Not neccesarily "free-spirited" glyph selection, just a wide range of alternates. For instance, on the Trajan inscriptions the letter I has variable heights.
Since there are going to be plenty of empty slots in this font, might as well fill them with thoughtfully designed alternates.
The abreviations in Tim's first sample are a basic late mediaeval set (and in this case even post-mediaeval): nri for nostri, Lateranen for Lateranensibus, pp for pape, etc.
If you like ligs, you'll love the early 12th century. This is from Moissac in the south of France.
Thanks for the correction, MH. It has been so long since I have been in London that I misplaced the Trajan cast.
I love your inscription photos. I find it wonderful to see that those ancient craftsmen ran out of room at the end of the line, just like I do. Hope springs eternal…
Something else: the #2 is not unlikely to cause technical issues, sometimes and maybe even often. It's possible that a viable work-around would be to have a normal empty blank space, but always replace it with a "that little triangle thing" character using OT.
Oh, Bonnie, I hadn't even noticed I was correcting you. I must have read your post too quickly, and seen V&A where you wrote Victorian.
I like your new hairdo §:)
If you're going to replace 'U' with 'V', you'll have to replace 'J' with 'I' as well, but you probably already knew that.
Then there's the C and G... But I actually wouldn't link those decisions too strongly, because there are a number of factors at play, and historical authenticity isn't everything (even assuming it can be adequately defined here). One factor is that of chronology, and exactly when the U, J and G were introduced, and by whom; another is that of potential ambiguities in actual names and words, and where you want to draw the line; a third is what people think is authentically Roman (and this is where I think the V/U stands out much more than the other two pairs). You can make the decision to limit the versatility of a font (not out of hooliganism, but out of a hope of helping it maintain its focus) but you can still worry about how it might be used (which is still the point of a font, in the end). For example, BVLGARI works, but IVICY wouldn't. :-)
An important source: L.C.Evetts. Roman Lettering: A Study of the Letters of the Inscription at the Base of the Trojan Column, With an Outline of the History of Lettering in Britain. London: Pitman, 1938.
Another important source: Walter Kaech. Rhythm and proportion in lettering [Rhythmus und Proportion in der Schrift], Olten und Freiburg im Breisgau: Walter-Verlag, 1956.
Wow. Is that an analysis showing the use of the Golden section? Those Romans were sick.
This is similar, for example, to what I've noticed about Johnston's Underground face. P22 has an accurate version of it with no lower case bold, etc. Font Bureau's Agenda has 54 styles. Where do you draw the line?
I would think that in this instance, with the desire of making the ULTIMATE ROMAN*, you'd want to keep everything optional. Of course, an intelligent and historically cognizant designer might realize that if you want to have all of your U's look like V's, G's look like C's, or J's look like I's, then all you have to do is type them that way.
So, with this in mind, I hearby proclaim point #1 from my list above null and void.
But still, no @ sign.
> all you have to do is type them that way.
Of course there's a truth in that, but there's also a danger, the one that I mentioned: the more you facilitate some people's use of the font in a way contrary to its "ideal" character*, the more they'll ruin it for everybody, because the font's associations become diluted in the public eye. On the other hand, having neither a "U", "J" nor a "C" could be said to be too puritanical, too limiting. So maybe a good compromise would be to default in the "archaic spelling" using OT and allow the user to revert to the "Modern" characters, but only proactively.
* I know this seems like a fascist attitude, and I'm all for being nicely surprised by unexpected usage, but I think this really is essentially a matter of long-term functionality. The key thing to me is that we already have highly (too?) versatile Trajan-style fonts, and Dan would be contributing more by being different.
> But still, no @ sign.
What's all this about C and G? OK, J and V achieved complete independence from I and and U only in the 19th century, but the Romans invented (or reinvented) G long before Trajan, as soon as they realised Etruscan letters were not enough for their own needs (since the Etruscans had lost the original sound of Greek gamma, and turned it into C).
Have you had a look at the font Senatus by Prof. Werner Schneider? Its based on the Trajan inscription. Here's a sample of it and some of his calligraphy.