In keeping with the Medieval theme for spring, I have been adding some comments on your receipts in a Medieval script! The form I chose is called “Uncial” and is pronounced “un-shal” or “un-see-al”. It is the hand that is used in just about every monk’s manuscript and was developed to be readable and make the best use of the space on precious vellum.

You will notice that the letters are very rounded and there are no capitals, “i’s” are not dotted and the letters are fit up closely together. Some of the letters look like the capital form in regular handwriting, for instance: B, E, F,G, K, M, O, R, S, U, V, W, x, and Z.

The letters which are particular to Uncial script are: A, D, F, G, H, M, Q, T, and the W. They do vary from the modern interpretation of them and are very beautiful. Each has special rules you have to follow. For instance, the F has to have the lower cross stroke sit on the base line; M has to be very rounded, and T starts off like a modern T but quickly rounds its back and turns into that beautiful Medieval letter.

If you want to try your hand at Uncial, it’s easy to start. Get an italic pen (one with a squared off tip), you can usually find those at hobby shops. Of course you need ink and paper. Then all you have to have is patience.

Remember to hold your pen at a 45 degree angle and copy the letters. Practice makes perfect here. Keep the letters closely spaced in a word and use several strokes for each letter. Pretty soon you will be a good calligrapher. Practice by writing out your grocery lists in Uncial so you get familiar with it and can write a bit more quickly, then practice in earnest and slow down. I find that going between letter form and speed is a great exercise toward getting your mind used to a new form of handwriting.

Have fun!

A demonstration of Uncial handwriting.

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