Medieval Writing
The History of k

The letter k was not unknown in Latin, but it was rare. It is not actually part of the Latin language, but appears occasionally in proper nouns, personal or place names, of exotic origin, particularly Greek. It therefore makes only occasional random appearances in our example sets here.

rustic capital K This example from the rustic capital script will have to suffice for the older scripts, showing the open, angular form of the majuscule K.
In the pre-Carolingian minuscule scripts or National Hands, the variants on k appear rarely, mostly in Germanic names.
Germanic k This example of Merovingian minuscule or Germanic book hand shows a tall open k.
insular minuscule k This 12th century example of insular minuscule from a bilingual charter shows k in English words, in open for with a wedged top to the ascender.
curialis k In the old curialis of the papal chancery, k is thin and spidery.
In Carolingian scripts, the upper loop of k became closed.
diplomatic minuscule k This example from 12th century diplomatic minuscule of the papal chancery is tall, as is usual in this style of script, with a closed upper loop and a wedged top.
imperial k In this example from 12th century diplomatic minuscule of the Imperial German chancery, the letter k is even more drastically elongated.
In the formal Gothic book hands, the letter k, when it appears, has a closed upper loop. Heads and feet are given the same general treatment accorded to toher letters.
Gothic textura k This 13th century Gothic textura k of medium grade, from an English language text, gives the general prototype.
Gothic textura k A 15th century Dutch language formal Gothic textura k shows minor variations on the same theme.
In document hands and later cursive scripts, the letter k could become more elaborate.
more about k
Histories of Individual Letters

History of Scripts
What is Paleography?

If you are looking at this page without frames, there is more information about medieval writing to be found by going to the home page (framed) or the site map (no frames).
This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 23/8/2006.