A rubric is a flourish embellishing a signature; it's both decorative and a security feature. At least with regard to European languages, signatures are still used but rubrics were, as far as I can tell, abandoned. More or less when did they come in and out of style?

an old signature

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    I suspect that this may fall foul of evidential bias since documents that survive the passing of time are more likely to be important. Signatures on important documents (esp. legal docs) are more likely to carry embellished signatures than common correspondence. For example, Queen Elizabeth I included one in her signature, as did John Hancock whose fame largely comes from his signature. The result is that rubics may appear to be used more commonly than they actually were. – Steve Bird Aug 16 '17 at 6:22
  • Sometimes you'll see fancy initials or drawings instead of a simple "X" for "his mark" on documents. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any examples to link to. – bgwiehle Sep 8 '17 at 13:30
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    This article links to two datasets of signatures that might be useful if anyone feels like looking into this. – Denis de Bernardy Aug 1 '19 at 4:42
  • @SteveBird Very true. The rubrics must have lasted longer in some use cases than others. – Aaron Brick Aug 3 '19 at 4:20

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