7 Facts About Handwriting You Don’t Know
Here are 7 surprising curiosities about writing and its evolution and its changes in history, from its origins to the present day.
Nowadays writing has become easy and immediate. We have numerous writing methods that allow you to communicate easily and immediately. Writing wasn’t that simple at first, it was much more complex. At the beginning there were no technological supports for writing, and the only known way was the manual one.
The first writing system was very small
The cuneiform script of Sumerian origin, dated 5000 years ago in the region of Mesopotamia, was initially engraved on very small clay tablets, a few centimeters wide. To give an idea, most of those kept at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York do not exceed half of an iphone.
Regional varieties during the Middle Ages
After the fall of the Roman Empire, writing diversified from region to region. This variety of scriptures made the books difficult to read, not least because scribes tried to embellish their own style. This made the writing very difficult to decipher, especially for those not from the same area.
Writing is the subject of study
If you too have a hard time deciphering other people’s writing, you need to know that this is normal. Not even paleographers, who study the evolution of writing as a profession, are unable to decipher all the ways of writing.
Charlemagne was obsessed with handwriting
Charlemagne, despite being illiterate – in the 9th century decreed that the same script be used throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Thus the “Carolingian Minuscule” spread, a script that was used in France, Germany, northern Italy and England until the 11th century.
The importance of handwriting
In the 15th century the monk Johannes Trithemius in his essay “In Praise of Scribes” praised the importance of handwriting, to the detriment of typewriters. In his opinion, while the printed books would have lasted a short time because they were not very pleasant, while the handwriting would have become more and more important and appreciated.
The first movable font resembled handwriting
The first printed books were supposed to resemble manuscripts, so as not to shock people with a design that is too different to what they were used to. Gutenberg, collaborating with his artisans, created an elaborate Gothic script in 290 characters, which allowed the typewriter to recreate each letter in upper and lower case.
Punctuation spread in the 18th century
In the beginning the spelling varied a lot from person to person and nothing was standardized. It became uniform over time and the first dictionaries were not published until the 17th century. Even punctuation began to be standardized only in the eighteenth century, before according to Trubek it was “largely non-existent”.