Book Word of the Day: Uncial

While reading “Books will Speak Plain” by Julia Miller I came across a new book word I was familiar with, but could not remember. The word is used on page 46 to describe a type of script learned by scribes in England from books imported from Italy. The word Uncial is defined as:

  1. of or written in a majuscule script with rounded unjoined letters that is found in European manuscripts of the 4th–8th centuries and from which modern capital letters are derived.


As a side note, I also had to look up the word “majuscule” which is a formal way to say upper case (maybe an opposite of the word minuscule?)

Its look brings one’s mind immediately to think of Medieval manuscript writing and illumination. The curving, single stroke style was developed because it took advantage of the smooth writing surface offered by parchment as opposed to the harsher writing surfaces of wood, stone, or papyrus.

I will have to keep an eye out for uncial script whenever I come across some 5th century books in Europe.


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