An enlarged and decorated letter introducing an important section of a text.
An enlarged and decorated letter introducing an important section of a text. Initials can have different levels of significance, according to the divisions of the text or their place within a program of decoration (see Hierarchy). Among these levels are major initials, minor initials (sometimes in several grades), litterae florissae, and more frequent minor textual breaks: these latter are marked by litterae notabiliores, which serve as an adjunct to punctuation. Major and minor initials can be painted or rendered in pen (see Penwork initial). Among the most common forms of initials are decorated, anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, zoo-anthropomorphic, gymnastic, inhabited, or historiated.
- Italian:Capolettera; Iniziale
- Spanish:Capital; Inicial
Michelle Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).
Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007), 25-30.