Ornamental initial

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This letter P is an example of an historiated initial (depicting Peter) in an illuminated Latin bible, 1407 AD.

An ornamental or illustrated character is found in medieval and Gothic writings where the initial character on a page, chapter, or passage is usually large and encompasses multiple lines.[1] When the embellished character is illustrated it may also be known as an historiated initial.


  1. ^ Pareti, Rudolph; Vincent, Nicole (2005). "Global Discrimination of Graphic Styles". Graphics recognition: ten years review and future perspectives: 6th international workshop, GREC 2005 (Springer): 120–121.