Blackletter A Uncial A
Uncial A Another Capital A Another Blackletter A
Modern Roman A Modern Roman A Modern Italic A Modern Italic A Modern Script A Modern script A
When the ancient Greeks adopted the alphabet, they had no use for the glottal stop—the first phoneme of the Phoenician pronunciation of the letter, and the sound that the letter denoted in Phoenician and other Semitic languages—so they used an adaptation of the sign to represent the vowel /a/, and gave it the similar name of alpha. In the earliest Greek inscriptions after the Greek Dark Ages, dating to the 8th century BC, the letter rests upon its side, but in the Greek alphabet of later times it generally resembles the modern capital letter, although many local varieties can be distinguished by the shortening of one leg, or by the angle at which the cross line is set.
The Etruscans brought the Greek alphabet to their civilization in the Italian Peninsula and left the letter unchanged. The Romans later adopted the Etruscan alphabet to write the Latin language, and the resulting letter was preserved in the Latin alphabet used to write many languages, including English.
Typographic variants include a double-storey a and single-storey ɑ.
During Roman times, there were many variations on the letter "A". First was the monumental or lapidary style, which was used when inscribing on stone or other "permanent" mediums. For perishable surfaces, what was used for everyday or utilitarian purposes, a cursive style was used. Due to the "perishable" nature of the surfaces, these examples are not as prevalent as the monumental. This perishable style was called cursive and numerous variations have survived, such as majuscule cursive, minuscule cursive, and