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Blackletter (sometimes black letter), also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
from approximately 1150 until the 17th century. It continued to be commonly used for the Danish language until 1875, and for German, Estonian and Latvian until the 1940s.
Fraktur Fraktur () is a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet and any of several blackletter typefaces derived from this hand. The blackletter lines are broken up; that is, their forms contain many angles when compared to the curves of the Antiqua ...

Fraktur
is a notable script of this type, and 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 Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
language (or Anglo-Saxon), which predates blackletter by many centuries and was written in the
insular script Insular script was a medieval script system invented in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the ...
or in
Futhorc Anglo-Saxon runes ( ang, rūna) are runes Runes are the letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet), a written element of an alphabet * Letterform, a typographic term for alphabetical l ...
. Along with
Italic type In typography, italic type is a cursive font based on a stylised form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, italics normally slant slightly to the right. Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed tex ...
and
Roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Gre ...
, it served as one of the major
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

typeface
s in the history of Western typography.


Origins

Carolingian minuscule Carolingian minuscule or Caroline minuscule is a script which developed as a calligraphic standard in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), conventio ...
was the direct ancestor of blackletter. Blackletter developed from Carolingian as an increasingly literate 12th-century Europe required new books in many different subjects. New
universities A university () is an of (or ) and which awards s in several . Universities typically offer both and programs in different schools or faculties of learning. The word ''university'' is derived from the ''universitas magistrorum et scholari ...
were founded, each producing books for
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...

business
,
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
,
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
and other pursuits, not solely religious works, for which earlier
scripts Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developi ...
typically had been used. These books needed to be produced quickly to keep up with demand. Labor-intensive Carolingian, though legible, was unable to effectively keep up. Its large size consumed a lot of
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a or machine for characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array ...

manuscript
space in a time when writing materials were very costly. As early as the 11th century, different forms of Carolingian were already being used, and by the mid-12th century, a clearly distinguishable form, able to be written more quickly to meet the demand for new books, was being used in northeastern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
.


Etymology

The term ''Gothic'' was first used to describe this script in 15th-century
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
, in the midst of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, because
Renaissance humanists Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity, at first in Italy and then spreading across Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several larg ...
believed this style was barbaric and ''Gothic'' was a synonym for ''barbaric''.
Flavio Biondo Flavio Biondo (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...

Flavio Biondo
, in ''Italia Illustrata'' (1474), wrote that the Germanic
Lombards The Lombards () or Langobards ( la, Langobardi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on ...
invented this script after they invaded Italy in the 6th century. Not only were blackletter forms called ''Gothic script'', but any other seemingly barbarian script, such as
Visigothic The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
, Beneventan, and
Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the ...
, were also labeled ''Gothic''. This in contrast to
Carolingian minuscule Carolingian minuscule or Caroline minuscule is a script which developed as a calligraphic standard in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), conventio ...
, a highly legible script which the humanists called '' littera antiqua'' ("the ancient letter"), wrongly believing that it was the script used by the
ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studi ...
. It was in fact invented in the reign of
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
, although only used significantly after that era, and actually formed the basis for the later development of blackletter. Blackletter script should not be confused with either the ancient
alphabet of the Gothic language
alphabet of the Gothic language
nor with the
sans-serif In typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by ...
typefaces A typeface is the design of lettering that can include variations, such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, condensed, extended, etc. Each of these variations of the typeface is a font. There are list of typefaces, thousands of differe ...
that are also sometimes called ''Gothic''.


Forms


Textualis

''Textualis'', also known as ''textura'' or ''Gothic bookhand'', was the most
calligraphic Calligraphy (from Greek language, Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a Visual arts, visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush, or other writing instrument. A contemporary calli ...

calligraphic
form of blackletter, and today is the form most associated with "Gothic".
Johannes Gutenberg Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; – 3 February 1468) was a German inventor, printer (publisher), printer, publisher, and goldsmith who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable type, movable-type printing press ...

Johannes Gutenberg
carved a textualis typeface – including a large number of ligatures and common abbreviations – when he printed his
42-line Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

42-line Bible
. However, textualis was rarely used for typefaces after this. According to Dutch scholar Gerard Lieftinck, the pinnacle of blackletter use was reached 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, simply ''littera textualis'', was used for literary works and university texts. Lieftinck's third form, ''littera textualis currens'', was the
cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writi ...

cursive
form of blackletter, extremely difficult to read and used for textual
glosses A gloss is a brief notation, especially a marginalia, marginal one or an interlinear gloss, interlinear one, of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text or in the reader's language if that is different. A ...
, and less important books. ''Textualis'' was most widely used in France, the Low Countries,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
. Some characteristics of the script are: *tall, narrow letters, as compared to their Carolingian counterparts. *letters formed by sharp, straight, angular lines, unlike the typically round Carolingian; as a result, there is a high degree of "breaking", i.e. lines that do not necessarily connect with each other, especially in curved letters. * ascenders (in letters such as , , ) are vertical and often end in sharp
finals Final, Finals or The Final may refer to: *Final (competition), the last or championship round of a sporting competition, match, game, or other contest which decides a winner for an event ** Another term for playoffs, describing a sequence of conte ...
*when a letter with a bow (in , , , ) is followed by another letter with a bow (such as or ), the bows overlap and the letters are joined by a straight line (this is known as "biting"). *a related characteristic is the
half r The r rotunda (ꝛ), "rounded r", is a historical calligraphic variant of the minuscule (lowercase) letter Latin '' r'' used in full script-like typefaces, especially blackletter Blackletter (sometimes black letter), also known as Gothic script ...

half r
(also called
r rotunda The r rotunda (ꝛ), "rounded r", is a historical calligraphic variant of the minuscule (lowercase) letter Latin ''r'' used in full script-like typefaces, especially blackletters. Unlike other letter variants such as "long s" which originally wer ...

r rotunda
), the shape of when attached to other letters with bows; only the bow and tail were written, connected to the bow of the previous letter. In other scripts, this only occurred in a
ligature Ligature may refer to: * Ligature (medicine), a piece of suture used to shut off a blood vessel or other anatomical structure ** Ligature (orthodontic), used in dentistry * Ligature (music), an element of musical notation used especially in the med ...
with the letter . *similarly related is the form of the letter when followed by a letter with a bow; its ascender is then curved to the left, like the
uncial Uncial is a majuscule Letter case is the distinction between the letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that ...

uncial
. Otherwise the ascender is vertical. *the letters , , , , , and the hook of have descenders, but no other letters are written below the line. *the letter a has a straight back stroke, and the top loop eventually became closed, somewhat resembling the number . The letter s often has a diagonal line connecting its two bows, also somewhat resembling an , but the
long s The long s, , is an archaism, archaic form of the letter case, lower case letter . It replaced the single 's', or one or both of the letters 's' in a 'double s' sequence (e.g., "ſinfulneſs" for "sinfulness" and "poſſeſs" or "poſseſs" fo ...

long s
is frequently used in the middle of words. * minims, especially in the later period of the script, do not connect with each other. This makes it very difficult to distinguish , , , and . A 14th-century example of the difficulty minims produced is: ''mimi numinum niuium minimi munium nimium uini muniminum imminui uiui minimum uolunt'' ('the smallest mimes of the gods of snow do not wish at all in their life that the great duty of the defenses of wine be diminished'). In blackletter, this would look like a series of single strokes. As a result, dotted and the letter were subsequently developed. Minims may also have finals of their own. *the script has many more
scribal abbreviation Scribal abbreviations or sigla (singular Singular may refer to: * Singular, the grammatical number In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verb agreement (linguistics), agreement th ...
s than Carolingian, adding to the speed in which it could be written.


Schwabacher

''Schwabacher'' was a blackletter form that was much used in early German print typefaces. It continued to be used occasionally until the 20th century. Characteristics of Schwabacher are: *The small letter is rounded on both sides, though at the top and at the bottom, the two strokes join in an angle. Other small letters have analogous forms. *The small letter has a horizontal stroke at its top that forms crosses with the two downward strokes. *The capital letter has a peculiar form somewhat reminiscent of the small letter .


Fraktur

''Fraktur'' is a form of blackletter that became the most common German blackletter typeface by the mid-16th century. Its use was so common that often any blackletter form is called ''Fraktur'' in Germany. Characteristics of Fraktur are: *The left side of the small letter is formed by an angular stroke, the right side by a rounded stroke. At the top and at the bottom, both strokes join in an angle. Other small letters have analogous forms. *The capital letters are compound of rounded -shaped or -shaped strokes. Here is the entire alphabet in Fraktur (minus the
long s The long s, , is an archaism, archaic form of the letter case, lower case letter . It replaced the single 's', or one or both of the letters 's' in a 'double s' sequence (e.g., "ſinfulneſs" for "sinfulness" and "poſſeſs" or "poſseſs" fo ...

long s
and the
sharp s
sharp s
), using the
AMS Euler AMS Euler is an upright Italic type, cursive typeface, commissioned by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and designed and created by Hermann Zapf with the assistance of Donald Knuth and his Stanford graduate students. It tries to emulate a ma ...

AMS Euler
Fraktur typeface: \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak \mathfrak


Cursiva

'' Cursiva'' refers to a very large variety of forms of blackletter; as with modern
cursive writing Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship in which some characters are written joined together in a flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster, in contrast to block letters. Cursive hand ...
, there is no real standard form. It developed in the 14th century as a simplified form of ''textualis'', with influence from the form of ''textualis'' as used for writing
charter A charter is the grant of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social scie ...
s. ''Cursiva'' developed partly because of the introduction of
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
, which was smoother than
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
. It was therefore, easier to write quickly on paper in a
cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writi ...

cursive
script. In ''cursiva'', descenders are more frequent, especially in the letters and , and ascenders are curved and looped rather than vertical (seen especially in the letter ). The letters , and (at the end of a word) are very similar to their Carolingian forms. However, not all of these features are found in every example of ''cursiva'', which makes it difficult to determine whether or not a script may be called ''cursiva'' at all. Lieftinck also divided ''cursiva'' into three styles: ''littera cursiva formata'' was the most legible and calligraphic style. ''Littera cursiva textualis'' (or ''libraria'') was the usual form, used for writing standard books, and it generally was written with a larger pen, leading to larger letters. ''Littera cursiva currens'' was used for textbooks and other unimportant books and it had very little standardization in forms.


Hybrida

'' Hybrida'' is also called ''
bastarda Bastarda (or bastard) was a blackletter script used in France, the Burgundian Netherlands and Germany during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Burgundian variant of script can be seen as the court script of the Duchy of Burgundy, Dukes of Burgund ...

bastarda
'' (especially in France), and as its name suggests, is a hybrid form of the script. It is a mixture of ''textualis'' and ''cursiva'', developed in the early 15th century. From ''textualis'', it borrowed vertical ascenders, while from ''cursiva'', it borrowed long and

, single-looped , and with an open descender (similar to Carolingian forms).


Donatus-Kalender

The '' Donatus-Kalender'' (also known as Donatus-und-Kalender or D-K) is the name for the metal type design that
Gutenberg Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; – 3 February 1468) was a German inventor An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. ...

Gutenberg
used in his earliest surviving printed works, dating from the early 1450s. The name is taken from two works: the
Ars grammatica An ''ars grammatica'' ( en, italic=yes, art of grammar) is a generic or proper title for surveys of Latin grammar. The first ''ars grammatica'' seems to have been composed by Remmius Palaemon (first century CE), but is now lost. The most famous '' ...
of
Aelius Donatus Aelius Donatus (; fl. mid-fourth century AD) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a ...
, a Latin grammar, and the Kalender (calendar). It is a form of textura.


Blackletter typesetting

While an antiqua typeface is usually a compound of
roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as ...
s and
italic type In typography, italic type is a cursive font based on a stylised form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, italics normally slant slightly to the right. Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed tex ...
s since the 16th-century French typographers, the blackletter typefaces never developed a similar distinction. Instead, they use letterspacing (German ''Sperrung'') for emphasis. When using that method, blackletter ligatures like , , or remain together without additional letterspacing ( is dissolved, though). The use of bold text for emphasis is also alien to blackletter typefaces. Words from other languages, especially from Romance languages including Latin, are usually typeset in antiqua instead of blackletter. Like that, single antiqua words or phrases may occur within a blackletter text. This does not apply, however, to loanwords that have been incorporated into the language.


National forms


England


''Textualis''

English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
blackletter developed from the form of
Carolingian minuscule Carolingian minuscule or Caroline minuscule is a script which developed as a calligraphic standard in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), conventio ...
used there after the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
, sometimes called "Romanesque minuscule". ''Textualis'' forms developed after 1190 and were used most often until approximately 1300, after which it became used mainly for ''de luxe'' manuscripts. English forms of blackletter have been studied extensively and may be divided into many categories. ''Textualis formata'' ("Old English" or "blackletter"), ''textualis prescissa'' (or ''textualis sine pedibus'', as it generally lacks feet on its minims), ''textualis quadrata'' (or ''psalterialis'') and ''semi-quadrata'', and ''textualis rotunda'' are various forms of high-grade ''formata'' styles of blackletter. The
University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the List of oldest universit ...
borrowed the ''littera parisiensis'' in the 13th century and early 14th century, and the ''littera oxoniensis'' form is almost indistinguishable from its Parisian counterpart; however, there are a few differences, such as the round final forms, resembling the number , rather than the long used in the final position in the Paris script. Printers of the late 15th and early 16th centuries commonly used blackletter typefaces, but under the influence of
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
tastes,
Roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Gre ...
faces grew in popularity, until by about 1590 most presses had converted to them. However, blackletter was considered to be more readily legible (especially by the less literate classes of society), and it therefore remained in use throughout the 17th century and into the 18th for documents intended for widespread dissemination, such as
proclamation A proclamation (Lat. ''proclamare'', to make public by announcement) is an official declaration issued by a person of authority to make certain announcements known. Proclamations are currently used within the governing framework of some nations ...

proclamation
s and
Acts of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislat ...
, and for literature aimed at the common people, such as
ballad A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French ''chanson balladée'' or '' ballade'', which were originally "dance songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and ...
s, chivalric romances, and jokebooks.
Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (; – 25 October 1400) was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th ...

Chaucer
's works had been printed in blackletter in the late 15th century, but were subsequently more usually printed in Roman type.
Horace Walpole Horatio Walpole (), 4th Earl of Orford (24 September 1717 – 2 March 1797), better known as Horace Walpole, was an English writer, art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whigs (British political party), Whig politician. He had Strawbe ...

Horace Walpole
wrote in 1781 that "I am too, though a Goth, so modern a Goth that I hate the black letter, and I love Chaucer better in
Dryden '' John Dryden (; – ) was an English poet, literary critic Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which i ...

Dryden
and
Baskerville Baskerville is a serif In typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of typesetting, ar ...

Baskerville
than in his own language and dress."


''Cursiva''

English ''cursiva'' began to be used in the 13th century, and soon replaced ''littera oxoniensis'' as the standard university script. The earliest cursive blackletter form is ''Anglicana'', a very round and looped script, which also had a squarer and angular counterpart, ''Anglicana formata''. The ''formata'' form was used until the 15th century and also was used to write vernacular texts. An ''Anglicana bastarda'' form developed from a mixture of ''Anglicana'' and ''textualis'', but by the 16th century, the principal cursive blackletter used in England was the Secretary script, which originated in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
and came to England by way of France. Secretary script has a somewhat haphazard appearance, and its forms of the letters , , and are unique, unlike any forms in any other English script.


France


''Textualis''

French
French
''textualis'' was tall and narrow compared to other national forms, and was most fully developed in the late 13th century in Paris. In the 13th century there also was an extremely small version of textualis used to write miniature Bibles, known as "pearl script". Another form of French textualis in this century was the script developed at the
University of Paris , image_name = Coat of arms of the University of Paris.svg , image_size = 150px , caption = , latin_name = Universitas magistrorum et scholarium Parisiensis , motto = ''Hic et ubique terrarum'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
, ''littera parisiensis'', which also is small in size and designed to be written quickly, not calligraphically.


''Cursiva''

French ''cursiva'' was used from the 13th to the 16th century, when it became highly looped, messy, and slanted. ''Bastarda'', the "hybrid" mixture of ''cursiva'' and ''textualis'', developed in the 15th century and was used for vernacular texts as well as Latin. A more angular form of ''bastarda'' was used in
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...

Burgundy
, the ''lettre de forme'' or ''lettre bourgouignonne'', for
books of hours
books of hours
such as the Très Riches Heures of
John, Duke of Berry John of Berry or John the Magnificent (French language, French: ''Jean de Berry''; 30 November 1340 – 15 June 1416) was Duke of Berry and Rulers of Auvergne, Auvergne and Count of Poitiers and Montpensier. He was the third son of King John I ...

John, Duke of Berry
.


Germany

Despite the frequent association of blackletter with
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, the script was actually very slow to develop in German-speaking areas. It developed first in those areas closest to France and then spread to the east and south in the 13th century. The German-speaking areas are, however, where blackletter remained in use the longest.
Schwabacher The German word Schwabacher (pronounced ) refers to a specific style of blackletter typeface A typeface is the design of lettering that can include variations, such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, condensed, extended, etc. Eac ...
typefaces dominated in Germany from about 1480 to 1530, and the style continued in use occasionally until the 20th century. Most importantly, all of the works of
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
, leading to the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
, as well as the
Apocalypse An apocalypse ( ''apokálypsis'', from and , literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious concepts an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what ...
of
Albrecht Dürer Albrecht Dürer (; ; 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528),Müller, Peter O. (1993) ''Substantiv-Derivation in Den Schriften Albrecht Dürers'', Walter de Gruyter. . sometimes spelled in English as Durer or Duerer (without an Umlaut (linguistics), umlau ...

Albrecht Dürer
(1498), used this typeface. Johann Bämler, a printer from
Augsburg Augsburg ( , , ; bar, Augschburg, links=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swabian_German, label=Swabian German) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, ...

Augsburg
, probably first used it as early as 1472. The origins of the name remain unclear; some assume that a typeface-carver from the village of Schwabach—one who worked externally and who thus became known as the ''Schwabacher''—designed the typeface.


''Textualis''

German ''Textualis'' is usually very heavy and angular, and there are few characteristic features that are common to all occurrences of the script. One common feature is the use of the letter for Latin or . ''Textualis'' was first used in the 13th and 14th centuries, and subsequently become more elaborate and decorated, as well as being reserved used for liturgical works only.
Johann Gutenberg Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; – 3 February 1468) was a German inventor An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. ...
used a ''textualis''
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

typeface
for his famous
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
in 1455.
Schwabacher The German word Schwabacher (pronounced ) refers to a specific style of blackletter typeface A typeface is the design of lettering that can include variations, such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, condensed, extended, etc. Eac ...
, a blackletter with more rounded letters, soon became the usual printed
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

typeface
, but it was replaced by
Fraktur Fraktur () is a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet and any of several blackletter typefaces derived from this hand. The blackletter lines are broken up; that is, their forms contain many angles when compared to the curves of the Antiqua ...
in the early 17th century. Fraktur came into use when Emperor
Maximilian IMaximilian I may refer to: *Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, reigned 1486/93–1519 *Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, reigned 1597–1651 *Maximilian I, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1636-1689) *Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, reigned 1795– ...

Maximilian I
(1493–1519) established a series of books and had a new typeface created specifically for this purpose. In the 19th century, the use of antiqua alongside Fraktur increased, leading to the Antiqua-Fraktur dispute, which lasted until the
Nazis Nazism (), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus; ), is the ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (german: link=no, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP, or National Socia ...

Nazis
abandoned Fraktur in 1941. Since it was so common, all kinds of blackletter tend to be called ''Fraktur'' in German.


''Cursiva''

German ''cursiva'' is similar to the cursive scripts in other areas, but forms of , and other letters are more varied; here too, the letter is often used. A ''hybrida'' form, which was basically ''cursiva'' with fewer looped letters and with similar square proportions as ''textualis'', was used in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 18th century, the pointed quill was adopted for blackletter handwriting. In the early 20th century, the
Sütterlin (, " script") is the last widely used form of , the historical form of German language, German handwriting that evolved alongside German blackletter (most notably ') typefaces. Graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin was commissioned by the Prussian Mi ...

Sütterlin
script was introduced in the schools.


Italy


''Rotunda''

Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
blackletter also is known as rotunda, as it was less angular than those produced by northern printing centers. The most common form of Italian ''rotunda'' was ''littera bononiensis'', used at the
University of Bologna The University of Bologna ( it, Alma mater studiorum - Università di Bologna, UNIBO) is a research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of hig ...
in the 13th century. Biting is a common feature in ''rotunda'', but breaking is not. Italian ''Rotunda'' also is characterized by unique abbreviations, such as with a line beneath the bow signifying ''qui'', and unusual spellings, such as for (''milex'' rather than ''miles'').


''Cursiva''

Italian cursive developed in the 13th century from scripts used by notaries. The more calligraphic form is known as ''minuscola cancelleresca italiana'' (or simply ''cancelleresca'',
chancery hand The term "chancery hand" can refer to either of two distinct styles of historical handwriting. A chancery hand was at first a form of handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the ...
), which developed into a
book hand A book hand was any of several stylized handwriting Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both block letters, printing and cursive styles and is separate from form ...
, a script used for writing books rather than charters, in the 14th century. ''Cancelleresca'' influenced the development of ''
bastarda Bastarda (or bastard) was a blackletter script used in France, the Burgundian Netherlands and Germany during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Burgundian variant of script can be seen as the court script of the Duchy of Burgundy, Dukes of Burgund ...

bastarda
'' in France and
secretary hand Secretary hand is a style of European handwriting Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both block letters, printing and cursive styles and is separate from forma ...

secretary hand
in England.


The Netherlands


''Textualis''

A textualis form, commonly known as ''Gotisch'' or "Gothic script" was used for general publications from the fifteenth century on, but became restricted to official documents and religious publications during the seventeenth century. Its use persisted into the nineteenth century for editions of the State Translation of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
, but had otherwise become obsolete.


Unicode

Mathematical blackletter characters are separately encoded in
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
in the
Mathematical alphanumeric symbols Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols is a Unicode blockA Unicode block is one of several contiguous ranges of numeric character codes ( code points) of the Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consis ...
range at U+1D504-1D537 and U+1D56C-1D59F (bold), except for individual letters already encoded in the
Letterlike Symbols Letterlike Symbols is a Unicode blockA Unicode block is one of several contiguous ranges of numeric character codes ( code points) of the Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character ...
range (plus
long s The long s, , is an archaism, archaic form of the letter case, lower case letter . It replaced the single 's', or one or both of the letters 's' in a 'double s' sequence (e.g., "ſinfulneſs" for "sinfulness" and "poſſeſs" or "poſseſs" fo ...

long s
at U+017F). This block of characters should be used only for setting mathematical text, as mathematical texts use blackletter symbols contrastively to other letter styles. For stylized blackletter prose, the normal Latin letters should be used, with font choice or other markup used to indicate blackletter styling. The character names use "Fraktur" for the mathematical alphanumeric symbols, while "blackletter" is used for those symbol characters in the letterlike symbols range. Mathematical Fraktur: : Mathematical Bold Fraktur: : Fonts supporting the range include Code2001, Cambria Math, and
Quivira Quivira is a place named by Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, for the mythical Seven Cities of Gold that he never found. The location of Quivira is believed by most authorities to be in central Kansas near present-day Lyo ...
(textura style). For normal text writing, the ordinary Latin code points are used. The blackletter style is then determined by a font with blackletter glyphs.


See also

*
Asemic writing Asemic writing is a wordless open Semantics, semantic form of writing. The word ''asemic'' means "having no specific semantic content", or "without the smallest unit of meaning". With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of m ...

Asemic writing
*
Bastarda Bastarda (or bastard) was a blackletter script used in France, the Burgundian Netherlands and Germany during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Burgundian variant of script can be seen as the court script of the Duchy of Burgundy, Dukes of Burgund ...

Bastarda
*
Book hand A book hand was any of several stylized handwriting Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both block letters, printing and cursive styles and is separate from form ...
*
Calligraphy Calligraphy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Calligraphy
*
Chancery hand The term "chancery hand" can refer to either of two distinct styles of historical handwriting. A chancery hand was at first a form of handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the ...
*
Court hand Court hand (also common law hand, Anglicana, cursiva antiquior, charter hand) was a style of handwriting used in medieval English law courts, and later by professionals such as lawyers and clerks. "It is noticeably upright and packed together with ...
(also known as common law hand, Anglicana, cursiva antiquior, or charter hand) *
Cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writi ...

Cursive
*
Hand (writing style) Calligraphy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
*
Handwriting Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both block letters, printing and cursive styles and is separate from formal calligraphy or typeface. Because each person's han ...

Handwriting
*
History of writing The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by letters or other markings and also the studies and descriptions of these developments. In the history of how writing systems have evolved in different human civilizations, ...
*
Italic script Italic script, also known as chancery cursive and Italic hand, is a semi-cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human comm ...
*
Law hand Court hand (also common law hand, Anglicana, cursiva antiquior, charter hand) was a style of handwriting used in medieval English law courts, and later by professionals such as lawyers and clerks. "It is noticeably upright and packed together with ...
*
Paleography Palaeography (American and British English spelling differences#Simplification of ae and oe, UK) or paleography (American and British English spelling differences#Simplification of ae and oe, US; ultimately from grc-gre, , ''palaiós'', "old ...

Paleography
*
Penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the debatable exception of com ...
*
Ronde script (calligraphy) ('round' in French language, French) is a kind of script in which the heavy strokes are nearly upright, giving the characters when taken together a round look. It appeared in France at the end of the 16th century, growing out from a late local v ...
*
Rotunda (script) The Rotunda is a specific medieval blackletter Blackletter (sometimes black letter), also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from approximately 1150 until the 17th century. It contin ...
*
Round hand Round Hand (also Roundhand) is a type of handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human lan ...
*
Secretary hand Secretary hand is a style of European handwriting Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both block letters, printing and cursive styles and is separate from forma ...

Secretary hand


References


Further reading

* Bernhard Bischoff, ''Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages'', Cambridge University Press, 1989. *


External links


'Manual of Latin Palaeography'
(A comprehensive PDF file containing 82 pages profusely illustrated, June 2014).
Learn Blackletter Online

Association for the German Script and Language


A simple OpenType blackletter font setting ſ and s by itself
London Review of Books article about blackletter fonts and font history in general
{{Authority control Medieval scripts Palaeography Typography Western calligraphy