Resources for Old Italic

 

 

On this page are some resources for working with the Old Italic block of Unicode, the characters in which were used to write a number of languages used in ancient Italy.  (Chart of characters is here, discussion is in Chapter 8 of The Unicode Standard.)  These materials are free to download. 

 

 

Italica Vetus Font

 

This font contains the Old Italic block of Unicode, a large number of glyph variants of these characters, Basic Latin and a number of other characters useful to scholars.  The glyph variants can be accessed either through the OpenType Character Variants feature or through the Private Use Area.  The font will work on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. 

 

Version 1.2 of the font adds over twenty additional shapes and some expanded OpenType features, along with a few corrections and bug fixes.  As of August 9, 2017, the download now includes both dextroverse and sinistroverse versions of the font.  The two fonts are identical except for the direction of the glyphs.  See the section “Direction of Writing” in the updated manual About Italicia Vetus and also the charts for the sinistroverse font.

 

Italica Vetus is released under the Open Font License, version 1.1.  You are free to share the font with others as long as all files from the original archive are kept together.  The development of Italica Vetus was supported in part by the Universal Scripts Project (part of the Script Encoding Initiative in the Dept. of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley) under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

The shapes in this initial release are dextroverse (left to right).  I am interested in making a sinistroverse (right to left) version with mirrored shapes.  Please send me any comments about the first version.  I will make improvements if necessary and then create the sinistroverse version.

 

Click this link to download a ZIP file containing version the font and documentation.

 

To install the font on your computer:

·       Unzip the archive to an appropriate folder on your hard drive.  Most computers already have an unzip utility; just double-click the zip file and the process should begin.  If you need an unzip utility, there are many available; 7-Zip is a good option.

·       Open the folder where you unzipped the files.

·       Windows: right-click on the font file and choose Install from the context menu.

·       OS X: drag the font to the Font Book app, then choose Install.  Or Ctrl-click (right-click) on the font file and choose to open with Font Book.

 

 

 

Old Italic Keyboards

 

I have designed a keyboard layout to enter the Old Italic characters plus a few others useful to scholars.  Click this link to see a larger version (layout is the same for Mac and Windows). 

 

Version 3 of the keyboard layout adds the Arabic numerals on their usual keys via the Option key (Mac) or AltGr key (Windows).  Having the numerals available may be helpful for those who use AutoCorrect entries to access glyph variants as well as in other situations.

 

Windows

Click here for a zip file containing a Windows installer file plus installation instructions and documentation.

 

To install the keyboard on your computer:

·       Unzip the archive to an appropriate folder on your hard drive.  Most computers already have an unzip utility; just double-click the zip file and the process should begin.  If you need an unzip utility, there are many available; 7-Zip is a good option.

·       Open the folder where you unzipped the files then open the Old Italic Kbd Installer folder.

·       Double-click on setup.exe and confirm that you want to install this file.  Click Close when the process is done.  Old Italic will now be visible as a keyboard in the Language Bar.

·       On Windows 10, you may have to reboot the computer before Old Italic is available.

 

Mac OS X

Click here for a zip file containing Mac keyboard files plus installation instructions and documentation. 

 

To install the keyboard on your computer:

·       Unzip the archive to an appropriate folder on your hard drive.  Most computers already have an unzip utility; just double-click the zip file and the process should begin.  If you need an unzip utility, there are many available; 7-Zip is a good option.

·       Open the folder where you unzipped the files.  The installation instructions are in PDF form; read them, decide whether you want to install for all users or a single user, and follow the steps given in the PDF.

 

Note to High Sierra users:

There have been reports of custom keyboards that worked with previous versions of Mac OS no longer functioning under High Sierra.  My Mac does not have the horsepower to handle High Sierra, so I am not in a position to test this.  If anyone tries the Old Italic keyboard with High Sierra, please let me know the result.

 

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Last updated August 4, 2017.