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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

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. The Avestan alphabet was replaced by the Arabic alphabet after Persia converted to Islam during the 7th century AD.

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. The Avestan alphabet was replaced by the Arabic alphabet after Persia converted to Islam during the 7th century AD.

Dead Sea Scrolls - The Scrolls date from around 250 B.C. to 68 A.D. and were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; they contain Biblical and apocryphal works, prayers and legal texts and sectarian documents.  This priceless collection of ancient manuscripts is invaluable to our understanding of the history of Judaism, the development of the Hebrew Bible, and the beginnings of Christianity.

Dead Sea Scrolls - The Scrolls date from around 250 B.C. to 68 A.D. and were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; they contain Biblical and apocryphal works, prayers and legal texts and sectarian documents. This priceless collection of ancient manuscripts is invaluable to our understanding of the history of Judaism, the development of the Hebrew Bible, and the beginnings of Christianity.

The Sabaean or Sabaic alphabet is one of the south Arabian alphabets. The oldest known inscriptions in this alphabet date from about 500 BC. Its origins are not known, though one theory is that it developed from the Byblos alphabet. The Sabaean alphabet is thought to have evolved into the Ethiopic script. Sabaean, an extinct Semitic language once spoken in Saba, the biblical Sheba, in southern Arabia.

The Sabaean or Sabaic alphabet is one of the south Arabian alphabets. The oldest known inscriptions in this alphabet date from about 500 BC. Its origins are not known, though one theory is that it developed from the Byblos alphabet. The Sabaean alphabet is thought to have evolved into the Ethiopic script. Sabaean, an extinct Semitic language once spoken in Saba, the biblical Sheba, in southern Arabia.

fol. 170r of the book of ballymote (1390), the uraicept na n-éces. explains the ogham script of early gaelic.

fol. 170r of the book of ballymote (1390), the uraicept na n-éces. explains the ogham script of early gaelic.

ge'ez (Ethiopic) Part of the Octateuch in Ethiopian, Genesis 29:11-16 written in the 15th century.

ge'ez (Ethiopic) Part of the Octateuch in Ethiopian, Genesis 29:11-16 written in the 15th century.

ancientpeoples:  Agate Eye Stone 19th Century BC Old Babylonian  This stone is engraved with a 5 line inscription, which contains a dedication to Shamash (the Sun god) by Hammurabi.  (Source: The British Museum)

ancientpeoples: Agate Eye Stone 19th Century BC Old Babylonian This stone is engraved with a 5 line inscription, which contains a dedication to Shamash (the Sun god) by Hammurabi. (Source: The British Museum)

The Libraries of Timbuktu.  This commentary by the eighteenth-century scholar al-Rasmuki explains a work by al-Samlali the medieval mathematician. Using charts and examples of problems, the commentator demonstrates the rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. He also discusses the history and development of mathematics. The text was used extensively by students in Timbuktu and North Africa.

The Libraries of Timbuktu. This commentary by the eighteenth-century scholar al-Rasmuki explains a work by al-Samlali the medieval mathematician. Using charts and examples of problems, the commentator demonstrates the rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. He also discusses the history and development of mathematics. The text was used extensively by students in Timbuktu and North Africa.

The Mi'kmaq, one of the Canadian First Nations writing.  Aboriginal societies also used marks and symbols to indicate unusual and important events. While watching young Mi'kmaq mark birchbark with pieces of charcoal, French priest Chrestien Leclercq was inspired, in the late 1670s, to invent a hieroglyphic alphabet to teach Catholic hymns and prayers.  The encounters between the Mi'kmaq and Basque fishermen in the late 16th and early 17th centuries resulted in the emergence of a dialect that…

The Mi'kmaq, one of the Canadian First Nations writing. Aboriginal societies also used marks and symbols to indicate unusual and important events. While watching young Mi'kmaq mark birchbark with pieces of charcoal, French priest Chrestien Leclercq was inspired, in the late 1670s, to invent a hieroglyphic alphabet to teach Catholic hymns and prayers. The encounters between the Mi'kmaq and Basque fishermen in the late 16th and early 17th centuries resulted in the emergence of a dialect that…

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