Typeface used most widely in Western typography, the general term for the type of this book's text. Characterized by simple, unembellished shapes, roman was developed by 15th-century printers as an alternative to the heavy-bodied, spiky black letter script. Models for a new type that was easier to cut and read were found in the scriptoria, where scribes, probably at the urging of humanist scholars, were experimenting with a letter face they believed had been used in ancient Rome. Historians now trace its ancestry instead to the letter forms developed for Charlemagne's decrees by Alcuin in the 9th century. Within a century, roman had superseded all other typefaces throughout Europe; the sole exception was Germany, where black letter continued to hold sway into the 20th century.