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Of or written in a majuscule script with rounded unjoined letters which is found in European manuscripts of the 4th–8th centuries and from which modern capital letters are derived. The term is recorded from the late 17th century and comes from late Latin unciales littera ‘uncial letters’, the original application of which is unclear. (One explanation has been that the phrase stands for ‘letters of an inch long’ from Latin uncia ‘inch’; the emendations initiales ‘initial’ and uncinales ‘hooked, bent’ have also been suggested.)

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) — Bibliography.

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