"Ancient Writing and its Influence" by B.L. Ullman discusses the history
of the Latin script and the development of lowercase in great detail.
You can usually find a copy fairly cheap on abebooks.com.

Basically, there were capital letters, then as people wrote more, and
also more quickly, they started developing cursive forms, and ligatures,
and so on. Many different styles emerged, including uncial and
so-called "half-uncial", often using what we would recognize as
minuscule forms. There were national hands all over Europe, etc.
Eventually it all came down to Carolingian Humanist script, which spread
all over the continent and supplanted just about all the existing
national hands (except the "Gothic" in Germany and a bit in England, and
the uncial in Ireland). It is the basis for our current writing system,
including our printed letters, which were based on some of the fine,
careful Humanistic hands of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Meanwhile, all along the capitals existed, and often two different
writing styles would be used side-by-side, say, titles in uncial and
text in half-uncial, or titles in capitals and text in uncial, and so
on. So the capitals never disappeared, and were used for titling and
the beginnings of texts, and eventually the beginnings of certain words
in texts, and so on.

I've crunched the history down probably beyond all recognition, but
that's the essential outline.


ዳንኤል ያዕቆብ (Daniel Yacob) wrote:

>>In general, people drew larger letters at the
>>beginnings of things. Then they did the same at
>>the beginnings of Important Things.
>thanks, the use is unchanged then. this rings a bell now with the
>little history I learned in calligraphy training. so does the history
>follow as: letter glyps were the "caps" as we label them today, they
>were enlarged for emphasis, small (unemphasized) letters then morphed
>into the their own shapes over time?
>I'd still be interested to know the period of the lowercase evolution.
> which script developed lowercase letters first? when did the others
>At the time letter enlargement was introduced as a means of emphasis,
>what other forms of emphasis were already in use?
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