black letter


black letter

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Black letter, type as used in the 42-line Bible issued at Mainz, 1456.—Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Style of alphabet used in handwriting throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It features uniform vertical strokes that end on the baseline, angular lines instead of smooth curves and circles, and the overlapping of convex forms. Black letter and roman were the dominant letter shapes of medieval typography. The only extant work known to have been printed by Johannes Gutenberg, the 42-line Bible (1450s), was set in black-letter type. Roman type largely superseded it in the Renaissance, though black letter persisted in Germany well into the 20th century. Today black letter is often used for diplomas, Christmas cards, and liturgical writings.

Variants of BLACK LETTER

black letter or Gothic script or Old English script

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on black letter, visit Britannica.com.

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