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Ogham

From Academic Kids

Ogham letters
Beith Ailm
Luis Onn
Fearn Úr
Sail Eadhadh
Nion Iodhadh
Uath Éabhadh
Dair Ór
Tinne Uilleann
Coll Ifín
Ceirt Eamhancholl
Muin Peith
Gort
nGéadal
Straif
Ruis
Ogham

Ogham (Old Irish Ogam) was an alphabet used primarily to represent Gaelic languages that was probably often written in wood in early times. The main flowering of the use of "classical" Ogham in stone seems to be 5th6th century AD. Monumental Ogham inscriptions are found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, and the Isle of Man, mainly employed as territorial markers and memorials. The more ancient examples are standing stones, script being carved into the edge (droim or faobhar) of the stone, which forms a stemline against which individual characters are cut. Text is read beginning from the bottom left-hand side of a stone, continuing upward, across the top and down the right-hand side in the case of long inscriptions. Inscriptions written on stemlines cut into the face of the stone, instead of along its edge, are known as "scholastic", and are of a later date (post 7th century). Notes were also commonly written in Ogham in manuscripts down to the sixteenth century.

Ogham alphabet
Ogham alphabet

Some people have theorized that Ogham could also be used as a secret gestural cypher, because of its structure: the fingers of one hand, using the nose or shin or any other "straight" edge as a stemline could, it is suggested, be used to signal individual Ogham letters, which, it is asserted, could be readily read by an Ogham practitioner. There doesn't appear to be any evidence to support this theory.

The Ogham alphabet consists of twenty-five distinct characters (feda), the first twenty of which are considered to be primary, the last five (forfeda) supplementary. The four primary series are called aicmí (plural of aicme "family"). Each aicme was named after its first character (Aicme Beithe, Aicme hÚatha, Aicme Muine, Aicme Ailme, "the B Group", "the H Group", "the M Group", "the A Group"). Some of the names and all of the values of the forfeda are open to question.

Ogham is sometimes referred to as the "Celtic Tree Alphabet".

See also

External links

cs:Ogam da:Ogam de:Ogam fr:Écriture oghamique ga:Ogham nl:Ogham pl:Pismo ogamiczne

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