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A Chinese scholar and government official named Wang Yirong is credited with realizing that some of these bones were inscribed with ancient writing and thus had historical significance.  Today, they are called “oracle bones” and they constitute the best window available into the history, language and culture of ancient China.  Because they involve specific dates, they are also an indispensible means of exploring the ancient Chinese calendar and its astronomical underpinnings

A Chinese scholar and government official named Wang Yirong is credited with realizing that some of these bones were inscribed with ancient writing and thus had historical significance. Today, they are called “oracle bones” and they constitute the best window available into the history, language and culture of ancient China. Because they involve specific dates, they are also an indispensible means of exploring the ancient Chinese calendar and its astronomical underpinnings

The earliest Aramaic alphabet was based on the Phoenician alphabet. In time, Aramaic developed its distinctive "square" style. The ancient Israelites and other peoples of Canaan adopted this alphabet for writing their own languages. Thus, it is better known as the Hebrew alphabet today. This is the writing system used in Biblical Aramaic and other Jewish writing in Aramaic. The other main writing system used for Aramaic was developed by Christian communities: a cursive form known as the…

The earliest Aramaic alphabet was based on the Phoenician alphabet. In time, Aramaic developed its distinctive "square" style. The ancient Israelites and other peoples of Canaan adopted this alphabet for writing their own languages. Thus, it is better known as the Hebrew alphabet today. This is the writing system used in Biblical Aramaic and other Jewish writing in Aramaic. The other main writing system used for Aramaic was developed by Christian communities: a cursive form known as the…

The oldest parchment of the Hungarian Jewish Archives. The illustration is micrography: Adam, Eve and the snake from tiny Hebrew letters. The parchment originally belonged to a Hebrew manuscript, later became book-binding for a Latin codex. 13th Century.

The oldest parchment of the Hungarian Jewish Archives. The illustration is micrography: Adam, Eve and the snake from tiny Hebrew letters. The parchment originally belonged to a Hebrew manuscript, later became book-binding for a Latin codex. 13th Century.

Zoroastrian prayer, the Ashem Vohu. Written in  Avestan alphabet which was created in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD for writing the hymns of Zarathustra (a.k.a Zoroaster), the Avesta. Many of the letters are derived from the old Pahlavi alphabet of Persia, which itself was derived from the Aramaic alphabet.

Zoroastrian prayer, the Ashem Vohu. Written in Avestan alphabet which was created in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD for writing the hymns of Zarathustra (a.k.a Zoroaster), the Avesta. Many of the letters are derived from the old Pahlavi alphabet of Persia, which itself was derived from the Aramaic alphabet.

Magna Carta in a 14th century English legal compilation, currently on show in our Royal exhibition: London, British Library

Magna Carta in a 14th century English legal compilation, currently on show in our Royal exhibition: London, British Library

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