicero himself clearly introduced the practice of taking minutes by tachygraphy in the trial against Catilina (Plut. Cato minor 23). According to a later testimony (Isid. Orig. 1,22), Cicero's freedman and secretary Tiro (98 BC. - AD 2) had invented a system of symbols for lecture notes. …


(1,247 words)

Author(s): Menci, Giovanna (Florence) | Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice)
[German version] I. Definition Since the 18th cent., the term 'uncials' has been used to describe a Latin script which was current from the 4th to 9th cents. AD. It is derived from a misunderstanding of a passage in Jerome (Praef. ad Iob, PL 28, 1142), which mentions uncialibus ... litteris (lit. 'letters of one uncia


(836 words)

Author(s): Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice) | Menci, Giovanna (Florence)
In contrast to minuscules, majuscules are the scripts in which the letters of the alphabet are written between two often only imaginary horizontal lines. [German version] A. Greek script In Greek palaeography, majuscules are also called capitals and uncials, although the latter term is very controversial. Theoretically all Greek scripts before the emergence of the minuscules ought to be called majuscules (not only the actual and the stylized book hands, but also the half cursives, cursives and document hand [1. 132-133, 137], because there are no pertinent signs before that point in time of breaking out of the two-line grid. This only happened in the 4th cent. AD under the influence of the Latin minuscule with its four-line pattern.…


(2,775 words)

Author(s): Giovè Marchioli, Nicoletta (Triest) | Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice) | Menci, Giovanna (Florence)
[German version] A. General An abbreviation (Latin notae, sigla, siglae) consists of a semantic element -- the alphabetic lettering of the abbreviated word -- and a symbolic element, signs referring to the summarizing character of what is written. The use of abbreviations is justified for a number of practical reasons: first, because they make reading quikker and more accurate, and secondly, because they save time and space. In classical antiquity and, in a wider sense, right up to …

Writing styles

(2,658 words)

Author(s): Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice) | Menci, Giovanna (Florence) | De Robertis, Teresa (Florence)
[German version] I. Definition The concept of writing styles (WS) is used in Greek palaeography to classify certain frequently used and constantly recurring script types. The concept of style…