History of Western Calligraphy
Chinese calligraphy history dated back to 4000 years ago. No one can tell exactly when Chinese written language appeared. The oldest language discovered now is Jia Gu Wen, written on the shells of turtles. However, Jia Gu Wen is not a matured written language.
Jia Gu Wen is a script used mainly in Shang dynasty (1600 B.C. -- 1046 B.C.). It's still used in West Zhou dynasty (1046 B.C.-- 771 B.C.) although Da Zhuan is also used at that time. Jia Gu Wen already was written very artistically. But we can not say at that time calligraphy had already been an art.
Qin Shi Huang united the old China in 221 B.C. The official language used in Qin dynasty was Xiao Zhuan. Calligraphy had already been an art at that time. Calligraphy works of Qin dynasty are always high evaluated by calligraphers in history.
Western calligraphy is recognizable by the use of the Roman alphabet, which evolved from the Phoenician, Greek, and Etruscan alphabets. The first Roman alphabet appeared about 600 BC, in Rome, and by the first century developed into Roman imperial capitals carved on stones, Rustic capitals painted on walls, and Roman cursive for daily use. In the second and third centuries the Uncial lettering style developed. It was the monasteries which preserved the calligraphy traditions during the fourth and fifth centuries, when the Roman Empire fell and Europe entered the Dark Ages.
At the height of the Roman Empire its power reached as far as Great Britain; when the empire fell, its literary influence remained. The Semi-uncial generated the Irish Semi-uncial, the small Anglo-Saxon. Each region seemed to have develop its own standards following the main monastery of the region (i.e. Merovingian script, Laon script, Luxeuil script, Visigothic script, Beneventan script) which are mostly cursive and hardly readable.
When, in the tenth century, the Turks migrated to the West from their original home in the steppes of northwest China, they came into contact in Turkestan, Afghanistan and Iran with the religion and culture of the Islamic world. The mass conversion to Islamic, which resulted from this migration, was accompanied by the abandonment of the old Uyghur alphabet they had formerly employed and the adoption of the Arabic script they were to use for nearly a thousand years until the introduction of the new Turkish alphabet in 1928. But the inherently artistic nature of the Turks inspired them with deep love for the Arabic script, which they themselves greatly improved by the introduction of a number of changes in form.