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EGYPT • God Thoth


Hieroglyphics • 5,000 years old • First inscribed mediums: basalt, granit, sandstone, wood, plaster • Very complicated


Rosetta Stone • Discovered in 1799 • 3 Languages: Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic, Greek • 40 years to decode • Inconsistent spelling


King Menes Tomb • Old, established pictures • Love of the past


Egypt • Thing-pictures • Idea-pictures • Sound-pictures


Demotic • Easier to write • Beautiful, legible, pen forms • Used in trade and commerce • Not a true alphabet


Papyrus • Used for books, letters, documents, etc. • Cheap and plentiful • Raised in Nile Delta (Ethiopia) • Uneasy process • Writing material of the ancient world • Oldest known piece (3,000 B.C.): The Book of the Dead


Chinese Contribution • Ts’ang Chien • Influenced by patterns in nature: stars, turtle, bird footprints


Chinese Contribution • Brush • Form in one character groups of letters, each group represented a sentence • The way in which something was written could be as important as it’s content


Chia-ku Wen • Writing on turtle shells and animal bone • Oracle bone inscriptions • Earliest Chinese writing known • Scribes of the Shang (Yin) Dynasty • Laid in ground for 3,000 years


The Phoenician Alphabet • Real names are Canaanites • Leading merchants • Merchants of Byblos (Phoenicia’s religious capital) went to Egypt for papyrus, therefore learning to use Egyptian characters for writing • 1200 B.C.: Started to form their alphabet


Cuneiform characters • Developed at Ugarit • Borrowed from Ugaritic alphabet


Phoenician Alphabet • Eastern Influence • Did not improve letters • Dropped picture-signs of the hieroglyphics • Retained sound-symbol


Moabite Stone • Finest and oldest specimen of Phoenician writing • Tyre alphabet • Discover in 1868 near the Dead Sea (now in the Lourve) • Resembled Greek letter


Parachment • Usually calf, goat, or sheep skin • Cooked in lime • Stretched on a frame • Scraped and smoothed to desired thickness • Sprinkled with chalk • Rubbed smooth with a pumice stone and dried


Capitalis Quadrata • Not easy to write • Easier to carve into stone because of special manipulation of the quill required • Very luxurious in late antique books


Phoenician Alphabet • Canaanite language • Closely related to Hebrew • Phoenician language, culture, and writing was strongly influenced by Egypt • Before 1000 BC Phoenician was written using cuneiform symbols that were common across Mesopotamia • 1100 BCE to 300 CE • Read right to left


Carolingian minuscule • Used by the Holy Roman Empire between 800 and 1200 • developed to be a calligraphic standard • Very clean and legible font • rounded, uniform shapes • uses punctuation, such as question marks and period


majuscule •is a form of uppercase letters • contains all letters between a single pair of horizontal lines • earliest example comes from stone monuments in rome


Roman Letter Forms • The origins of the capital letters are the classic letters of the ancient Greek and Roman stone inscriptions. • They introduced changes in weights of serifs and a formation of smaller letters (lower case), which aided in readability. • The characteristics of the Roman Letters are that they are composed of thick and thin strokes, straight as well as curved. • The seven primary strokes are used in various combinations to form all letters of the alphabet, both capital and lower case.


Roman Rustic Writing • Rustic Forms – Drawn with a dip pen or brush and faster to write than the formal square capitals. Used compressed majuscules with bold terminations giving a dark and even texture. Used from around the late third to mid-fourth century. • Roman uncials – Drawn using a broad nib, the uncial letterform is wide in relation to heigh, and used large round counters. Ascenders and descenders are short, and there is little inter word spacing. Used from the fourth to fifth century.


Gothic • Over time, pen writing became increasingly condensed and the characters from about 900 AD to 1200 AD became known as Gothic. • At the time, gothic was known as black letter, and in modern usage it is known as a sans serif. • Capital letters were more round than the small letters. • Gothic lettering was illegible due to the abrupt change from thick to thin elements in the letters.


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