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A ( uppercase ) and a (lowercase) in different fonts

Minuscule or minuscule script (from Latin minusculus "slightly smaller") is a name for historical fonts in alphabet fonts , the letters of which are in a four-line scheme with ascenders and descenders. In addition, the term minuscule refers to the mixed use of lower and upper case letters, the lower case letters , which are also called common in the printer language .

Minuscule fonts

The Carolingian minuscule in a Vulgate manuscript (British Library, MS Add. 11848, fol.160v)

A minuscule (or short: minuscule) is in contrast to majuscule not equal high letters (two-line scheme), but has and descenders on (four-line scheme) in a series of letters top, see line system .

The outgoing Greco-Roman antiquity already knew both types. For example, Capitalis (also: Kapitalis ) and Uncial are capitals, younger Roman italics (4th century) and semi- uncial (5th century) are minuscule fonts. The Carolingian minuscule , created around 780 as the court script of the Frankish Empire, became historically relevant . It became the mother script of the entire occidental typeface family ( Antiqua , Gothic script ).

At the same time, the insular minuscule developed in the Anglo-Saxon-Irish region in the 8th to 12th centuries . On the Iberian Peninsula, the Visigoth minuscule was widespread from the 8th century, but has been increasingly replaced by the Carolingian minuscule since the 10th century.

Early Gothic (from the end of the 11th century to the 13th century), Gothic (14th century) and late Gothic (16th century) minuscule.

lowercase letters

Since the Renaissance , there are fonts that an uppercase and a lowercase alphabet in unite ( capital letters and lowercase letters). The combined use of lowercase and uppercase letters has far-reaching practical and aesthetic aspects (for and against). It enables the writing of texts that can be read quickly and easily understood (see also upper and lower case ).

See also


  • Herbert Hunger : Ancient and Medieval Books and Writing. In: Herbert Hunger: The text transmission of ancient literature and the Bible (= dtv 4176 Scientific series ). Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1975, ISBN 3-423-04485-3 , pp. 25–147, (Unchanged reprint of Volume 1, the history of text transmission in ancient and medieval literature , published in 1961 ).

Web links

Commons : Minuscule  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Commons : Carolingian minuscule  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Greek minuscule letters  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: lower case letter  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Minuscule  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations