Alphabetum Romanum

Vat. lat. 6852 - Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Alternate Titles:

Alphabetum Romanum of Felice Feliciano, Alphabetum Romanum des Felice Feliciano

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Alternate Titles

Alphabetum Romanum of Felice Feliciano
Alphabetum Romanum des Felice Feliciano

Extent / Format

42 pages / 18.0 x 12.5 cm

Artist / School

Felice Feliciano

Short description

The Alphabetum Romanum is a manuscript by the Italian humanist Felice Feliciano. By the use of epigrams, 25 letters of the alphabet were reconstructed, which were depicted in their original form with the help of geometric forms. The colored codex is a historically significant work and had a great influence of the history of script.

Facsimile editions available


Alphabetum Romanum

Around 1460, a codex arose in Italy that was of utmost importance for the history of script. The Alphabetum Romanum was the first handwritten treatise, in which the alphabet was reconstructed on the basis of Roman epigraphs. With the help of geometric forms, more precisely of circles and squares, the capital letters of the Roman language were correctly reproduced.
The paper was authored by Felice Feliciano, an Italian calligrapher, alchemist, and expert of Roman history. Feliciano was born near Verona around 1433 and died in Rome in 1479, shortly after the discovery of Italian book printing was achieved. His alphabet is the basis for the font “Felix Titling”, which was programmed by the American company Monotype for typewriters and computers.
Feliciano depicted 25 letters. Every letter is found inside of a circle, which is bordered by a square. He achieved symmetry and perfect form with the help of these geometric ledger lines. The handwritten letters are colored differently. Beneath every character is a short passage in red letters, which contains studies and explanations by Feliciano. The historically significant original edition resides today in the Apostolic Library of the Vatican.

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