The Evil Conspiracy to Capitalise Lettering


Because the titles of court cases identify the parties in all capital letters, the persons identified are theorised by the OPCA movement to be “fictitious entities” and “STATE v. JOHN Q. SMITH” has no authority over the defendant, “John Q. Smith” because the capitalization of the name means the court is addressing a person who does not exist. Similar arguments have also been raised unsuccessfully about things such as the presence or absence of punctuation, or of a middle name or middle initial.

A fundamental part of the OPCA “strawman concept” is that capital lettering implies “loss of status” due to the Ancient Roman doctrine of “Capitis diminutio maxima, media, and minima”. There were three rankings of legal status or recognition in Roman law, “Capitis diminutio minima” denoting the highest status, “Capitis diminutio media” the middle class, and “Capitis diminutio maxima” the lowest status, that of a slave.

This we know to be a historic fact, in an ancient empire, at a time when slavery was a commonly accepted practice throughout the known world, and every civilized society required laws to govern the keeping of slaves. OPCA theory however… places a whole additional meaning on the doctrine of “Capitis diminutio maxima, media, and minima”.

The theory insists that when writing the ‘Roman persons’ name, the “Capitis maxima” part implied CAPITAL or UPPER CASE LETTERING, while the “minima” implied LOWER CASE LETTERING. 

This concept was obviously created in haste though, as they were desperately mining outdated law dictionaries for an obscure Latin phrase to suit the new conspiracy theory about capital lettering. There was a fundamental fact they overlooked completely, and it appears everyone that believes this theory also has, due to a complete absence of fact-checking.

FACT: When “Capitis diminutio maxima, media, and minima” existed in Roman law, THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS “LOWER-CASE” LETTERING for any such difference to exist. 

EVERYTHING was written in upper-case lettering in Ancient Rome, so “Capitis diminutio maxima, media, and minima” obviously had NOTHING to do with the case style!

The classical Roman Latin alphabet only has what we called “upper case”, or majuscule, letters. By the 4th century CE, a semi-cursive style called uncial was being used for handwriting. Uncial is considered a majuscule style but with rounded letters. Eventually this evolved into the minuscule style by the 8th century CE.

Originally the two styles were used separately, majuscules for monumental inscription, and minuscules for manuscripts. However, during the reign of Charles the Great (early 9th century CE) the Carolingian Reform forced the merging of the two styles and the creation of the “dual alphabet”. With this, our modern Roman alphabet was born.

The Latin alphabet started out as uppercase serifed letters known as roman square capitals. The lowercase letters evolved through cursive styles that developed to adapt the formerly inscribed alphabet to being written with a pen.

Roman cursive script, also called majuscule cursive and capitalis cursive, was the everyday form of handwriting used for writing letters, by merchants writing business accounts, by schoolchildren learning the Latin alphabet, and even by emperors issuing commands. A more formal style of writing was based on Roman square capitals, but cursive was used for quicker, informal writing. It was most commonly used from about the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, but it probably existed earlier than that.

The lower case (minuscule) letters developed in the Middle Ages from New Roman Cursive writing, first as the uncial script, and later as minuscule script. The old Roman letters were retained for formal inscriptions and for emphasis in written documents. The languages that use the Latin alphabet generally use capital letters to begin paragraphs and sentences and for proper nouns. The rules for capitalization have changed over time, and different languages have varied in their rules for capitalization. Old English, for example, was rarely written with even proper nouns capitalised; whereas Modern English of the 18th century had frequently all nouns capitalised, in the same way that Modern German is today.

Classical Latin was only ever written in uppercase letters without the letters J, U, or W. Lowercase was not invented until later and even then only one form of each letter was used. Two cases weren’t used until even later, by which time Latin was no longer anybody’s native language.

To unmask the origin of the capital letter we need to refer to a script derived from the Old Roman cursive called uncial. Uncial is a majuscule script, a synonym meaning “large or capital letter,” commonly used by Latin and Greek scribes beginning around the 3rd century AD. The word is derived from the Latin uncialis meaning “of an inch, of an ounce.”

The original twenty-one letters in the Latin alphabet are derived from the uncial style of writing. As the Latin alphabet was adapted for other languages over time, more letters were added that also incorporated the majuscule lettering thus giving us the Modern Latin alphabet from which the English alphabet is derived.

As the uncial script evolved, a smaller, more rounded and connected Greek-style lettering called minuscule was introduced around the 9th century AD. It soon became very common to mix miniscule and some uncial or capital letters within a word, the latter used to add emphasis. In contrast, many other writing systems such as the Georgian language and Arabic make no distinction between upper and lowercase lettering – a system called unicase.”

Designating, written in, or pertaining to a form of majuscule writing having a curved or rounded shape and used chiefly in Greek and Latin manuscripts from about the 3rd to the 9th century a.d.” “majuscule [ muh-juhskyool, maj-uh-skyool ] adjective (of letters) *capital*. large, as either capital or uncial letters. written in such letters (minuscule).”

“There were no lower case letters in the Old Latin at first, and K, Y and Z used only for writing words of Greek origin. The letters J, U and W were added to the alphabet at a later stage to write languages other than Latin. J is a variant of I, U is a variant of V, and W was introduced as a ‘double-v’ to make a distinction between the sounds we know as ‘v’ and ‘w’ which was unnecessary in Latin. The modern Latin alphabet consists of 52 letters, including both upper and lower case, plus 10 numerals, punctuation marks and a variety of other symbols such as &, % and @. The lowercase letters developed from cursive versions of the uppercase letters.” 

The evolution of the minuscule or lowercase letter

Simplified relationship between various scripts leading to the development of modern lower case of standard Latin alphabet and that of the modern variants Fraktur (used in Germany until 1940s) and Gaelic (used in Ireland). Several scripts coexisted such as half-uncial and uncial, which derive from Roman cursive and Greek uncial, and Visigothic, Merovingian (Luxeuil variant here) and Beneventan. The Carolingian script was the basis for blackletter and humanist minuscule. What is commonly called “Gothic writing” is technically called blackletter (here textualis quadrata) and is completely unrelated to Visigothic script. The letter j is i with a flourish, u and v are the same letter in early scripts and were used depending on their position in insular half-uncial and caroline minuscule and later scripts, w is a ligature of vv, in insular the rune wynn is used as a w (three other runes in use were the thorn (þ), ʻféʼ (ᚠ) as an abbreviation for cattle/goods and maðr (ᛘ) for man). The letters y and z were very rarely used, in particular þ was written identically to y so y was dotted to avoid confusion, the dot was adopted for i only after late-caroline (protogothic), in beneventan script the macron abbreviation featured a dot above. Lost variants such as r rotunda, ligatures and scribal abbreviation marks are omitted; long s is shown when no terminal s (the only variant used today) is preserved from a given script. Humanist script was the basis for Venetian types which changed little until today, such as Times New Roman (a serifed typeface).

Quite ironically, there is NO MENTION OF LETTERING in association with “Capitis diminutio maxima” where it all began from Blacks Law Dictionary either. 


“In the law of persons, status depended upon liberty, citizenship, and family; and the corresponding losses of status were known respectively as capitis diminutio maxima, media, and minima. The minima, by a fiction at least, was involved even when one became sui juris, although this is disputed.” 

The use of all capitals in text is considered proper drafting practice in headings and other special situations for typographical emphasis. YOUR NAME is often drafted as such for these reasons. It was the only way you could emphasise a word in a letter on an old typewriter. Using all caps in text is a common convention indicating that the writer should be envisioned as shouting, or speaking in a louder than normal voice. This use of all caps was popularized by users of online forums, where written language is often used to approximate verbal conversations. As such, the connotation is slightly different from that of italics and boldface, which indicate emphasis but are not necessarily intended to recall spoken language. ALL CAPS make it possible to provide tonal cues that would not otherwise be possible.

The following is a formal guide to the proper use of English and punctuation in Europe, (European Commission Directorate-General for Translation, English Style Guide. A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission). It states the effect of capitalization is EMPHASIS, there is nothing about capitalization that establishes any hidden meaning. Capitalization is covered at pages 23 to 30. 


Here in Australia, section 15AC of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) and section 14C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) both provide that:

Changes in style or drafting practices do not affect the meaning of a provision.


Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) S 14C:

Changes of drafting practice not to affect meaning If—  (a) a provision of an Act expresses an idea in particular words; and a provision enacted later appears to express the same idea in different words for the purpose of implementing a different legislative drafting practice, including, for example-

  • (i) the use of a clearer or simpler style; or
  • (ii) the use of gender-neutral language; the ideas must not be taken to be different merely because different words are used.

Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) S 15AC:

Changes to style not to affect meaning Where:

  • (a) an Act has expressed an idea in a particular form of words; and
  • (b) a later Act appears to have expressed the same idea in a different form of words for the purpose of using a clearer style; the ideas shall not be taken to be different merely because different forms of words were used.

It should be noted that there is a legal principle known as Idem sonans (Latin for “sounding the same”) which states that similar sounding names are just as valid in referring to a person. The relevant UK precedent is R v Davis 1851:

“If two names spelt differently necessarily sound alike, the court may, as matter of law, pronounce them to be idem sonantia; but if they do not necessarily sound alike, the question whether they are idem sonantia is a question of fact for the jury.” 

Romley Stewart Stover’s concept of “Glossa” also requires the alleged “loss of status” borrowed from the theory that Capitis Diminutio maxima, media and minima had something to do with lettering. Therefore the addition of this interpretation of what capital lettering could possibly represent is quite meaningless. Note the “Glossa’s” at the bottom of this page written in lower-case lettering, and that Romley Stover is not writing hand signs for deaf people, so how American sign language is written is very irrelevant.

His severe misconceptions are further discussed in The Romley Stewart Deception by Justinian. This is a good example of what can happen when an initial “false premise” is taken as gospel, it matters not how much logical reasoning one applies to subsequent related ideas, if the foundation of the premise is false to begin with, the conclusions reached are likewise false. In this case, total gobbledygook.

Rohan Lorian Hilder claimed that The Vindolanda Tablets is lowercase lettering in Ancient Rome, and I had to point out that the photo below is not lowercase or minuscule. It is called New Roman Cursive. The Old Roman cursive, also called majuscule cursive and capitalis cursive, was the everyday form of handwriting used for writing letters. A more formal style of writing was based on Roman square capitals, but cursive was used for quicker, informal writing. It was most commonly used from about the 1st century BC. New Roman cursive, also called minuscule cursive or later Roman cursive, developed from old Roman cursive. It was used from approximately the 3rd century to the 7th century, and uses letter forms that are more recognizable to modern readers; “a”, “b”, “d”, and “e” have taken a more familiar shape, and the other letters are proportionate to each other rather than varying wildly in size and placement on a line. These letter forms were in part the basis for the medieval script known as Carolingian minuscule. The first examples of lowercase lettering is the Carolingian minuscule, in the late 8th century and early 9th.  The lower case (minuscule) letters developed in the Middle Ages from New Roman Cursive writing, first as the uncial script, and later as minuscule script.


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