- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- History of Europe
Are you familiar with Ogham
Old Irish Scratches
Ogham is an old form of writing, often equated to Norse Runes. Some Neo Pagan beliefs even go so far as to attach magical meanings to the letters as they also do with Norse Runes. While these strange scratchings appear mystical, especially since they were often scratched on stones that were apparently in the middle of nowhere, or on wooden staves, a religious meaning is easy to infer. The simple, and somewhat dull fact is, Ogham is simply a form of writing used primarily to write in Old Irish.
Most of the extant examples are grave markers and boundary markers. This is why they often seem to be in odd places with nothing else around. There is nothing specifically mystical about the Ogham script, but it is interesting, and fun to learn how to write using the Ogham script.
Ogham inscribed stones have been found throughout the British Isles, but they have been primarily found in Southern Ireland and almost all are in an Old Irish dialect. As I mentioned most of the finds have been boundary and grave markers.
No one is quite sure where or why Ogham originated, Latin script was known in the area at the time. Some scholars believe it was a deliberate attempt to confuse Roman's and others, sort of an early attempt at cryptography. Other's believe it was an attempt to form a unique alphabet, not to keep what was written secret, but because Old Irish dialect does not translate well into Latin script.
Ogham script can be written horizontally right to left, or vertically top to bottom. The form of writing is the same with a line through the middle of the text and lines on the top and/or bottom (or left and/or right) to indicate what the actual letter is. There are 25 characters, plus one, historians believe there was no "P" in the original Ogham alphabet, but it was added at a later date. The 25 characters are divided into 5 sections called Aicmes. The horizontal alphabet is shown below, and a sample of the vertical form is shown on the right, as you may notice the horizontal form is just the vertical form turned 90 degrees clockwise.
One of the great things about Ogham is how versatile it is a decorative script. It works well on objects with corners using the corner as the centre line. Ogham also need not be written in straight lines, it works well in circles and spirals and just generally winding around things.
The Full Ogham Alphabet (Horizontal)
The Tree Alphabet
Ogham is sometimes described as the Celtic Tree Alphabet. The reason for this is the name of most of the letter corresponds to the name of a species of tree in Irish Gaelic.
Ogham Letter Name
- Ogham Translator | Ogham Transliterator & Transcriber Tool
Free tool for transliterating or transcribing Latin alphabet to Ogham font. Ogham translation, transliteration and transcriber. Useful for Ogham tatoos.
- Ogham - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikipedia's entry on Ogham, as usual take anything on a Wiki site with a grain of salt and always confirm sources.
- Ogham alphabet
Details of the Ogham alphabet, which was used in Ireland and Britain between about the 4th and 7th centuries AD.
- Celtic Ogham
The Celtic ogham alphabet, the plants that correspond to it, and explorations of its origin
- Celtic Inscribed Stones Language, Location And Environment
A great archaeological study of Ogham stones.
- Evertype: Every Ogham Thing on the Web
A great all around collection of almost everything to do with Ogham that has been put on the Interwebs. Some Links are dead.
An Example of Some Extant Ogham Stones
© 2014 Jeff Johnston