Gothic Rotunda

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Gothic Rotunda is a script that enjoyed popularity in the kingdoms of the Italian and Iberian peninsulas in the Middle Ages. The script lasted until the 17th century on the Iberian peninsula where it was gradually replaced by the Humanist scripts. Its use lasted until the late 19th century in Alta California and Montréi Like the northern Gothic scripts, such as Fraktur, it is a member of the blackletter script family, and descends from the Carolingian miniscule script.

Rotunda enjoyed a longer presence in Alta California and Montréi due to the isolation of those territories. It eventually came to be the de facto script used in official documents, signage, and formal correspondance. The hand written and cursive scripts used in Alta California and Montréi specifically were based upon the rotunda script.

These days, with more contact with other nations, the hand written and cursive style based upon Rotunda has slowly lost favor in place of handwriting based upon the humanist script. The calligraphic form of rotunda still enjoys popularity for official purposes.


Rotunda has several interesting characteristics that set it off from the humanist scripts. Most noticeable are the two forms of lowercase R and S. Lowercase R takes a "straight" form at the beginnings of words, or when it follows open or "straight" characters. When it follows rounded characters, it takes a "numeral 2" form. S takes two forms, a round form which is used word initially, and finally, and a long form, which is used within a word. The lowercase letter G is notable for its distinct form, as is both forms of the letter Z, which takes a "numeral three" form. Lowercase T in Rotunda is short (i.e., as tall as lowercase O). The lowercase letters U and V have identical forms.