Christianity

The history of the Latin alphabet and the history of Christianity are inextricably intertwined. It is impossible to overstate the importance of Christianity to the development of type in Europe, and by extension most of the Western Hemisphere. Johannes Gutenberg's efforts in developing movable type were in large part driven by his efforts to more economically and rapidly print the Catholic Bible.

The letter forms used in texts written in the Latin script were modeled on scribal handwriting, and many modern adaptations to Latinate scripts of spoken languages in the Americas were done by Christian missionaries. Christianity was also integral to the preservation of Greek in Europe (as well as the development of polytonic Greek). Orthodox Christian monks also designed the Cyrillic alphabet as part of their efforts to bring Christianity to ancient Rus.

In addition, the Christianity of many of the most well-known type designers did much to shape their conception of scripts and type. Eric Gill is the designer whose Christianity is widely known to have affected his approach to letters, but many designers of blackletter and uncial alphabets (such as Rudolf Koch and Victor Hammer) also conceived of typecraft as a fundamentally religious activity.

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