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Boustrophedon script

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Boustrophedon script

Postby swiftnicholas » Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:54 pm

I was in the Metropolitian Museum of Art last week, and I spent time in the Ancient Greek and Roman section trying to read some of the Greek inscriptions. I noticed something interesting about one of the grave markers. It consisted of two lines of dactyllic hexameter, and a third line identifying the sculptor; but the first line was written from right-to-left, the second line started at the left side and ran back to the right, and the third line started at the right and ran back to the left again. The plate called that method [face=spionic]boustrofhdo/n[/face] script, after how the ox turns in the field. It said that the Phoenicians wrote right-to-left, and that the early Greek practice was varied.

I thought that interesting.
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Postby mingshey » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:52 am

In some period that they began to adapt a new writing system, they must have been at a loss at the idea of breaking lines. They must have thought words must be, as how it is spoken, written continuously.
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Postby swiftnicholas » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:25 am

They must have thought words must be, as how it is spoken, written continuously.


That makes a lot of sense.

I can also understand the motivations for standardizing the left-to-right line: then you don't have to learn to read and write each character foward and backward, and writing from left-to-right would probably be more comfortable---for the righthanded at least.

Do you suppose that scripts written from right-to-left originated with lefthanded scribes? Or just by chance? Or another reason?
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Postby swiftnicholas » Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:20 am

A couple of weeks ago, I found this recreation of Iliad A into an Attic script, but I only just realized that it's written in boustrophedon script. Fun :D

http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/iliad_arthur.pdf

[EDIT]I was mistaken: that file contains all of the Iliad, not just the first book. And that website offers the Odyssey too.[/EDIT]
Last edited by swiftnicholas on Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mingshey » Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:03 am

Hey, I was wondering whether discussing about typesetting boustrophedon would be sane or not. And what an insane work you have found out! :shock: :!: :!: :!:

Why don't you post this awesome site on "Outside Links of Interest" board?
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