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Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


[Lat. litterae unciales ‘inch-long letters’] The origin of the term is not quite clear, although it seems to refer to the measure unciālis ‘of one-twelfth’. It is a M ajuscule form of writing used as a book hand for Christian manuscripts from the fourth to the sixth centuries, after which it was superseded by the halfuncial. Uncials developed from cursive styles in the fourth century ce . It is distinguished from Roman capital by large rounded forms of certain letters, especially A, D, E, H and M ( Figure 3 ). The shapes of uncial letters are thought to have been influenced by Byzantine art. Greek uncials are characteristic of many medieval manuscripts ( Figure 4 ). See also R oman alphabet. Reading Bischoff 1986. Figure 3 Specimen of Latin uncial majuscules: Cicero, De republica, fourth century ce Figure 4 Greek uncials ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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