This script was christened Uncial either because it was 'curved' (Latin uncus, 'a hook'), or because the letters were an uncia 'inch' high - if indeed this was the script which St Jerome was talking about. 'Christened' is an apposite word, since although this script was first developed in the later Roman Empire (2nd to 4th centuries AD) for use in literary and other formal manuscripts, it was taken over by the early Christian church as its major bookhand.
Here is a facsimile of a piece (not a full page) of Roman Uncial script from Rome: Vatican Library MS Basilicanus D.182, folio 298 r. It is a theological text, copied in Italy after AD 510. It is workmanlike rather than elegant: next week we shall see the heights of artistry to which this script can rise.
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© MEG TWYCROSS 1999