Medieval Writing
The History of x (2)

In the document hands and later cursive book hands, x can develop a range of loops and curls, leading to a diversity of forms. The descender, when present, can loop in either direction. Occasionally it may resemble either y or p, especially when those letters are written in a particularly cursive style.

protogothic x In this formal protogothic example of a document hand from the 12th century, x is compact and angular.
protogothic x In a less formally scribed writ of the reign of Henry II, the letter x is strongly sloped and extended.
cursiva anglicana x In this example of cursiva anglicana, which first appeared in the 13th century, x has a long curling descender which curves to the right.
charter x In this formal ecclesiastical charter of the 13th century, the letter x has a desender which curls slightly to the right.
chancery x In this example of the formal English chancery hand of the 13th century, based on cursiva anglicana, x has a similar lopsided appearance to the example above.
chancery x This example of x from an early 13th century writ is almost identical to the above.
French cursive x This 14th century example of x from a French cursive document hand shows a letter written in fully cursive manner with a single penstroke, creating a closed loop on the right.
English cursive x In this 15th century cursive English book hand the x has a curly descender which forms two closed loops.
cursive charter x This example of x from an English 15th century charter is exceedingly cursive.
charter x In another 15th century charter, x has the double closed loop form.
batarde x This example of x from a formal and mannered version of French bâtarde script has a fractured appearance, and the descender looping to the right is actually disconnected from its crosspiece.
lat chancery x In the later English chancery hand, as shown here from an Elizabethan document of conservative penmanship and formal quality, x has the double closed loop form.
cursive x In this endorsement on a mid 15th century petition to the English chancery, the x is of the single line cursive form, with a flourishing descender.
cursive book hand x In this late 15th or early 16th century cursive French book hand x is open, strongly sloping, straight and neat.

Humanistic book hands, as usual, reverted to the neat, rounded, carefully written form derived from Caroline minuscule.

humanistic display x In this example from a 15th century Italian book hand, x is compact and neat, with only a tiny thin diagonal extension at the bottom.
humanistic minuscule x This 16th century example dates from after the advent of printing and has produced a neat x which sits neatly within the confines of a small letter.
The letter x becomes most variable in the later cursive scripts. Any confusion that there might be with other letters is usually easy to overcome just by looking at the word it is in. After all, there are not all that many words containing x.
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Histories of Individual Letters

History of Scripts
What is Paleography?

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