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Calligraphy (from Greek καλλι- calli "beauty" + γραφος graphos "writing") is the art of decorative writing. A particular style of calligraphy is described as a hand.

Western Calligraphy

Early alphabets had evolved by about 3000 BC. From the Greek alphabet evolved the Latin alphabet. They used capital letters for stone carving[?] and lower case letters for writing on papyrus scrolls and wax tablets.

Long, heavy rolls of papyrus were replaced by the Romans with the first books, initially simply folded pages of parchment made from animal skins. Reed[?] pens were replaced by quill pens.

Christianity gave a boost to the development of writing through the prolific copying of the Bible and other sacred texts.

Uncial letters were used by monks in Ireland, Scotland and other places, hence the name 'Insular style' for this type of writing. This was also the heyday of the illuminated manuscript.

Charlemagne made a big difference to the spread of beautiful writing by bringing Alcuin, the Abbot of York, to his capital of Aachen. Alcuin undertook a major revision of all styles of script and all texts. He then developed a new 'hand' named after his patron Charlemagne: "Carolingian minuscule style".

The Gothic alphabet followed in the 11th century, and Italy contributed Chancery and Italic[?] scripts.

What followed was the heyday of the illuminated manuscript.

Hand-written and hand-decorated books went out of fashion for a while after the invention of printing by Johann Gutenberg in the 15th century.

However, at the end of the 19th century, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement rediscovered and popularised calligraphy. Many famous calligraphers were influenced by Morris, especially Edward Johnston[?], Eric Gill and others.

Today, calligraphy is very popular yet again, judging from the plethora of books and classes on the market.

Chinese calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy typically uses brush to write Chinese characters. Calligraphy or (書法 shu fa) is considered an important art in China.

Chinese and Japanese calligraphy have influenced most major art styles in East Asia, including sumi-e, a style of Japanese painting based entirely on calligraphy.

Middle eastern calligraphy

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