Gothic Script Workshop

Matevž Košir

German handwriting has its origins in the different styles of gothic italics, especially in the stylised Bastarda. The palaeography of the New Age is essentially different from the palaeography of the Middle Ages. The New Age documents are dated, forgeries are less frequent and easier to detect. The registers of the documents were kept at the time. This simplifies the identification and the origin of the documents. On the other hand, a great variety of different writing makes reading more difficult. There are several individual styles of handwriting; there are also regional differences. Fractura was used as a typeface first in Augsburg in 1513. They used it to print a prayer book of the emperor Maximilian I. The handwriting of the 16th century is obviously different from the one used in the 17th and 18th centuries. The invention of print influenced the form and development of handwriting. The so-called open form is one of the main features of Fractura. The capital letters are wide and large and the lower case letters are narrow. Some narrow and high - typical examples are f and s.

German handwriting was used only for texts in German. For the texts in other languages, e.g. in Latin, Italian, or Slovenian, they used the Humanistica (Latin handwriting). This was used even in German texts for words in other languages, even for a single word.

From the mid 16th century, handwriting has become more and more cursive, letters have loops. The handwriting exhibits the style of the time, for instance, in the 17th century it becomes baroque (e.g. letters have ornaments). At the beginning of the 19th century, major changes in handwriting occurred because of the influence of the school and because of the introduction of the steel pen. In 1941 a Nazi law abolished German handwriting. This was the end of its 400 years of history.