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Gothic Type

Gothic is one of the two major scripts in the Roman alphabet and was widely used in medieval manuscripts. In the 12th century, when universities were established and the volume of transcribed manuscripts grew, a style of handwriting that we now call "Protogothic" came into use. The most distinctive feature of this style is that it is narrower in width than the preceding Carolingian script and has somewhat sharp corners. From this script emerged the following scripts: "Textura," which was used chiefly for Bibles and liturgies; "Rotunda," which was a little more round; and "Batard," which was smoother, like cursive handwriting. These styles of writing came down to the period of incunabula, giving rise to the Gothic type shown below.

Textura type used by C. Kachelofen of Leipzig
Rotunda type used by U. Zel of Cologne
Batard type used by W. Caxton of Westminster

The word Gothic, ("like the Goths"), originated from the fact that Renaissance-period humanists considered the Gothic style rougher than the old Roman style and referred to the former as being "gothic."

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