Calligraphy writing is the art of beautiful writing, derived from the Greek kallos (beauty) and graphe (writing). Calligraphy has three major forms: Arabic, Western and oriental calligraphy, which developed independently in their own parts of the world.
Writing is derived from Neolithic cave paintings and other depictions which developed into pictograms and hieroglyphs, becoming more and more stylized until writing as we know it appeared. Today’s graffiti is a throwback to the markings made by prehistoric societies to indicate their presence and existence, and possibly mark out ancient territories and boundaries.
Writing was initially used as a means of imparting information, then developed into a method of recording history as well as communication between people separated by distance. Rather than send a verbal message through a trusted courier, it became more secure to write it down and have it delivered in a sealed container (now called an envelope!).
Apart from this functional use of writing, it was also used as an art form by historians and writers of religious texts. Each writer would have his own particular style, though the three distinct basic forms developed over a long period of time. Words began to be formed from individual letters rather than pictures, and it became possible to record abstract thought rather than ‘things’.
This ability to convey meanings rather than objects changed the recording of history. We know a great deal more about history since writing became established than previously. The ability to write, and read what was written, was originally possessed by a precious few, but as literacy was improved so did the lettering styles, which became clearer and more easy to read.
However, in the latter half of the 15th century, the invention of movable metal type and the first real printing press by Johannes Gutenberg signaled the death knell for the popular written word. By around 1510, handwriting was restricted to the religious illuminated texts, and the era of the printed word was upon us.