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palaeography


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Is the study of the history of writing upon papyrus (see papyrology), wax, parchment, and paper, while epigraphy deals with inscriptions carved in hard materials; from it we learn how to read old scripts and to observe their development, which may provide us with criteria for establishing the date and place of origin of a piece of writing. It is also concerned with the layout of the written page and the form of the book. In both Greek and Latin the written letters change under the influence of three forces: the first, the desire to form the letters with less effort, and the second, the need to be legible, oppose each other; the third, a concern for beauty, in the individual letter, the line as a whole or the page, makes the scribe careful, but sometimes, in his search for regularity and uniformity, he makes the letters hard to distinguish from each other.

Subjects: Classical studies


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