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According to Dutch scholar Gerard Lieftinck, the pinnacle of black-letter use occurred in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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The letters a, g, and s (at the end of a word) are very similar to their Carolingian forms.

However, not all of these features are found in every example of cursiva, which makes it difficult to determine whether or not a script may be called cursiva at all.

The term Gothic was first used to describe this script in 15th-century Italy, in the midst of the Renaissance, because Renaissance Humanists believed it was barbaric. Flavio Biondo, in Italia Illustrata (1531) thought it was invented by the Lombards after their invasion of Italy in the 6th century.

Not only were black-letter forms called Gothic script, but any other seemingly barbarian script, such as Visigothic, Beneventan, and Merovingian, were also labeled "Gothic".

Blackletter developed from Carolingian as an increasingly literate 12th-century Europe required new books in many different subjects.

New universities were founded, each producing books for business, law, grammar, history, and other pursuits, not solely religious works for which earlier scripts typically had been used.

Littera cursiva currens was used for textbooks and other unimportant books and it had very little standardization in forms.

Hybrida is also called bastarda (especially in France), and as its name suggests, is a hybrid form of the script.

The usual form, simply littera textualis, was used for literary works and university texts.

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