Syriac alphabet

Syriac alphabet

      writing system used by the Syriac Christians from the 1st century AD until about the 14th century. A Semitic alphabet, Syriac was an offshoot of a cursive Aramaic (Aramaic alphabet) script. It had 22 letters, all representing consonants, and was generally written from right to left, although occasionally vertically downward. Diacritical marks to represent vowels were introduced in the 8th century; two systems of vocalization were developed, one similar to the system in Arabic, and one using small Greek letters above or below the line.

      There were several varieties of Syriac script; the oldest of these was Estrangela, or Estrangelo, which was in almost exclusive use until about 500. A schism in the Syriac church at the Council of Ephesus (431) resulted in the division of the Syriac language and script into two forms, western and eastern. The western variety nearly died out under Muslim Arabic domination after the 7th century, but scattered communities of Syriac Christians survived, some of which continued to use the Syriac script. Documents of the Melchite sect of Palestinian Syrians date from as late as the 14th century. The eastern, or Nestorian, script remained in use in Central Asia and Siberia until the 13th or 14th century, as attested by inscriptions on gravestones in southern Siberia. The earliest extant Syriac inscription dates from about AD 50.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Syriac alphabet — Type Abjad …   Wikipedia

  • syriac alphabet — noun Usage: usually capitalized S : an alphabet of Aramaic origin used for writing Syriac …   Useful english dictionary

  • Syriac music — is music in the Syriac language.Historically it is best known from and important for its part in the development of Christian sacred music since Antiquity.yrian hymnodyTo the general considerations on Hymnody and Hymnology must be added some… …   Wikipedia

  • Syriac Hymnody — • To the general consideration set forth in the article hymnody and hymnology must be added some bearing particularly on the structure and liturgical use of hymns (madrashe), exclusive of poetical homilies or discourses (mimre), which belong to… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Syriac language — This article is about the Classical Syriac language. For contemporary Syriac dialects, see Northeastern Neo Aramaic. For other uses, see Syriac (disambiguation). Syriac ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Leššānā Suryāyā …   Wikipedia

  • Alphabet — [ William Caslon, letter founder; from the 1728 Cyclopaedia .] An alphabet is a standardized set of letters mdash basic written symbolsmdash each of which roughly represents a phoneme, a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in… …   Wikipedia

  • Syriac (disambiguation) — The term was changed from Syrian to Syriac in referring to the (Syrian Christian) people and language so as to avoid confusion with belonging to the country of Syria. For information on Syrian nationals see the Demographics of Syria.Syriac may… …   Wikipedia

  • Alphabet Syriaque — Syriaque Un livre du XIe siècle écrit en serto syriaque Caractéristiques Type …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ALPHABET, HEBREW — The origin of alphabetic script has always been a subject of human curiosity. According to Greek mythology, script was brought to Greece from Phoenicia. This tradition was accepted by the Greek and Roman writers, some of whom developed it even… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • alphabet — /al feuh bet , bit/, n. 1. the letters of a language in their customary order. 2. any system of characters or signs with which a language is written: the Greek alphabet. 3. any such system for representing the sounds of a language: the phonetic… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”