Talk:Roman cursive

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Plautus translation[edit]

I just wanted to mention that the translation of the Plautus was made by me...I wanted to see if I could do it. There is a translation at Perseus by Henry Thomas Riley, but it sounds really strange, I suppose it may be trying to represent meter. Hopefully I have not been as modest as Riley was in describing what the letters are doing to each other, but I couldn't bring myself to be as vulgar as Plautus probably meant it to be :) Adam Bishop 00:01, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It's a good transliteration-style translation - I'm not sure you could make it any closer, unless you wanted to stray from the text and say "it looks like they want kids; they're all over each other." (But yours is equally well understood, and has the advantage of also conveying a bit of the writing style.) 12:40, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to suggest a translation with slightly more natural delivery:

Calidorus: This note will tell you the misery and concern consuming me. Pseudolus: OK. But what is this? Calidorus: What's the matter? Pseudolus: It looks like the letters are reproducing--they're humping each other. Calidorus: Are you making fun of me? Pseudolus: Seriously, even if the Sibyl could figure out how to read these out loud, nobody would understand them. Calidorus: Why are you insulting this charming handwriting? It's a charming letter, written by a charming hand! Pseudolus: This is definitely chickenscratch... By Hercules, what chicken even has handwriting this bad? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:44, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Handwriting Example Image[edit]

I invite any criticism - I'll try another one with a more accurate brush. The problem with reproducing The One True Handwriting is that there are so many different styles in the Vindolanda collection alone that a "sample" can only be a rough approximation of how you think the writing may have looked if it were done by you. I've also spaced the letters out more than they would have appeared for ease of reading. It only makes sense that the script would look so much like Greek, considering the influence of the Greek language on Rome's elite. The T even looks like a modern τ (tau), and the A looks like a λ (lambda) on a slant. The M and N, while they have some variation, are very close to modern romance-language versions, and even closer to French and Italian samples from centuries later. Mephistopheles 13:08, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Well that's much better than the image I made a couple of years ago. I'm kind of disappointed that the article suffered with it for so long! Also, since I guess you are as well, I just reverted your last edit by mistake...sorry. I'm not sure if you meant to remove that paragraph, but it's a force of habit to revert IPs when that happens. Adam Bishop 14:38, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
No, that's good - I was going to delete the whole thing, but then realized I should discuss first. I guess I actually did delete the whole paragraph. Anyway, I thought the only thing that might be improved with that paragraph was the description of the letters: the "V" characters are tiny in one sample, but not in all samples, and the "L", "D", "E", "M", and "N" are remarkably similar (especially the d - cf. writing pre-1750) to other Romance languages. I'll grant you the "B" is odd, but the "T" looks just like a Greek τ (tau) and even the "G" looks like a combination of upper and lower case gammas. Many versions of the "M" look like a lower-case μ (mu). I'll add that.

I have replaced the picture with yet a new one. I think the old one looked a bit too much computer made, so to speak. Feel free to suggest changes... The verse is a bit contrieved; for example, I'm particularly not that pleased with "vix hodie patefactas", but I needed something to exemplify X, D, P and F, and that was the best I came up with. Alatius 16:17, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Much better! I was hoping that someone would do a better job, and there it is. Mephistopheles 11:20, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Nice, but can you please provide references for the individual letter forms you used? Some of them don't look quite like the "tutorial" in the cited reference, which is not too worrying in itself as there is some variation in handwriting, but I'd still like to be able to trace the shapes in the image back to their originals. Shinobu (talk) 02:08, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

chickenscratch font[edit]

No you are confused. To take your image to start with, it's shakey man. First thing you need to get right - the writing instrument. The ink pens the Vindolanda writers used are basically still around today - have a look at some calligraphy pen nibs (dip style) - they did not use either brushes or styluses(!) to write these ink tablets. Also why not use some Vindolanda text instead of that nonsense you have (frankly)?

Thanks for putting Old Roman Cursive into Wikipedia! I second that.

If anyone's interested in an Old Roman Cursive font, I made a rough draft of one out of the handwriting on the Vindolanda tablets (taken from lower-resolution images on Oxford's Vindolanda Online: ). Except for X, H, and Y (and w), the chosen characters were taken from the same hand using the same-width stylus. Positioning is not ideal yet. Here is a link to an embedded example of the font (only viewable with <sorry> Internet Explorer at the moment):

Guy, i'm interested. Where have you put it?

You have an error on the page. The correct imperativus is "scribite". 21:37, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
Thanks! I fixed it. No rest for the dilettanti...

In a word processor, line spacing can be adjusted so that the ascenders and descenders overlap naturally. In accordance with the Vindolanda site's usage policies, this font is only available for educational use. Commercial use is prohibited. Ellen Jameson 6/26/2005 looks a lot better than my attempt at drawing it :) Adam Bishop 05:32, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I've given the writing a shot (with the caveat that it's not entirely representative). The replacement isn't a criticism - this version just has a larger variety of characters. 12:40, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Adam! I definitely can't write in it very well, but I like the idea of typing in nearly-2000-year-old handwriting... Ellen Jameson 6/26/2005

Good Job[edit]

This was very well done, it helped quite a bit. One small problem, in the form of latin used in anceint Rome only the names of people or gods, cities, and civilizations are capitalized, and sometimes the word "Imperator" (Emperor). I noticed that the beginnings of your latin sentaces were capitalized. Again, I liked this article, it was helpful and I am impressed that you were able to find all you did on it. Omega Knight a.k.a. --The Gamer 02:05, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

In the form of Latin used in ancient Rome, there is no such thing as "capital" or "lower-case" letters (especially not in cursive, although Square capitals are what we call capital letters now). They didn't use any punctuation either. So it doesn't particularly matter what it was like back then - we make it readable for modern English speakers. Adam Bishop 02:34, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Correct, ancient Rome didn't use capitals like we do. However, modern users of Latin adhere to varying standards of capitalisation, just like they adhere to conventions about the use of i/j and u/v. In grammar school, we only capitalised names, but I've read books that start sentences with capitals too. Shinobu (talk) 22:51, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Image of new Roman cursive?[edit]

Perhaps someone knowledgeable about the subject could craft an image of new Roman cursive? Shinobu (talk) 13:20, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Lower case?[edit]

Did the New Roman cursive already have lower case letters? If so, with what shapes? FilipeS (talk) 15:15, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

No. The distinction between capital and miniscule is a relatively recent invention. According to capital letter around 1300, but it doesn't cite any references so please take that with a grain of salt, although the basic premise is uncontroversial. Shinobu (talk) 22:46, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Evolution of the glyphs?[edit]

How did the characters evolve? Why is the "b" so weird? Why has the "g" and ascender, while the "c" doesn't? What happened to the "p" and the "r"? Why is the "u/v" above the baseline? Shinobu (talk) 06:18, 30 April 2008 (UTC)


Hello all, just thought I'd put it out there that the external UMich link is dead!

LG, Dave (talk) 05:18, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. In the future feel free to fix these sorts of things yourself. CRGreathouse (t | c) 19:48, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

What about K, X, Y, and Z?[edit]

allixpeeke (talk) 10:31, 13 December 2016 (UTC)