Ancient Coin Visual Keyboard update - Old Italic

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Gil-galad, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad I AM SPARTACUS


    This font here is Alphabetum, which displays the letters facing right. Segoe UI Historic displays the characters facing left as Latin and Greek is.

    I have more work and research to do, this is my latest section. It's Old Italic which can handle Etruscan, Oscan, Lugano, Old Latin and a few others.

    I made these keyboards to help me learn and display ancient extinct languages. When I started, the only well supported scripts were Latin, Greek and Arabic. Now there are over 10. Greek has also been expanded to support the Greek Alphabet, lower and upper case. Greek Alphabet numbers are also here for those that have been wanting a easier way to use Greek numbers on Greek and Provincial coinage. Also very useful for workshop numbers on Tetrarchy, Constantinian and later Roman coins.
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  3. Silverlock

    Silverlock Supporter! Supporter

    This is awesome. Thanks!
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  4. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Very nice! Were any coins inscribed in Old Italic? I can't think of any offhand except Latin and Oscan?
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  5. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad I AM SPARTACUS

    There is a thread here that you can find a lot of coins that are supported and some that are not. You can also do a search for script names at

    This is a good way of tracking down coins with unsupported scripts and ones that are.
  6. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    A few points relating to terminology:

    Italic (writing) is the term present day calligraphers and typographers use to describe the Cancery writing scripts (Cancellaresca corsiva & formata) formulated by the early 1500s Italian renaissance writing masters.

    The letterforms used in Roman coin inscriptions are based on the CAPITALIS MONUMENTALIS letterforms of the Ancient Roman stone cutters and are well approximated by the present day Times New Roman typography font.

    I always convert the entire text of my CT posts to that font via the drop down menu choice at the top of the posting window in order to produce reasonable inscriptional lettering facsimiles.

    My handwritten rendition of CAPITALIS MONUMENTALIS lettering (also in my avatar):


    Roman Imperial coin inscriptional letterforms are based on those of CAPITALIS MONUMENTALIS employed by stone cutters for edifices, monuments, tombstones, etc. A fine extant example is found on Trajan's column in Rome and the essential constructs of these letterforms are the models for all Majuscule (Capital) alphabets used in the western world. Stone cutters in particular still employ their distinctive proportions and terminating serifs. It should be noted that only twenty letters were normally used in the ancient Roman alphabet: A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T V X. Our modern J and U were not used, their equivalents being I and Vrespectively. Thus, our modern JULIUS was written IVLIVS. The letter K was seldom used and then only before A. The letters Y and Z were only used when reproducing Greek words. W was not part of the ancient Roman alphabet at all. It was Medieval scribes who formalized the construction models for the letters J K U W Y Z.

    There are numerous excellent photographs of actual CAPITALIS MONUMENTALIS lettering (including that on Trajan's column) mostly accompanied by location information, translations and analyses, at Bill Thayer's Latin Inscriptions section of his LacusCurtius web site

    Although in general the inscriptional letterforms employed by Roman Imperial coin die engravers, particularly those of the early Empire, closely follow CAPITALIS MONUMENTALISletterforms there are some subtle differences, mostly resulting from the limited space available on coins for inscriptional lettering. Most notably, they were modified to produce closer spacing and a compaction of the wide letters C O Q and M resulting in more uniform and "square" lettering. The essential letterform constructs were closely followed for coins of the early to mid Empire who's inscriptions are generally stately and elegant: E and F have equal length horizontal bars; A has a sharp apex; V has a sharp junction; the bowls of B P R S are always nicely formed. P is frequently rendered on Imperial coins with an open bowl, i.e. not touching the vertical stem at the bottom - especially on coins of the early Empire. The quality of Roman Imperial coin lettering reached its zenith on late period Julio-Claudian coins.

    Adaptation of Capitalis Monumentalis Letterforms by Coin Die Engravers


    The coin die engravers used a selection of chisels (burins), stamps and punches -- the quality of the lettering may therefor have depended to some extent on the skill of the tool makers. The size of the planchet and the quality of the coin metal would also be determining factors. Rendering well proportioned and constructed Capital Roman lettering has always demanded considerable skill and it seems there has always existed a disparity of skills among the crafstsmen who executed them -- regardless of the tools and media employed.

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
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  7. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad I AM SPARTACUS

    I have read both of your sites and know all about this information which is really useful and well done.

    In the case of this keyboard, you can select whatever font you like directly from the browser you use. Times New Roman is best for Latin and that font can be used. The other scripts require other fonts like Segoe UI Historic, Alphabetum, Unifont and Everson Mono.

    The full modern Latin alphabet is used for maximum compatibility for letters and die variations. If it's not useful for Roman Imperial, there are letters on Roman Provincial coinage that can be used.

    Old Italic is what this alphabet is called for Oscan, Old Latin, etc. It apparently is a cache all name for those ancient Italian scripts.


    I also added all your site links that I know about for ancient coins on this links page.

  8. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

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