Rotunda (script)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Rotunda is a specific medieval blackletter script. It originates in Carolingian minuscule. Sometimes, it is not considered a blackletter script, but a script on its own. It was used mainly in southern Europe.

Calligraphic writing of the word "Rotunda" in the Italian script of same name.


Overview on some blackletter typefaces

One of the key differences between Rotunda and other blackletter scripts is that broken bows appear only in a few letters such as d.[1]

R rotunda and long S[edit]

The r rotunda (ꝛ), "rounded r", is an old letter variant commonly used in rotunda scripts and other blackletter typefaces. It is thought that this variant form of that letter was originally devised either to save space while writing on expensive parchment or for aesthetic reasons.

The Unicode letter pair latin capital/small letter r rotunda rendered by different fonts.

Italian rotunda[edit]

A 1570s rotunda typeface cut by Hendrik van den Keere for printer Christophe Plantin, apparently based on Spanish lettering and intended for a book to be exported to Spain.

There is a form of Italian blackletter known as rotunda, as it was less angular than in northern centres. The most usual form of Italian rotunda was littera bononiensis, used at the University of Bologna in the 13th century. Biting is a common feature in rotunda, but breaking is not.

Italian rotunda also is characterized by unique abbreviations, such as q with a line beneath the bow signifying "qui", and unusual spellings, such as x for s ("milex" rather than "miles").

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rotunda". Typohile. Archived from the original on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2020.