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In Latin script typography, roman is one of the three main kinds of historical type, alongside blackletter and italic. Roman type was modelled from a European scribal manuscript style of the 15th century, based on the pairing of inscriptional capitals used in ancient Rome with Carolingian minuscules developed in the Holy Roman Empire.
During the early Renaissance, roman (in the form of Antiqua) and italic type were used separately. Today, roman and italic type are mixed, and most typefaces are composed of an upright roman style with an associated italic or oblique style.
Early roman typefaces show a variety of designs, for instance resembling what would now be considered blackletter. Printers and typefounders such as Nicolas Jenson and Aldus Manutius in Venice and later Robert Estienne in France codified the modern characteristics of Roman type, for instance an 'h' with a nearly straight right leg, serifs on the outside of the capital 'M' and 'N', and 'e' with level cross stroke, by the 1530s.
The name roman is customarily applied uncapitalized distinguishing early Italian typefaces of the Renaissance period and most subsequent upright types based on them, in contrast to Roman letters dating from classical antiquity.
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