Roman Handwriting at the Time of Christ

Author: Berry, Paul


“Readers will find that the latest book by Paul Berry is his best to date. In a series of well-organized chapters, the reader is taken on a guided tour of the various parts of the Roman world of the 1st century. The text is illustrated not by indistinct photographs, but by exact ink reproductions of the Latin letter forms written at the time. The facsimiles of the penmanship styles are of the highest clarity, and are accompanied by parallel restatements of the original scripts, in modern typeface. English translations are also joined to each specimen. As a result, the lay reader is able to follow every exhibit with a growing sense of excitement.” – Robert J. Edgeworth

“A unique view of the Roman Empire during the 1st century AD. The author has gathered Latin scripts from scattered provinces of the Commonwealth. Few such examples have survived in more than fragmentary condition, yet the specimens are shown to possess a remarkable regularity. The stylistic variations range from the formal alphabet of a professional scribe to the freehand penmanship of a Roman centurion. This is a valuable sourcebook, with an extended bibliography. The selections that are reproduced, many of them published here for the first time, draw together references which, before, had been available only from widely separated archives.” – Frank T. Coulson

“The work draws on examples from Britain, Gaul, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt and Italy to show not only the variety, but the consistency of script Latin through the length of the Empire. Samples taken from either east or west in the Commonwealth illustrate that Roman penmanship was universally recognized in countries around the Mediterranean basin and far beyond. For scholars who work with Latin script, and its social context, Berry’s monograph provides a valuable new resource.” – Philip Freeman

“This monograph is critical for any discussion regarding the language of the earliest Church: whether Greek or Latin. The author demonstrates that script Latin was universally recognized through the Empire, from Britain in the west to the Persian Gulf in the east. Using the far flung evidence of 1st century Roman handwriting – many of the examples never published before – it is shown that Latin would have been the carrying vehicle for the New Testament from the earliest age of Christianity.” – Michael Davies