Gothic Letters

. The ancient Goths were converted to Christianity by the Greek priests, and they probably introduced their letters with their religion, about the reign of Galienus. Towards the middle of the third century, Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica, and a Greek priest named Audius, spread Christianity among the Goths; the former of these is much extolled by Basil the Great, and the latter by Epiphanius. The ancient Gothic alphabet consisted of six­teen letters; they are so similar to the Greek that their derivation cannot be doubted. Those writers are certainly mistaken who attribute the invention of the Gothic letters to Ulphilas, Bishop of Mœsia, who lived in the fourth century. The gospels translated by him into the Gothic language, and written in ancient Gothic characters about the year 370, were formerly kept in the library of the monastery of Werden; but this MS. is now preserved in the library of Upsal, and is known among the learned by the title of the “Silver Book of Ulphilas,” because it is bound in massive silver. Several editions of this MS. have been printed. See a specimen of it in Hickes’s “Thesaurus,” vol. i., pref. p. 8. Dr. Hickes positively disallows this translation to be Ulphilas’, but says it was made by some Teuton or German, either as old, or perhaps older than Ulphilas; but whether this was so or not, the characters are apparently of Greek original.

Taken from Gesta Typographica by Chas. Jacobi, 1897, page 12.



Type Founding in Europe

Etienne Dolet



The first cylinder printing-machine

The first steam printing

Capitals and leads

About the Letters J and W

The Scriptures were first written on skins

The first iron printing-press


Gothic Letters

Type Founding in Europe

Pica Type

Long Primer



Newspapers were first printed

[The Vatican’s Printing Press]


Richard Pynson

Some Numerals