A Little Times Roman History


Trajan’s ColumnThe font that you see in many books and in just as many Web sites has a long and interesting history. Times Roman comes from the Roman alphabet, which was derived from the Greek alphabet via the ancient Etruscans who settled just above Rome. During Roman military encroachment and empire expansion, this alphabet was adopted and spread from England to the north, to Spain in the west, to Egypt in the south, and to the Persian Gulf in the east by the year 100 CE, when the Roman empire was at its height.

The reason why this typeface spread and was adopted was because the Romans used a single language (Latin), one writing style and a consistent government for centuries. A preeminent example of the beauty of structure and weight of the Roman capital letters is seen in the inscription at the base of Trajan’s column in Rome carved in 114 CE (shown here). This inscription is regarded as the finest example of quality chisel-cut lettering and shows the introduction of serifs.

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