Caslon's Pica Gothic

Can anyone help me locate this script geographically, historically and linguistically? The Y looks Hebrewish, the E  and U  are vaguely uncial/lombardic,  there is a Phi character, ... It must have been reasonably important for Caslon to include in his specimen, but doesn't fit in with anything that I know in the evolution of the Roman alphabet


  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 617
    edited March 2020
    This link may help you find what you need. There is also a link on the page to Unicode which covers this although there's no usage or historical information.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,723
    edited March 2020
    Yes, see the link provided by George. The Codex Argenteus manuscript of Wulfilas' translation of the Bible into Gothic is glorious: written in silver and gold ink on vellum dyed an imperial purple.

    The Caslon foundry made a lot of types for scholarly publishing by British universities, which accounts for the numerous historical scripts in their specimens.
  • Thanks very much, looking at the Codex Argenteus, it makes sense to me now. Though the written characters on the Codex are considerably more structurally coherent than Caslon's.
  • It's Gothic script invented by bishop Wulfila (311–383) for his translation of the bible into Gotic. The Codex Argenteus (~500-510) is a copy of the Wulfila-Bible.

    Your specimen is a part of the Lord's Prayer, which transcribes (German j instead of English y):

    atta unsar þu ïn himinam
    weihnai namo þein.
    qimai þiudinassus þeins.
    wairþai wilja þeins.
    swe ïn himina jah ana airþai.
    hlaif unsarana þana sinteinan gif uns himma daga.
    jah aflet uns þatei skulans sijaima.
    swaswe jah weis afletam þaim skulam unsaraim.
    jah ni briggais uns ïn fraistubnjai-
    ak lausei uns af þamma ubilin.
    unte þeina ïst þiudangardi
    jah mahts jah wulþus ïn aiwins.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,005
    Looks like a rush job, a monster with body parts assembled from a variety of sources.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,723
    It's based on the type cut for Junius' first printed edition of the Gothic Bible (Dordrecht, 1665).

    See ‘Incunabula’s recent Twitter thread on the subject.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,005

    The specimen shown in Reed’s A History of the Old English Letter Foundries (1887, reprinted 1952) is neater than the OP. Therein lies the difference between Gothic and Gothick?
  • The cut-and-paste approach to letters like I, M, N, S, and T reminds me of Fell's Pica Runic, mentioned in the discussion on Elstob here. The R (and I?) similarly look a lot like they were just taken from another Roman type. This might've been a common time-saving occurrence for Latin-adjacent scripts in that era?

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,328
    ... in every era, I'd venture.
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