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VMs: d's (8s) and ampersands (&) was; Nick's Strokes etc

> Maurizio Mentioned;
> First of all, I cannot claim any expertise at all. I am grateful to
> for the compliment, but I simply happened to graduate in Latin Paleography
> in early 80's (which is a lot of time ago) with a great professor.

Barbara Blithers;
Well all my Paleography is self taught and mostly centred on Ancient
My academic studies were in typography - which included some pre-printing
history on aspects of letters and orthography which influenced print - so I
feel your formal training deserves respect.

> About terminology, which seems to be my specialty (<g>), I would
> a distinction which might be useful. We were taught to distinguish between
> _tempi_ and _tratti_ (literaly: "times" and "strokes", but _tempo_ is
> better translated in this case by "sequence", "suite"?)
> A _tempo_ is exactly what Barbara defined as "stroke": "from pen-down to
> pen-lift",
> A _tratto_ is a (portion of) stroke keeping the same direction (or the
> curve).

This is useful. Regardless of what the "proper" translations are, these give
us all a terminology to use.

> At 13:26 21/02/2004 +0000, Barbara Barrett wrote:
> >1 stroke; i o e d
> >2 stroke; a b r n s q y ch m z g* j*
> >3 stroke; x sh**
> The only detail I do not agree with is the 'd': for me it is made of 2
> _tempi_ (Barbara's strokes) and 3 _tratti_:
> * first a 'c'-shaped _tempo_
> * then a vaguely P-shaped _tempo_ made of a counterclockwise circle and a
> vertical down-stroke (sometime slightly slanted to the right)
> It is actually a slightly modified form of the 'et' ligature (our modern

I took for study the 'd's which were quite faint because the greater ink
density at starts, stops, overlaps, and cross-overs would be very helpful in
determining construction, and ignored the denser 'd's. The faint ones
studied didn't exhibit the features I'd have expected from a c+p
construction; eg: an overlap at the base of the bowl and a change of line
width within the cross-over (pen angle, and thus line width, would alter
with the "ends" (or should that be "termini" <g>) being differently

These examples seemed to be single lines.

However examining *all* the 'd's on the page you are right, there are
several where the c and p temos (tempi?) are very obvious - almost separated
in fact!

I'm now convinced that there was more than one way the writer constructed
their 'd's.

As you know in writing characters in succession the construction of a
character can depend upon where the pen was when it finished the previous
character, and so Maurizio you've reminded me that there are constructive
differences between characters written in isolation and those written in
sequence - which gives me a whole new area of study ;-) Thank you. And I
offer my butt for a swift kick for forgetting such a basic thing! But I'll
place the 'd's on both the single and double stroke classes now.

As for the ampersand (&) personally I construct that as a single line too,
as I do my own 8s. Perhaps my own style was interfering with interpretation
a bit.

My son, reading over my shoulder remarked the ampersand is a ligature of
"et"?" (what *did* they teach in school in his day?) and was quite surprised
to learn that "?" and "!" came from ligatures of "quo" and "lo"
respectively. No one has ever explained to me where the Hash (#) or the
asterisk (*) come from 'though? Anyone know?   Maurizio?

> I don't see why uprightness should be distinctive of either _littera
> moderna_ and _littera antiqua_. Perhaps, a case should be made for the
> Vms.  writing to be more 'round-looking' than many _modernae_ (it is not
> of the same flock of, say, black letters), but very rounded _modernae_
> too, like the _littera bononiensis_ or the _littera sti. Petri" (both were
> very formal, and earlier, than our codex, but show that the possibility
> present in the system).

Personally I find great similarities between vms and Alcuin of York's
Carolingian Minuscule; Ascenders, descenders, and x-hights particularly.
I've herd these features attributed to the Humanists, but they were around a
long time before them! And also Alcuin's style is more rounded than the
latter Humanist style.

Did you know that black letter labels appears under some of the astrological

Anyways all, see ya soon.


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