Thursday, April 06, 2006

Aleph-bet soup

Readers of On the Main Line will know how much I love alphabets. This one is from a book of fonts called A compendium of the usuall hands of England, Netherlands, France, Spaine, and Italie with the Hebrew, Samaritan, Caldaean, Syrian, AEgyptian, Arabic, Greek, Saxon, Gotick, Croatian, Slavonian, Muscouian, Armenian, Roman, Florentine, Venetian, Saracen, AEthiopian and Indian characters : with sundry figures of men, beasts and birds. Published in London in 1663, the fonts were devised by Richard Daniel and engraved by Edward Cocker, "philomath."

The script on the left is called 'The letters of the running hands of the Jewes of Germany,' by which is meant the cursive script, and the one on the right is 'The letters of the running hands of the Jewes of Spaine.'

Compare with some of the forms from these images from the Jewish Encyclopedia, taken from actual Sephardic and Ashkenazic manuscripts:

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