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OVTOS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 560 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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OVTOS 7LVWO'KEOE KQL OTL USWp EKQ.UTOS TWV OpWV T77V ag7r€Xov 4 vmuop. i' v 7rpOTEpOV) Here there is none of the linking of the letters which is seen in the other example: every letter stands distinct. But while the individual letters are clumsily written, the same laws govern their formation as in the other document. The shallow, wide-spread mu, the cursive nu, the small theta, omikron, and rho, are repeated. Here also is seen the tau, with its horizontal stroke confined to the left of the vertical instead of crossing it, and the undeveloped omega, which has the appearance of being clipped—both forms being characteristic of the 3rd, century B.C. The trained clerical hands of the 2nd century B.C. (fig. 3) differ generally from those of the earlier century in a more perfect and less cursive formation, the older shallow type gradually disappearing, and the linking of letters by horizontal strokes being less continuous. But the Ptolemaic character marks the handwriting well through the century; and it is only towards the close of that period and as the next century is entered, that the hand begins to give way and to lose altogether its linked style and the peculiar crispness of the strokes which give it its distinctive appearance. The cursive hand in its best style (e.g. N. et Extr. pls. xxviii., xxix.) is very graceful and exact: ?e-Irsr.t.)v 7-r-ru^rr? x•N.f-N-vs. r (vct. alwmv n uv Xpr)µarq'o'ova EuXa(3ecav 7poopwµevwv rlµWV Se) Towards the end of the Ptolemaic period material greatly fails. There are very few extant cursive documents between the years 8o and 20 B.C. But marks of decadence already appear in the examples of the beginning of the 1st century B.C. The general character of the writing becomes' slacker, and the forms of individual letters are less exact. 'These imperfections prepare us for the great change which was to follow. With the Roman period comes roundness of style, in strong contrast to the stiffness and rigid linking of the' Ptolemaic hand. Curves take the place of straight strokes in the individual letters, and even ligatures are formed in pliant sweeps of the pen. This transition from the stiff to the flexible finds some-thing of a parallel in the development of the curving and flexible English` charterhand of the 14th century from the rigid hand of the 13th century; following, it would seem, the natural law of relaxation. Roundness of style, then, is characteristic of Greek cursive writing in the papyri of the first three centuries of the Christian era, however much individual hands, or groups of hands, might vary among themselves. A specimen (fig. 4) of cursive writing of the general Roman type is selected from a papyrus (Brit. Mus. No. cxxxi.) which is of more than usual interest, as it is on the verso side of the rolls of which it is composed that the text of Aristotle's Constitution of Athens has been transcribed. It contains the farming accounts of the bailiff of Epimachus, son of Polydeuces, the owner of an estate in the nome of Hermopolis in the 9th and roth years of the reign of Vespasian, that is A.U. 78–79: C.--71.- 6-N ~' Ya•n J'7a`e,>.)^.RN ba 2Co 70 aIxrrck (r )Jw(olt. Cdr Fig. 4.-Farm Accounts, A. n. 78-79. (ETOUS EVSEKaTOU a- ovecr raolavov o 8avrovba7rava l rov /.MWOS X—ro & avrou E7rl uaxov e—) In the second half of the 1st century two styles of handwriting predominate in the cursive papyri. There is the clear and flowing hand, which may be termed the ordinary working hand; and there is also a small and very cursive style which appears in private correspondence and in legal contracts. The and century fellows on the same lines as the 1st century; but with the 3rd century decadence sets in; the writing begins to slope, and grows larger and rougher and tends to exaggeration. This exaggeration of the writing of the later Roman period leads the way to the pedantic exaggeration and formalism characteristic of the Byzantine period. In this period the general style of writing is on a larger scale than in the Roman; exaggeration in the size of certain letters marks the progress of the 4th century. Material is wanting for full illustration of the changes effected in the 5th century; but the papyri of the 6th century show a further advance in formalism, the common style being upright and compressed and full of flourishes. In the 7th century the hand assumes a sloping style, which always seems to accompany decadence, and grows very irregular and straggling. A specimen of the fully developed Byzantine hand of a legal type is here shown in a few lines from a lease of a farm (fig. 5) in the 6th century (Brit. Mus. pap. cxiii-3) : Fig. 5.-Lease of a Farm, 6th century. (—S avTWV TOU &Kal'ov E--S KM avT71S Kal EK TWV-
End of Article: OVTOS
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